Mixed results from Angelo's trading-down stra
Mixed results from Angelo's trading-down strategy
By Brad Biggs Tribune reporter 10:35 a.m. CDT, April 20, 2011
The Chicago Bears will hold a pre-draft news conference Thursday and they will do their best to match the smokescreens being created by other clubs.
Itís an annual affair as teams work to spread as much misinformation as possible in an effort to mask their true intentions. General manager Jerry Angelo, sometimes honest to a fault, will speak largely in general terms and at some point he surely will be asked about the possibility of trading down from the 29th overall pick in the draft.
The Tribuneís Dan Pompei has detailed the reasons why this is a likely scenario, and certainly Angeloís history is proof that heís frequently looking for a deal to add more picks. In nine drafts, he has traded down with his top selection three times. Angelo actually traded the teamís top selection twice in 2003, and if he could have found a trade partner in 2005 he would have gladly parted with it to avoid selecting running back Cedric Benson No. 4 overall. The desire to move out of the pick wasnít related to Benson but rather the exorbitant contract that came with the slot. There were no takers.
What could the Bears command in return for trading out of the 29th slot when the draft starts April 28? First, it depends on how low Angelo is willing to go into the second round. In 2006, the Bears traded the 26th overall pick to the Buffalo Bills. In exchange, they received two picks, No. 42 (10th pick of second round) and No. 73 (ninth pick of third round). Those selections turned into safety Danieal Manning and defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek. In the first nine picks after No. 26, running back DeAngelo Williams, tight end Marcedes Lewis, center Nick Mangold, running back Joseph Addai, defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka and linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Rocky McIntosh were selected. All but Kiwanuka and McIntosh have been to the Pro Bowl.
The process is pretty simple, and picks at the bottom of the first round are often coveted. Between now and the draft, teams looking to move down will first identify how far into the second round they are willing to go. In the Bearsí case in 2006, they traded down 16 slots. Then, they call the teams in between where they are and where theyíre willing to go and they have a very simple conversation.
ďIf the guy weíre looking for isnít there when we pick, we may be looking to trade down.Ē
The Bears have such a history for trading down that they likely will field calls from teams interested in moving up. Then, itís a matter of putting together a potential deal and evaluating the ďpackageĒ you could receive. Thatís where mock drafting comes into play. You need to know roughly where players are going to fall in the draft. Then, Angelo can look at an offer and determine, like he did in 2006, if he is better with the player he can take at No. 26 or the package of players he can get with the picks at No. 42 and No. 73.
There should be competition. Seattle general manager John Schneider has publicly said he wants to trade down from No. 26. Many expect the New England Patriots to trade down from No. 28, the pick before the Bears.
Letís analyze the times Angelo has traded down with the teamís top pick and how it worked:
Original pick: No. 4
Trade 1: No. 4 to New York Jets for No. 13 and No. 22
Trade 2: No. 13 to New England Patriots for No. 14 and No. 193
Trade 3: No. 176, No. 193, No. 218 to Jacksonville Jaguars for No. 143
The skinny: The Bears needed a quarterback and were near the top of the draft a year too early for the Eli Manning/Philip Rivers sweepstakes. They identified Rex Grossman as a player they could get at No. 22 and locked into Penn State defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy as the player they wanted at No. 13. When the St. Louis Rams drafted him with the 12th overall pick, the Bears were stunned. To give them more time to regroup, they traded down again, this time one slot with the Patriots, who used the selection on Texas A&M defensive end Ty Warren. The Bears settled on Kennedyís teammate Michael Haynes at No. 14, one of the worst selections of the Angelo era. The extra pick from the Patriots for moving down one slot in the first round Ė- a sixth-round pick (193rd overall) Ė- was packaged with two other picks as the Bears traded up into the fifth round to No. 143 to select Missouri wide receiver Justin Gage. Itís the only trade up in the draft Angelo has made with the Bears.
Hindsight is 20/20: The team truly needed a quarterback and didnít want to draft Byron Leftwich with the fourth pick. While Grossman was a target for many fans, he did quarterback one of the franchiseís two Super Bowl teams. Haynes didnít stick around long enough to be on the Super Bowl XLI team. Had Angelo been more productive with the pick at No. 14, this wouldnít look bad. Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was chosen two picks after Haynes. But you can play the what-if game with every pick in the draft.
Original pick: No. 26
Trade: No. 26 to Buffalo Bills for No. 42 and No. 73
The skinny: The Bears didnít get a lot out of this deal, but the Bills got even less, blowing the selection on North Carolina State defensive tackle John McCargo. By moving down 16 slots the Bears didnít feel like they were reaching for Danieal Manning out of Division II Abilene Christian. He has been a durable performer for them and started all 16 games last season at safety. The constant shuffling of his position earlier in his career didnít help him. Dusty Dvoracek never panned out. He couldnít stay healthy and should not have been playing ahead of Anthony Adams when he did.
Hindsight is 20/20: The Bears needed a tight end in this draft and could have gotten a very good one at No. 73. Wisconsinís Owen Daniels, who the Bears knew well, was available. They went with a defensive lineman -Ė a position the Bears seemingly overdraft Ė- and Daniels lasted until No. 98 when he was the first pick of the fourth round by the Houston Texans. Of course, had the Bears chosen Daniels they likely would not have selected Greg Olsen in the first round the following year.
Original pick: No. 49
Trade: No. 49 to Seattle Seahawks for No. 68 and No. 105
The skinny: Missing first- and third-round picks after the trade with the Denver Broncos for quarterback Jay Cutler, Angelo made a play to add some depth to the draft. That meant dropping down 19 slots to No. 68, the fourth pick of the third round. Angelo was set on drafting Alex Magee, the defensive tackle from Purdue. That is who the Bears believed they would get until the Kansas City Chiefs surprised them by selecting Magee one pick earlier at No. 67. Jarron Gilbert was the next player on their board and he didnít last a year, getting cut before the season opener this past year. At No. 105, the Bears selected Henry Melton from Texas, and the hope is the former fullback will flourish with an expanded opportunity to be a three technique tackle in place of Tommie Harris this season. The Seahawks drafted Oregon offensive lineman Max Unger at No. 49.
Hindsight is 20/20: One of the reasons the Bears have had such issues on the line is because Angelo hasnít committed high draft picks to the position. Unger, Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer and Vikings tackle Phil Loadholt were available. The Bears also passed on wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, and the best pick of the second half of Round 2 might have been Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.
Itís a tricky business and no one is going to hit on every pick. While the picks the Bears have traded away havenít necessarily resulted into gold, they havenít maximized what they have received in return.