Pleased with the selection of Beekman in the fourth, the Bears approached the secondary with their next two picks. Kevin Payne from Louisiana-Monroe and Corey Graham from New Hampshire. Don't forget that the Bears lost significant special teams contributors this offseason and Payne is certainly going to help fill that tank.
A buddy of mine defines Payne as an "Ed Gennero-like iron man." If you get the reference, then you belong on this website.
Strengths: A versatile prospect with experience at running back, wide receiver, free and strong safety, as well as punter and return specialist on special teams. Possesses adequate height and good bulk. He is a fluid athlete for his size. Fills hard versus the run and will throw his body around. He is tough and aggressive. Shows good initial power as a hitter. Pursuit angles and recognition skills continue to improve. He has a great work ethic and is the type that will do everything he can to contribute in different areas to earn his roster spot.
Weaknesses: Lacks ideal speed. Was able to overcome it at lower-level DI college but lack of acceleration will be a much bigger factor in the NFL. He lacks ideal experience at safety and still has much room to improve in terms of footwork and recognition skills. He also needs to do a better job of breaking down and wrapping up as a tackler in space. Lacks ideal mental capacity and there are some concerns regarding his potential to handle complex schemes and get his teammates lined up as a safety in the NFL.
Overall: Payne was redshirted in 2002. He then started all 12 games as a redshirt freshman in 2003 at running back, carried 248 times for 976 yards (3.9 average) and six touchdowns, caught 41 passes for 488 yards (11.9 average) and three more scores, completed a 35-yard touchdown pass, was selected to the All-Sun Belt second team, and was named the conference's Freshman of the Year. In 2004, he played in eight of 11 games with seven starts before breaking his arm against North Texas which ended his season. For the year, Payne carried 74 times for 261 yards (3.5 yards) and two touchdowns, and caught 12 passes for 103 yards (8.6 average) and one more touchdown. He moved to safety during spring practice in 2005 and then started all 11 contests in the fall, earning second team All-Sun Belt honors, and recorded 87 total tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, one fumble recovery, and one forced fumble. In 2006, Payne amassed 98 total tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, four interceptions, three pass breakups, and one forced fumble. During the 2005 and 2006 seasons, he also returned 24 kickoffs for 605 yards (25.2 average) and three punts for nine yards.
Payne is a versatile athlete with good size and toughness at the safety position. While he made strides as a senior, Payne still is a raw safety that must improve his tackling consistency and recognition skills in coverage. He also lacks ideal top-end speed, which limits his range. In our opinion, Payne is an intriguing developmental project worthy of consideration in the fourth-to-fifth round range.
Strengths: Shows good top-end speed and flashes the ability to run with most receivers. Shows good awareness, shows strong grasp of spacing and can cover a lot of ground in zone coverage. Plays with a mean streak, uses hands fairly well and can slow receivers down at the line of scrimmage. Possesses above-average size and doesn't shy away from contact. Reads quarterback's eyes, has strong hands and is a playmaker in coverage that can produce with the ball in hands. Times jumps well and is tall enough to compete for jump balls. Takes adequate pursuit angles, flashes the ability to slip blocks in space and plays with a non-stop motor. Reads blocks well, shows a second gear in the open field and is a dangerous return man.
Weaknesses: Takes too long to change directions, doesn't explode out of cuts and is more effective dropping into zone coverage than is matching up man-to-man. Appears stiff when forced to turn and run and has to get a good jam in at the line of scrimmage to hold own on an island. Takes too long to shed blocks and occasionally creates running lanes by running around blockers rather than stacking them up at the point of attack. Played at a small school and there is some concern about ability to make the jump to the NFL.
Overall: Graham saw action in nine games as a true freshman in 2003 eventually taking over as a starter due to injuries and collected 47 total tackles, and three interceptions. In 2004, he registered 110 total tackles, four interceptions including one returned for a touchdown, 17 passes defended, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. Graham then earned second team All-Atlantic 10 honors in 2005 as a defensive back and kick returner after finishing with 104 total tackles, three interceptions, nine passes defended, and two fumble recoveries. In 2006, Graham started the first seven contests and collected 41 total tackles, two interceptions, and one pass defended before suffering a broken fibula that ended his season. Over the past three seasons, Graham has returned 65 kickoffs for 1,757 yards (27 average) and two touchdowns and he also returned 10 punts for 102 yards (10 average) and one touchdown in 2006.
Graham is a small-school prospect who lacks ideal agility but he can make an impact in the return game and there is a lot to like about his upside at corner. In fact, he has the size, speed and physical style of play to develop into a sub-package contributor in the right scheme. Graham projects as a second-day pick.
#2 Pissed off said . . .
Trumaine McBride - CB - Mississippi
Smart and a hard worker...Outstanding awareness and instincts...Real tough and physical...A solid tackler...Good strength for his size...Really knows the game and studies it...Does a great job in zone coverage...Has lots of experience in the SEC.
Shorter than you would prefer...Could stand to bulk up a bit...Not a great athlete and his timed speed is below average...Does not have very good quickness or a burst...Will struggle to turn and run with pro wideouts...Hands are questionable.
A nice college player who just lacks the ideal physical tools and measurables that you look for...Best fit at the next level might come in a Cover 2 scheme...Definitely profiles as more of a backup...Could earn a roster spot based on his intangibles.
Aaron Brant - OT - Iowa St.
POSITIVES: King-sized blocker who is best in a small area. Intelligent lineman who also shows a nasty streak and gets after blocks. Fights with his hands throughout the action, jolts opponents at the point of attack and keeps his feet moving.
NEGATIVES: Lacks flexibility and struggles to finish blocks. Lumbers about the field and lacks lateral blocking range.
ANALYSIS: A wide-bodied blocker who controls opponents once he gets his hands on them, Brant lacks the great upside but his enticing measurables will get him a long look in camp this summer.
April 29, 2007
#3 Phil from SATX said . . .
WIDE RECEIVER? FUCK NO
They listened to me, no WR. I love the Olsen pick, I cant believe he slid that far. We lucked out. Now as for the rest of the picks, never heard of any of them. I was pissed when they traded that 37 until I saw what they got. Still a bit bitter we didnt get a bigger name. We could have traded up a couple spots to get Pozlusnkskneiyhefe. But we didnt and now we have a ton of no-namers and Olsen. I will trust the Bears brain wizards cuz they usually draft well even if I dont know who Dan Bazuin it. I saw some highlights and stats on Garrett Wolfe, what a stud, he averaged like 156 a game. NOT BAD. He will compliment Benson as a speedy, quick cutting get thru the gaps and hit top speed back to compliment Bensons hard hitting (Bettis) running style.
As far as draftin positions go I think we filled all needs, RB, TE, LB Def line help, DBs, etc. They drafted all the areas where we may need some help and none of the areas where we dont. It was damn near perfect in that regard. Now whether these no names turn out to be good at these spots is another story. Lets let it all play out. Are you sotally tober yet Jeff?
April 30, 2007
Kudos to you PO'd, you nailed it and we noticed. Enjoyed reading yours and Mike's columns while in Galveston on work/vaca this past weekend, trying to get to the business center's computer as often as allowed by the family to check out this all important draft weekend.
Totally psyched about the draft - the Bears got the one guy I really wanted in Greg Olsen - can't believe he fell to us when virtually all mock drafts had him going in the middle of the first. A little surprised they passed on the WRs still available at 37 (don't most people think Dwayne Jarrett is going to be an excellent physical receiver in the NFL?) but I am shocked at how much we got.
Like you PO'd I know nothing about any of these guys after Olsen but I trust in Jerry et. al., yes I do. And after reading Pierson's columns in the Tribune I understand the importance of management's position with Briggs, and it appears like he may be coming around (i.e. the charade may be coming to a close?). Now let's assume that he WILL be a Bear next year and play lights out for his new contract - how good does our defense look now?
This tiny little running back sure sounds interesting too - sounds like the complete change-of-pace to Benson that they've been looking for - I'm assuming he's super quick and hoping he's got vertical speed as well. And it also sounds like management wants Hester on offense as much as most of us do - think about the possibilities for Rex with this list:
and I'm not including Rashied Davis, Mark Bradley, Adrian Peterson, Jason McKie
Boys and girls, we got some play-makers on offense, to go with the best defense and special teams in the league!!
GO BEARS GO!!!!
April 30, 2007
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