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LAKE FOREST, Ill. — One week before drafting in the first round for the first time since 2008, GM Jerry Angelo isn't expecting a franchise-changing player to be on the board when the Bears are on the clock with the 29th overall pick. Whether he takes a player with that pick or trades down, that's a matter he's still considering, Angelo said at a press conference Thursday.
"We do like the prospects that we potentially could be faced with," Angelo said. "Not gotten a lot of calls from teams yet (about trades), but that's not abnormal. … I know the question will come up — are you going to trade, are you going to trade down? We're always going to be flexible. We always have. Trading down is easier to do and if there are enough players on the board when it's our pick, it makes sense, then it's something that we would consider very seriously."
The Bears, who traded away their last two first-round picks two years ago when they made a deal with the Broncos to acquire QB Jay Cutler, head into this year's draft with pressing needs on the offensive line and defensive line, but Angelo said they're considering players from at least four different positions at No. 29.
"There are four, five (or) six guys that, based on our projections and our grades, that would be in the running for the pick," said Tim Ruskell, the team's director of player personnel. "(There's) still a little more tweaking to do on that, but the number is going to be four, five or six and that's important because when you start thinking about the possibility of trading down, you want to at least have half as many guys that you would like (compared) to the number of picks you go down."
Angelo, who drafted one rookie (ORT J'Marcus Webb, a seventh-rounder) who became a regular starter last season, said the goal is always to land four starters in a draft.
"When you go into any draft, and our coaches have been real good about this, you want to like a lot of players," Angelo said. "You don't really want to fall in love with any player. That, to me, is a trap. We've been pretty focused and pretty sober about our approach. We do like a good handful of players. They're not perfect, but they're guys that we like, we feel that could help our football team. The bottom line is, can you win with him?
"That's the criteria that we use on any round on any player, but we feel that we have a good handful of players that we all feel good about."