Between now and the 2007 NFL Draft, THN will be taking a look at all of the NFL teams' off-season needs. Up next is the team with the 30th overall pick in the draft, the Chicago Bears.
2006 Results: 13-3, 1st in NFC North
2007 Projected Cap Status: $ 92,200,000 ($16.8 million in cap space)
2006 Season Recap:
The Bears capped off their dominating 13-3 season with their first trip to the Super Bowl in 21 years. Rookie Devin Hester was a special teams phenomenon for Chicago, returning three punt returns and two kickoff returns for touchdowns. His outstanding play was not limited to the regular season. He also returned the Super Bowl's opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and had a 63-yard punt return in the Pro Bowl. The Chicago area tried to stay patient with quarterback Rex Grossman during the beginning of the year but as his inconsistency increased, so did the criticism as the Bears were making a serious playoff run. The Bears were also once again led by a playmaking defense and saw career years come from wide receiver Bernard Berrian and tight end Desmond Clark. Running backs Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson were an important part of the offense, providing a strong one-two punch.
1. Offensive Line - The starting line averages over 30 years of age. Talented thirty-five year old veteran Ruben Brown re-signed with the team but youth is needed at this position.
2. Outside Linebacker - Lance Briggs may not stay in Chicago past the 2007 season and there is not much depth behind him and Hunter Hillenmeyer.
3. Quarterback - Yes, Grossman got the Bears to the Super Bowl. Yes, (then rookie) Kyle Orton helped the Bears reach the Divisional Round the season before. But Grossman's mistakes were magnified in the Super Bowl and Orton's 2005 season was underwhelming, producing small offensive numbers. With veteran Brian Griese riding the bench, it's uncertain who the future quarterback of this team really is.
4. Running Back - The Bears traded Thomas Jones to the New York Jets. Does this open the door for Cedric Benson to step up? Or does it just create a deficit at RB?