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Bears Mon Apr 28 2008

Bears Walk the Line

For the Bears, the biggest impact player they selected in the draft over the weekend was actually the players they DIDN’T select.

When they passed on selecting a quarterback, they made it quite clear: to quote head coach Lovie Smith, “Rex is our quarterback.”

That’s Rex as in Rex Grossman. Or Kyle Orton (aka “Neckbeard The Pirate”), depending on what day of the week it is or what body part Grossman had mangled the previous Sunday.

Seems like all that hair you ripped out of your head during Bears games last season was for naught. Barring some miraculous leap in playing ability by Orton, Grossman will be back in the pocket as the starter again this year. That was made clear by the crop of linemen, particularly offensive linemen, the Bears selected high in this year’s draft on Saturday and Sunday. It sent a clear signal that in the world of General Manager Jerry Angelo and Smith, Grossman is just a few offensive linemen away from leading the team to the Super Bowl (OK, maybe just the playoffs for now).

On the surface it makes sense. Grossman spent more time on his back this past season than (insert sex-related joke here), so it seems shoring up the front line is a necessity. But he also was benched several times for non-injury related reasons (aka flat-out bad passing) which would appear to make any impact that new linemen could have moot.

This isn’t to knock the skills of the players the Bears DID select. Their overall first pick, Vanderbilt offensive tackle Chris Williams, is considered a solid player. Seventh-round pick Chester Adams of Georgia is huge (6-3, 323) but described as having some weight problems. Their other seventh-round pick, Ohio State offensive tackle Kirk Barton is coming back from a knee injury and is expected to land on the practice squad.

The Bears passed on USC’s John David Booty (thereby depriving local headline writers of some prime double entendre fodder), Louisville’s Brian Brohm and Michigan’s Chad Henne, three of the top prospects of an admittedly weak QB crop. Yet it seems like a safe bet that one of them has “will come back to haunt you” written all over him. They did manage to “steal” SIU quarterback Nick Hill with a free agent deal.

So for another season, the roller coaster that is Rex Grossman will be picking up passengers at Soldier Field. It’s going to be bumpy ride.

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