Don't forget linebacker when discussing team's needs

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 04/25/2011, 09:07am

When the Bears’ needs heading into the 2011 NFL draft are listed, offensive line, defensive tackle and receiver are most frequently mentioned. What about linebacker?

The Bears only have two linebackers currently under contract. Granted, they are Pro Bowl performers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, but the team’s depth at the position is non-existent.

Fortunately for general manager Jerry Angelo, so many teams switching to a 3-4 defenses makes it easier to draft quality linebackers in the middle-to-late rounds.

“The 3-4 teams are helping us with our linebackers,” Angelo said. “Probably the guys we like are not on half the boards in the league, and that will help us. Like in the old days, 3-4 teams could get their pass rushers in the fifth, sixth round, and sometimes in free agency, because nobody was playing that scheme. In part, it has helped us defensively. There are more linebackers for us, that we can get later, if we choose to go in that direction, and even in free agency.

“From my vantage point, that’s probably the most fertile position on the board for us, in the mid-to-later rounds and to free agency. We’ll be able to find players to come in here with the traits that we’re looking for. Obviously, once we get them into camp, that will determine the quality of player. But we do like the numbers of players [at the position].”