Jerry Angelo was general manager of the Chicago Bears from 2001-2011. Angelo hired coach Lovie Smith, who led the Bears to a Super Bowl appearance in 2006 season. He also spent time as a scout for the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. He spoke with ThePostGame about his role on draft day and his thoughts on this year's draft.
ThePostGame: Would you like to tell me what you're doing with Thuzio?
JERRY ANGELO: Sure. They asked me prior to the Super Bowl if I would be their guest speaker at one of their members-only events so I said yes. So it was an opportunity to get back to Chicago, and it really was a great venue, entertaining a number of clients. We had approximately 50 people from all walks of the business life. Male, female, young and old. A very good entrepreneurial-type crowd. We headed downtown to one of the renown steakhouses in the private room. It was very casual. We had a long Q&A. I was able to let my hair down a little bit with no cameras or media taking notes. We had fun with it, but very first class setup and a very enjoyable evening. They have another one coming up, and I'd pay to go to this one with Lance Briggs. They usually get animated, marquee sports figures an they’re right on the money with Briggs.
TPG: What would you do on draft day as a general manager?
ANGELO: Everything is pretty well set a few days before the draft. Your boards are all set. We have them in terms of your strategies. You've pretty much talked over all the scenarios, all the what-ifs. If this happens or a player comes that you weren't expecting, if you get a trade call when you’re on the clock, how far down would you go and still get a quality player? All those types of scenarios you have to flesh out. So most of the time, 48 hours before the draft, it’s more now kind of catching your breath. You're excited obviously. You’re anticipating what could be, and you’re probably fielding some calls and making some calls to get a feel for what’s going to happen not only in the first round, but following rounds. Maybe there’s some trade talk as well and just posturing yourself in the event that you may want to do something on draft day.
TPG: What role do you have in the evaluating process of these prospects? What do you look for for a team to draft a certain player?
ANGELO: I’ve said this, but drafting talent is easy. Drafting talent with character and a good medical is the challenge. There’s a lot of things that the media don’t know. They’re looking more or less at the talent and that's how they’re drawing their conclusions for the most part, not all but most. But there's more to it. Your doctors have to pass the players on the physicals. There's some grey with the players; how much risk, certainly the character has to be determined. Each team has to make their own decision on that. It's very challenging, because when you draft a player, you are making a big investment and for that investment to pay dividends, it’s got to be in the league. You want players to have careers. You just don't want a guy for a year or two and you're looking for the same guy again in a couple of years in the draft process.
TPG: What positions do you feel are overvalued or undervalued in the draft? How important is the quarterback position?
ANGELO: Quarterback speaks for itself. It’s hard to win without one, so you've got to have somebody. There's probably a dozen teams that don't have an established quarterback leading them. Those are the teams and those first two picks will be one of those dozens teams. I don't look at it necessarily as the value of the position. It’s the quality of the player. You want to bring in quality players and the team that has the most quality players usually wins. Again, it's not an exact science. We've heard that cliché a number of times and that’s accurate. Every year is a different year. The field changes and it's a different year, so you have to be able to adapt and adjust. We all want to get good players, players we can win with. That’s the bottom line.
TPG: There’s a debate about the No. 1 pick, so if you were the general manager of the Buccaneers, who would take with that pick?
ANGELO: Right now, Winston looks like he’s got the pole position. Just given the fact that he’s prototypical of what you look for. He’s got it and he’s been groomed in a pro-type offense where Mariota hasn't been. That's not to say he's not going to be a fine quarterback, but there's more projection going on for him. Both are quality prospects. Mariota did an unbelievably good job at the combine, running in the [4.4 seconds]. Good size, quick release, a lot of things to work with. But Winston is just farther along because of the system. He's more poised and probably ready to go.
TPG: Are there any players you see as sleepers in this draft?
ANGELO: That's a tough one. I don’t study the draft as if I were running a team. I stay more focused on the top picks. But those sleeper types, I’m going to leave that for the scouts to find those. I did find one player that’s pretty interesting. He's not a sleeper. The offensive lineman out of Florida State [Cameron Erving]. He’s got an interesting resume, being on defense, having starts at tackle and then center. He's got nice size, he’s got a lot of versatility. It will be interesting to see where he goes. He’s supposedly going to go somewhere in the late first, early second round, but he seems like he could be a sleeper in terms of teams getting him a little later. He may bode very well once he gets into the league because of his versatility.
TPG: Do you have any memories from the NFL draft that stand out?
ANGELO: I've got a lot of great memories. I've certainly been fortunate to be around a lot of great players that we drafted. To single any one out, I really can’t sit there and do not and be unfair to somebody else. I’ve always had great scouts and they’ve done a good job doing their homework and always presented our staff with quality players and we certainly had a good amount of them over my career.