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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- If recent history is any indication, Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo won't hesitate to deal the team's No. 29 overall pick and move out of the first round of the NFL draft.
"I know the question will come up: Will you trade up, will you trade down?" Angelo said Thursday at Halas Hall. "We're always going to be flexible. We always have. Trading down is easier to do and if there's enough players on the board when it's our pick [and] it makes sense, then it's something we would consider very seriously."
If the Bears decide to stay put , it would mark Angelo's first foray into the opening round since taking offensive lineman Chris Williams out of Vanderbilt with the 14th pick in 2008.The Bears dealt their 2009 and 2010 first-round choices to the Denver Broncos as part of the package to acquire quarterback Jay Cutler two seasons ago.
The Bears also sent their last two second-round draft choices to Seattle and Tampa Bay, respectively.
"There are four, five or six guys that, based on our projections and our grades, that would be in the running for the [29th] pick]," Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell said. "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. That's kind of a rule of thumb. It's not set in stone but Jerry and I have talked about that."Said Angelo: "We also have to look at the needs of those teams behind us. We don't want to go down and find out we're not really crazy about the guy we're getting. That doesn't make sense either. That's not the theme of the draft, to collect draft picks. You have to feel good about that player you are going to trade down for or you're not going to do it."
According to Angelo, the Bears need to be open to considering at least four different positions with their first-round pick. The three-day draft starts April 28 in New York.
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.