Chicago Sun-Times

What's in a number? More misses than hits at No. 18

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What is a photo of former New England running back Robert Edwards, being carried away from a game of flag football on the beach, doing in these parts? It's all in the No. 18. Read on.

Jerry Angelo was asked on Saturday afternoon if he thought the team might be able to find an elite pass rusher with the 18th pick in the draft, a notion he more or less dismissed.

Seeing as yours truly asked the question, I can say now that maybe it would have been better to ask if he thought the Bears could find an elite player from any position in that spot. If past history is an indicator, chances are the Bears will not.

First, let's re-visit Angelo's response:

"If he's elite there is a reason why he is there at 18 so I can't say he's elite,'' he said. "He might have elite traits but to say he is going to be an elite pass rusher, there is going to be probably one flaw is the reason why he is there. There are only probably in any draft maybe eight elite players, in any given draft, sometimes you might get to 10, sometimes it might be as few as three. That's a strong word.

"You might get a player with some strong traits that has some potential but there is going to be some real areas of concern too and one thing I have learned in my experience with pass rushers as there have probably been as many gotten on the second day, meaning rounds four through free agency as gotten on the first day. That is one good thing about pass rushers. You can get them really in any round. There are certain traits that they have to have, very difficult position to project as well."

In examining the No. 18 position over the past 20 drafts ... it doesn't look there will be a sure thing for Angelo & Co.

In fact, the best player from the entire bunch might have come last year when the Baltimore Ravens made the bold move of selecting I-AA quarterback Joe Flacco of Delaware in the spot when many thought he wouldn't be a first-round pick. I had an exchange with Flacco's agent Joe Linta at this time last year and he basically let me know how much I didn't know in explaining Flacco would be a first-round selection. Well, Linta was right and his client had a terrific rookie season.

The overall production from the No. 18 spot in the draft has been spotty, at best. That's where the Lions got a rank-and-file lineman in Jeff Backus in 2001. One-time Bears wide receiver Eddie Kennison was drafted there in 1996. Tony Bennett enjoyed a few decent seasons rushing the passer for Green Bay and Indianapolis and he was taken there in 1990. Concerns about Chad Pennington's arm strength, or lack of arm strength, dropped him all the way to No. 18 in 2000.

But when it comes to Pro Bowls and the 18th pick the most famous player on the list is a guy who wasn't even named to the Pro Bowl. Edwards, the 18th pick in 1998, blew out his left knee in a 4-on-4 beach game involving rookies at the Pro Bowl after a fine rookie season. It ended his career. Guess who else was playing in that sand affair? Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.

If our count is accurate, the 18th pick in the draft has produced just two Pro Bowl appearances over the last 20 years. Linebacker Alfred Williams, drafted by Cincinnati in 1991, represented Denver in an all-star game. New Orleans defensive end Will Smith has been to one Pro Bowl. That's it. Twenty players from this position in the first round and two one-time Pro Bowl performers.

Take a look at the list. Cringe if you must.

2008 QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore
2007 CB Leon Hall, Cincinnati
2006 LB Bobby Carpenter, Dallas
2005 DE Erasmus James, Minnesota
2004 DE Will Smith, New Orleans, 1 Pro Bowl
2003 DE Calvin Pace, Arizona
2002 RB T.J. Duckett, Atlanta
2001 OT Jeff Backus, Detroit
2000 QB Chad Pennington, N.Y. Jets
1999 OT Matt Stinchcomb, Oakland
1998 RB Robert Edwards, New England
1997 DE Kenny Holmes, Tennessee
1996 WR Eddie Kennison, St. Louis
1995 RB Napoleon Kaufman, Oakland
1994 CB DeWayne Washington, Minnesota
1993 OT Earnest Dye, Arizona
1992 S Dana Hall, San Francisco
1991 LB Alfred Williams, Cincinnati, 1 Pro Bowl
1990 LB Tony Bennett, Green Bay
1989 C Brian Williams, N.Y. Giants

No. 18 pick by position


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I actually like some of the second round values more than anyone we could get at 18, so this is one year I wouldn't mind seeing Angelo trade back and pick up and extra 2. I like Nicks, Britt and Iglesias a lot at WR in the second, Moore at safety, and Nate Davis at QB (though his height concerns me a bit).

So it sounds like JA and crew are lowering expectations for our 18th overall pick this year. Well, why don't they just go ahead and trade down out of the first round then? It seems to me that JA is not great at picking in the first round anyway so it might actually be a good idea. Does JA even want elite players, or just average to above average guys that they can coach up and at a lower salaries?

Tom in the players you named none were offensive linemen haven't you been paying attention this team is in need of an infusion of young offensive linemen or it won't make sense to have a WR and a QB who dosen't have the time to throw it to him.

I am wondering how the picks from 19-32 went? See how many misses in these picks as well. My point being that maybe the misses were teams simply picking bad as opposed to teams being better off picking later, maybe we should just trade all first round draft choices from say 17-32 down to the second round with that logic. Maybe the Bears need to change their draft strategy as to pick 18.
I would much rather see us go for the best player available (offensive line) at 18 - I do not even understand why DE is being mentioned with our Offense holes. Smoke???
If you pick good - you should be able to hit with any pick. If you pick bad you will have alot of holes to fill and have to keep trading down to fill all those holes via draft if you do not utilize Free Agency.

For all picks go to:

Really? You don't even understand why Defensive End is being mentioned? how about the 30th worst team in the NFL at defensive line production, despite our Tackles getting the same amount of sacks as they did in 2006 (though less from individual players). 29th worst team in the NFL when know why? Linemen were blocking our blitzers, because none of our pass rushers earned a double team. ALL YEAR LONG. Outside of embarassing the self-destructing Lions and Rams, our D-line melted down all year. Still don't get it? 12.5 sacks from our ends this year. Most teams have a single player that does that. Still unclear? Ogunleye and Brown are both in contract years, and are 32 and 30, respectively this season. Hows that for smoke, we rely on 30 year old ends who can't match the stat line of a single player for other teams to provide pressure to make our scheme work, while ranking in the bottom 5 of the NFL in ability to get to the QB, blitzing or not.

We need O-Line help, but don't even think about discounting the seriousness of our D-Line flatline. You can get a starter at Tackle in the 2nd round, like that Loadholt fella the staff fell in love with. You won't get a DE with a top 5 first step in the second round. Why is that important? you can teach technique, its a heck of a lot harder to teach an end how to get off the snap faster than an O-lineman.

THIS TEAM IS IN TOTAL DISARRAY!!!!!!!!! (please feel free to correct any errors I may make in this post, I am speaking strictly out of agitation. But from a realistic perspective as well.)

I'd love to see Heyward-Bey in a Bears uni next year, but if Angelo don't make some moves fast in free-agency it's not gonna make any difference what he does in the draft, this team is gonna fall flat on their faces. We have so many glaring holes all over the place and Angelo just keeps digging himself deeper by making dumb decisions.

We basically have nobody on the roster set to play the RT position, why in god's name is re-signing ST.Clair taking so long? What was there to even think about?

Why is Daniel Manning being penciled in for the starting nickel-back position? have they not realized that he is absolute trash? How many chances are they gonna give this bum?

How in the world does Rashied Davis still have a job here? Why because he's decent on the coverage team? He's should be working the cash register at Walmart by now.

We don't have any clear-cut starters in alot of places right now. Who's our #2 wide-out? Who's our slot? RG? RT? FS? RCB? DE?

Who's our starting SS, Steltz and Payne? Steltz has a history of injuries longer than my arm. And Payne hasn't exactly been injury free either!

I don't even want to get started on what its looking like for 2010!

Age heading into 2010:
Alex Brown: 31 (we have no replacement set in place)
Urlacher: 32 (He's slowing down and we have no replacement- Briggs maybe? But then we have another hole)
Kreutz:33 (No replacement-Beekman? Yeah right, too small. plus another hole again)
Desmond Clark: 33 (1yr left on contract) (although Kellen has shown potential in TC + pre-season so I wouldn't worry too much).

FREE AGENTS heading into 2010(a year that may end up without a salary cap):
Kyle Orton

If Orton does great there's no guarantee that he's not gonna want to taste free-agency in a year without a salary cap. He could turn down any Bears offer and try to see how much money he could get on the market. Worst case scenario is he stinks it up in '09 and then we're stuck with an even bigger problem. Who's gonna take his place, Basanez? Hanie? Yeah there's some real talent waiting in the wings.

Matt Forte (He'll want a new contract. He'll only be making just over 1 million over the following 2 years combined).
Earl Bennett (same as Forte; the only difference is if he don't request a new contract it'll be because he totally tanked which will be a much worse scenario for the Bears).

Now taking all this into consideration, it's looking like yet another long year for our beloved Bears. If that happens and we don't sniff the playoffs, you can expect Lovie to be receiving a pink slip. Thus meaning a new coach, which means a new staff, a new team philosophy & ultimately throwing us back into rebuilding. I would hate to see Lovie go, not only for the reasons stated, but because I think he's a good coach. Unfortunately though, if we lose, he's gone. You can count on it.

Needless to say this team is in deep shit if the front office don't make moves fast starting Friday. They need a miracle to climb out of this hole. I don't know about anyone else, but I am utterly sick and tired of seeing the Bears roller-coaster year in and year out only to return to the rebuilding years. Meanwhile we sit and watch teams such as the Colts and Patriots remain competitive on a consistent basis without missing a beat. You now how they do that? They RELOAD the roster.....NOT REBUILD IT!!!!!!! The front office needs to get their act together and fast before it's too late.

Yes really, if you read my blogs throughout you would see that I wanted DE as well, untill Tait announced, now though we need OL more than DE and we brought in Sapp/Rod to help our Dline which in effect is supposed to help our DE. Yes I agree DE is a top need, but I don't think it's more important than OL now and if we get either via FreeAgent then the other would be the need at 18, and it is hard to develope a DE but look at our developement of Offensive linemen! We don't develope those very good either so what, you want to try that rout again? or rather go high with Oline and not waste our time trying to develope..
and no I do not feel we can get a starter in the second.
You should understand my posts before you critisize in that manner, I have been agreeing with you (in pre-Tait posts), UNTILL Tait retired, so please keep up with the posts before jumping as I agree with your logic but for JA to state that NOW after Tait's anouncement is smoke or stupid.
Now do you understand why I don't get it? probably not.

And with that line of thinking JA is probably correct that DE of that calibre will not be there at 18, BUT a starting Offensive linemen probably will, so I am saying that JA is trying to sell people like you (and other draft teams by the way) a bill of goods making you believe in his theory of trading down (and saving money in the process) as opposed to picking a player at 18 that will have a chance of starting on our nonexistent Oline.
I agree with you that DE is a big need but now the situation has changed (actually Oline has been a big need forever with JA) so please try to keep I am at work and I do not have time to repeat all my blogs in every situation.

At 18 someone has to fall to you to be an elite player, to many teams reach for a guy when they are sitting in the middle of a round. Often a run at a position early forces a team in the middle to draft a guy because the run is creating demand and they wind up taking a second round talent in the 1st. 18 is not a great place to pick but if your there when someone falls you can catch a break or you are in a great position to trade down.

come on guys...look who's ahead of us in the draft order. the lunatic(Al Davis), the Bungles,the Almighty Jauron led Bills,Snyder from the 'skins,the Texans(Duanne Brown anyone?),... and Detroit ,Kc, and Denver have new GM''s almost like we're in the top 15 ! We COULD possibly land a kick ass player.

Thats a good one texas, except we are right in there with that group lolol

I can't name 15 great players in this draft, I can't even name 5 elite players. There is depth but the talent is being over rated big time. There are a ton of wild cards ahead of the Bears, KC has Pioli and you never know what he will do, Al Davis is setting up to draft a RT, WR, DE at seven he will take the best player at one of thsoe positions. BUF will do the same they need a LT, DE, DT, C, SEA has a new coach, DET has a new coach, both are defensive guys, SF needs help every ware, WR, CB, FS, OL, OLB. What sucks about a draft is one guy taken at a strange spot can change the whole draft.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 23, 2009 5:06 AM.

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