Chicago Sun-Times

Number crunch: Breaking down Angelo's 7 drafts with the Bears

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Just like scouting players for the draft is an inexact science, evaluating drafts is a tricky business as well.

It's impossible to put a grade with any kind of substance on a draft right after it's been concluded. The Houston Texans were roundly criticized for taking defensive end Mario Williams No. 1 overall in 2006. Looks like they made the right move in passing on Reggie Bush and Vince Young now, doesn't it.

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said Tuesday that the hope is the team will get three starters out of this draft even though the team lacks first- and third-round picks. They feel like they have some good grades on players that will be available in the middle and late rounds, and the belief is three could eventually become starters.

"When we put a final grade on a player, that grade reflects what that player's going to be, in all likelihood in year two and three,'' Angelo said. "I remember when I was with the Cowboys, coach [Tom] Landry always would say if a player hasn't reached what we graded him at in year three, then obviously that in all likelihood was not going to happen.

"When we get a player graded, I want to take the onus off the scouts, to say: When you give that player that final grade, don't think that player has to come in and do that his rookie year. That's what is going to happen over a period of time and we really are looking at the second year, but the third year is when it has to happen."

How do you evaluate what a successful strike ratio is? That's another difficult question to answer. For one man's idea, we turn to former Texans general manager Charley Casserly, the man who signed off on Williams before he left the organization. Casserly has put together a 10-year study on drafts, evaluating each one after four years had passed. We found this in Mike Reiss' terrific blog over at the Boston Globe.

Here are the percentages Casserly outlined for finding a starting player in each round:

1st round: 75 percent

2nd round: 50 percent

3rd round: 30 percent

4th round: 25 percent

5th round: 20 percent

6th round: 9 percent

7th round: 9 percent

So, Landry said drafts could be evaluated after three years and Casserly says four years is best for a measure. More on that in a little bit.

We've compiled some numbers over Angelo's seven drafts with the Bears, which total 63 picks, 27 of which remain on the roster (nine on offense, 18 on defense).

Here is a round-by-round breakdown with projected 2009 Bears' starters in bold:

1st round--7 total picks (Marc Colombo, Michael Haynes, Rex Grossman, Tommie Harris, Cedric Benson, Greg Olsen, Chris Williams)

Projected Bears starters: 2 for 7, 29 percent
Projected total starters: 4 for 7, 57 percent
(Colombo in Dallas, Benson in Cincinnati)

2nd round--7 total picks (Charles Tillman, Tank Johnson, Mark Bradley, Danieal Manning, Devin Hester, Dan Bazuin, Matt Forte)

Projected Bears starters: 3 for 7, 43 percent
Projected total starters: 3 for 7, 43 percent

3rd round--9 total picks (Roosevelt Williams, Terrence Metcalf, Lance Briggs, Bernard Berrian, Dusty Dvoracek, Garrett Wolfe, Mike Okwo, Earl Bennett, Marcus Harrison)

Projected Bears starters: 2 for 9, 22 percent
Projected total starters: 3 for 9, 33 percent
(Berrian in Minnesota)

4th round--
9 total picks (Alex Brown, Todd Johnson, Ian Scott, Nathan Vasher*, Leon Joe, Kyle Orton, Jamar Williams, Josh Beekman, Craig Steltz)

Projected Bears starters: 2 for 9, 22 percent*
Projected total starters: 3 for 9, 33 percent
(Orton in Denver)

5th round--13 total picks (Bobby Gray, Bryan Knight, Bobby Wade, Justin Gage, Tron LaFavor, Claude Harriott, Craig Krenzel, Airese Currie, Mark Anderson, Kevin Payne, Corey Graham*, Zack Bowman, Kellen Davis)

Projected Bears starters: 2 for 13, 15 percent
Projected total starters: 3 for 13, 23 percent
(Gage in Tennessee)

6th round--8 total picks (Adrian Peterson, Jamin Elliott, Bryan Fletcher, Joe Odom, Brock Forsey, Chris Harris, J.D. Runnels, Tyler Reed)

Projected Bears starters: 0 for 8, 0 percent
Projected total starters: 1 for 8, 13 percent
(Harris in Carolina)

7th round--10 total picks (Bryan Anderson, Alfredo Marshall, Rod Wilson, Trumaine McBride, Aaron Brant, Ervin Baldwin, Chester Adams, Joey LaRocque, Marcus Monk, Kirk Barton)

Projected Bears starters: 0 for 10, 0 percent
Projected total starters: 0 for 10, 0 percent

* Vasher and Graham are both projected as starters as it's unknown at this point who will claim that job.

That chart doesn't allow for draft picks from 2007 and 2008 to be fully evaluated, although some have already been cut loose from the team.

Here are players from those two drafts who are not projected as starters for 2009 and could eventually impact the success ratios above (players listed as projected starters above from those drafts are not on this list):

1st round--Greg Olsen. When Olsen reaches the starting lineup, it will improve Angelo's first-round statistics. Desmond Clark is expected to remain atop the depth chart because of his blocking ability in 2009.

2nd round--Dan Bazuin. No help coming here.

3rd round--Marcus Harrison, Garrett Wolfe, Mike Okwo. If Harrison continues to develop he should eventually crack the lineup.

4th round--Josh Beekman, Craig Steltz. Beekman started all 16 games last season but it's unlikely he will be in the lineup this year. He could eventually return as a starter.

5th round--Corey Graham, Kellen Davis. As we outlined above, if Graham isn't a starter this year, he could be before it's done.

6th round--No picks last two years.

7th round--Trumaine McBride, Aaron Brant, Ervin Baldwin, Chester Adams, Joey LaRocque, Marcus Monk, Kirk Barton. Doesn't look like help is on the way.

Again, the difficult thing to do is to come up with what is an accepted strike ratio leaguewide. If you use Casserly's numbers, the Bears are below the mark. What cannot be debated is that the draft-driven Bears' organization has not built its 2009 team through the draft.

*** The most glaring part of the charts is the first-round success, or lack of success. That is where you find "blues," the elite players that clubs are built around. Trading the first-round pick this year and next landed the Bears a player they might be able to term a blue very soon--quarterback Jay Cutler.

*** Angelo has drafted four Pro Bowl players in seven drafts--three of them position players: Lance Briggs, Tommie Harris and Nathan Vasher. Devin Hester went as a returner.

*** Players selected in Angelo's first four drafts--2002 to 2005--should form the backbone of the team. Six of the 35 players drafted in that span remain. Five are on defense. One explanation is that Lovie Smith took over in 2004 and that changed what type of players the front office targeted.

*** From 2006 to 2008, 21 of the 28 players selected remain on the roster. Six are projected to be starters this season if you count Corey Graham and Earl Bennett.

Coming soon: A chat with another draft prospect. Later, Four Down Territory.

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Heya Brad, I don't remember where I saw this, but I read a report somewhere that the Bears had quietly promoted Olsen to starter prior to mini-camp this off-season.

Can you substantiate (or refute) that, or is that really impossible to determine?

Brad I noticed you said Graham, Tillman, and Vasher were all expected to start. But there only 2 starting Corners listed on any depth chart. It's either going to be Graham or Vasher at one spot not both. So the chart is already off by one.

You also listed Bennett as a starter, and I hope he does get a shot but right now the Bears are looking to draft a WR and we know Davis and Hester are the Slot and the Flanker. So the chart could be off by two.

Your saying round 1 is bad and it is but 1-3 are all pretty bad, your counting Bennett as a starter to boost the stat but he is not a starter or even projected as one as far as I know. Your also counting Benson in round 2 but that dude is a bust.

Brad you have been one to say Angelo does a great job of drafting late well according to this he has found 4 players out of 31. Which is average and 1 of them may not be a starter and only two are on the team. Thats for rounds 5-7. That does not seem like he is doing a great job late as you often say he does.

You also list Orton as a starter but he was with the second team in Denver during there mini camp and the Broncos are looking at Sanchez in the draft. So I doubt they like him that much after seeing him in mini camp.

Your saying Lovie changed the system in 2004 but that does not account for his draft picks not starting other places, it also does not explain the 2005 draft.

If Orton, Vasher or Graham are not starters and Benson continues to fall on contact, then this drafting is down right awful. Your going to loose one between Vasher and Graham, best bet is Orton will not be the answer in Denver and Benson speaks for himself. Last thing is Williams may not hold up, he can still be a huge bust and has yet to start. Harris is in decline and may be gone in a couple years if he continues this way.

Olsen will eventually be the number 1 but Benson cancels thats out in a big way.

Also the biggest problem with this system is it does not adjust for the pick. Busting on a number 30 in round one is not the same as blowing a number 4 pick.

Those percentages are disgusting !!!!!!!


This is an excellent analysis. I have wanted to try to get a more objective handle on the quality of the job that the Bears front office has been doing in the draft and you have certainly given us a pretty good idea with this review including the qualifiers. In the face of this analysis, it is hard to argue that the current Bears team has been built through the draft looking at these numbers... though we can hope for better player development from the recent drafts.
Again, excellent job. I wonder what Jerry Angelo will say about it? If he will comment about it?

This is an excellent analysis. Thank you. I hope you will be able to get Jerry Angelo to comment on it.

ahhh.....brad i noticed taht your hole article is WRONG!!! every one of those loosers is a BUST!!!!!! so is time for me to smack you around a bit brad...

first grahm, tillman, vasher, manning are ALL BUSTS!!!! how didnt you now that brad?

you also said beenet was a starter...well benet is a BUST!!!!

everyobne in round 1-3 vis a BUST!!! benson is a major..tahts right ladies ans germs(hyu hyu ioam so funy!!)...bensons is a BUST-O!!@!

brad ytou say angelo is PERFECT in teh later rounds? yes those are YOUR WORDS brad. i dont care if you say you "never said" those things becauase i say YOU DID. sdo you did!!!

orton is a BUST ans will be cut from teh broncos before teh season starts. i now becuasde ia m always right ans i only give facts.

lovie is a bust.

lemme day again that vasher till man grahm williams charmander and ssneator durbin are all BUSTS!!!

OLSONS is a BUST just like BENSONS a BUST!!!!

Also the biggest problem with this system is that you are ONE HUINDRED PERCENT WRONG BRAD SENSE IA MA LWAYS RIGHT AND I ONLY GIVE FACTS!!!11!!!

but yoy guys now me old crap-ton just trying to be posative...

p.s. my least favorite actor is marlin BRANDO!!!

It's no wonder that Jerr A pulled the trigger on sending 2 first round picks to Denver. In his hands those picks are pretty useless. Qbs are about 30%. So Jerry getting a starting qb is around 10%. Lots of luck. Hire an odds maker and he tells Jerry to trade for a QB. I wonder if we should outsource the whole operation to Bombay?):

Interesting to say the least.

I look at it this way. Angelo made plenty of mistakes, many GM make plenty of mistakes. The draft process is not perfect and once a player is pricked, prodded, tested and graded it is really up to the player and the coaches to develop the player.

Angelo's worste attribute is his 1'st round succes rate. Grossman failed, Benson failed (here), Haynes was a failure, Columbo failed here strictly due to injury, Olsin is a success story, Williams still has the book out on him as most analysts wait until the 3'rd year to rate a player a success or a bust.

I will give Angelo a pass. This off-season he did some wonderful things. Trading for Cutler, adding Pace, Shaffer and Omiyale to bolster the O-line. In essance this years and next years #1's should be consider a success because Angelo turned those traded picks into a 26-yr old pro-bolw Franchise QB....

The job is not yet done but this off-season should already be considered a success without even factoring in the coming draft class.

Go Bears !!

Crap-ton what is wrong with you? you waste of space. That post is the most incoherent collection of misspelled words why isn't that mess rejected by the blog owner? Just that information Brad wrote anywhere but in the Bears organization Angelo would be fired. It like the old saying if you throw enough crap-ton on the wall something will stick. This guy is absolutely horrible and after looking at the numbers I know why Lovie show no emotion he has nothing to get excited about.

Those are pretty low numbers, but I'd like to see a comparison between the league's GMs before damning Angelo. Maybe Angelo has had problems in the draft; or maybe Casserly's benchmarks for a good draft are too high. Only a comparison could answer that.

Good stuff Brad. Took some moxie to do that. Draft analyses are like fish stories in that the first fisherman doesn't have a chance. Even so, there is no way to spin these numbers and conclude that the Bears have drafted effectively in the Jerry Angelo era.

A couple thoughts.

--A lot depends on how you define "starter". No definition will be perfect, but it seems like Casserly's formula is a rating tool for the talent evaluation process. As such it should be applied strictly on the prospect's ceiling, not their long term career. By this "talent only" measurement, players like Tank Johnson, Mark Bradley, Benson, Rex Grossman and Josh Beekman, as well as both Vasher and Graham, should be considered "starters" because they competed for and earned a top of the depth chart starting job at some point. The talent was verified on the field. Players who spot started because of injury or something would still be non-starting backups.

--Although your analysis didn't go there, these numbers shed a different light on the Bears relative success with UFAs after the draft. I have often felt that the Bears organization does a pretty good job finding nuggets in the UFA market. However, if you look at it from the angle that UFAs come into training camp or minicamp and successfully compete with the drafted spins it another way. That would imply that the Bears don't do that great a job finding good UFAs. They just do a bad job of drafting.

Yes, we all knew Jerry had a bad 1st rd draft history, and as I have noticed especially with Jerry picking OL in the 7th, thats a wasted round. Although I wonder why Monk has not caught on??
He actually as we already knew does a credible job in rds 2-5. But Benson is starting in Cincy and is projected to do well there.

So to all the !@# (M. Schlereth) that think Jerry made a bad trade, Cutler is our Number 1 draft pick next 2 years so we aced these next 2 First rds!! :)
Thanks Brad for the info, and I never thought I would say this but ...I give Jerry a pass - cause we have a PROBOWL QB!!! and alot of teams DON'T!
But I don't use the excuse that alot of GM's screw up the draft so give Jerry a break, nope - he did mess up those picks, but he made up for it by outbidding for Cutler, and this is the most excited I have been since 1985 (2006 was a bust).

"Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said Tuesday that the hope is the team will get three starters out of this draft even though the team lacks first- and third-round picks."

The Bears actually have a 3rd round compensatory pick. Thanks Berrian.

Justin Gage is strting for Titans, and Bobby Wade is starting for Vikings. Get you facts right

I think these draft %'s are way off.

I can't remember even ONE DRAFT were 75% of the first round were starters.. more like 40%. much less every year 75% are starters.
same for 2nd round where its much closer to 30% than 60%.

I am also surprised that Monk didn't get another chance. But he was still healing from the knee injury, and wasn't able to put his best foot forward in the preseason last year. I had hoped we would try and stash him on the practice squad last season, but he ended up landing and then falling from the Giants, and went back to school to play B-ball one more year.

That would be an interesting prospect to invite to camp though. Big, good hands, great leaper, strong pedigree, and won't cost us a draft pick...

Any chance you can find out where Monk is today, and if he is still considering football as a career? I know Mortenson was very high on him after watching him when he was watching his son, and he at least knows something about football (one would hope)

Gotta love the ungreatful wannabes. " got this/that wrong...get your facts right." It's blogging, not authoring articles for publication. Relax. Then pull the plank out.

The analysis does show that the Bears can do a better job with the draft. Here's hoping they improve this weekend.

Creighton, that was a pathetic, pointless post. Your knowledge is constantly compromised by your penchant for being overly critical of both the Bears roster and their front office. I'm not against criticism - there is plenty room for that in the Bears organization - but yours is nearly always overexaggerated and out of bounds. In trying to be Jay Mariotti, you compromise your desire to be Brad Biggs. Being overly negative and critical of any Bear that doesn't make the Pro Bowl makes you unbalanced and unreliable as an analyst. It seems like you're trying to sound "edgy" and like the whistle-blowing realist on the boards, but you don't have the necessary balance.

I remember you once commenting that Angelo was "the worst GM in the NFL." This comment was made early last season while Matt Millen was still GM of the Lions. Enough said. Angelo is an average GM at best, not the worst in the NFL, and certainly not worsee than Millen. Your inability to articulate and offer balanced analysis is a huge strike against your posts.

Some of you guys are a little too critical of Brad a mistake here or there and we are all over the guy. GEEZ!

Lets face it without Brad doing this blog day in and day out we would probably be faced with a blog that was run by someone that does not have the passion or knowledge that Brad shows on a daily basis.

I know quit kissin A--, but lets face the facts we are lucky to have someone like Brad running the show on this blog.

Here is an intersting read about the 2005 draft class. Many posters blast Angelo for the failure of the draft but look at how the rest of the NFC North in particular faired with that 2005 prospect crop:

By JUDD ZULGAD, Star Tribune
Last update: April 23, 2009 - 9:24 AM

When Marcus Johnson signed with the Oakland Raiders this month, it created barely a ripple on the NFL transaction wire.

But there was a definite thud at Winter Park.

The offensive lineman was the last remaining member of the Vikings' 2005 draft class. Seven players were taken by the Vikings that spring, and four years later, as the team prepares for another draft, none remain.

"Obviously it hurts your franchise," said NFL Network analyst Charlie Casserly, who oversaw 15 drafts during his time as an executive with the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans. "But sometimes you do have a year where it doesn't work out for you. ... Sometimes there are bad draft years."

That 2005 draft was a colossal bust for most in the NFC North. There were a combined 30 players taken by the Vikings, Bears, Lions and Packers. Only three remain on the roster of the team that originally selected them; all three -- quarterback Aaron Rodgers (first round), safety Nick Collins (second) and linebacker Brady Poppinga (fourth) -- were taken by Green Bay.

First-round flops included Texas running back Cedric Benson (taken fourth overall by Chicago) and Southern California receiver Mike Williams (10th by the Lions). Yet, the Vikings' first-round misses might hurt just a little bit more. They had two picks in the top 20, including the seventh overall selection that was the marquee piece to the trade that sent receiver Randy Moss to Oakland.

Although many wanted the Vikings to take Williams, the selection was used on South Carolina wide receiver Troy Williamson. Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James, whom the Vikings thought would provide the type of pass-rushing presence they lacked from the right end, was taken 18th.

For different reasons, both flopped and exited Minnesota following the 2007 season. Williamson's main issue was that he never mastered the art of holding onto the football. James' problems revolved around a knee injury that he suffered early in the 2006 season and hampered him thereafter.

Somewhat remarkably, the Vikings were able to get late-round draft picks for Williamson and James, obtaining a 2008 sixth-rounder from the Jaguars and a seventh-rounder in this weekend's draft from the Redskins, who jettisoned James last December. The Vikings used Jacksonville's pick to take Jackson State wide receiver Jaymar Johnson, who spent last season on their practice squad.

Among the players who were taken after Williamson were linebackers DeMarcus Ware of Troy and Shawne Merriman of Maryland. Ware, selected 11th overall by Dallas, had an NFL-leading 20 sacks last season and Merriman, the 12th pick by San Diego, was named to three consecutive Pro Bowls before missing 2008 after having knee surgery.

The Vikings' misses continued in the fourth round when running back Ciatrick Fason went 112th overall, or three picks after Dallas took former Gophers star Marion Barber III and two picks after Brandon Jacobs went to the Giants. What really hurts is that 18 picks later, the Chargers took Kansas State's Darren Sproles, a mutidimensional threat.

"That overall draft that year was pretty good," ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. "I'm talking about mid-first round on. You found a lot of good players in that draft. But the top 10, top nine turned out to be very, very questionable and there were a lot of first-round busts. That draft is going to get bashed, but overall it wasn't bad and some teams really set themselves soaring based on that draft. Other teams, Minnesota being one, really were set back by [it]."

Rick Spielman, who was named the Vikings' vice president of player personnel in May 2006 and now has a large say in the draft process, is hesitant to say anything that might sound critical about a draft that was conducted before he arrived.

"All I know is as you draft guys that you think can play -- whether they're starting their first year or they are backups as they grow into a starting position -- as you lose older guys you have a pipeline of younger guys that you're developing, that know your system," he said, an attempt to spin the question into a position answer.

Assessing blame for what went wrong in 2005 is difficult and probably pointless. Key decision-makers included former coach Mike Tice, Scott Studwell and Rob Brzezinski. Studwell and Brzezinski remain with the organization, Studwell as director of college scouting and Brzezinski as vice president of football operations. A Vikings spokesman said last week that the organization wouldn't have a comment beyond what Spielman had to say.

Casserly, who ran the 2005 draft for the Texans and took Florida State defensive tackle Travis Johnson 16th overall, defended the Vikings' first-round selections. "Erasmus James had an injury," he said. "Everybody had him rated high. But if a guy gets hurt, whose fault is that? It's nobody's. That's bad luck. And then Troy Williamson was a guy who quite frankly a lot of us had rated highly. We know he didn't play well, but I've got to be honest with you: We would have projected him to be taken up there, too. He was not a guy that they took out of nowhere."

However, the only thing that matters now is Williamson and every other member of that draft for the Vikings are nowhere to be found these days.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 22, 2009 6:45 PM.

Bears' draft chat unplugged: Angelo, Gabriel pre-draft transcription was the previous entry in this blog.

Iglesias confident he stacks up with receivers in draft class is the next entry in this blog.

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