Chicago Sun-Times

Sizing up the Bears' draft from a national perspective

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It's impossible to judge an NFL draft the day after it has concluded. Today's college stud can be tomorrow's NFL washout. It takes three our four years to evaluate how successful an NFL draft was in helping a team Four years removed from the Bears' 2005 draft, it rates a steady D or F with the failure of Cedric Benson and Mark Bradley at the very top. There isn't a single player from that draft left on the roster. The 2006 draft doesn't look as good as it did in, say, January 2007 when the Bears were marching to Super Bowl XLI and had Danieal Manning starting as a rookie at free safety, Devin Hester setting records as a return man and Mark Anderson looking like the next coming of Richard Dent. We'll say that draft is worth a solid C right now but this coming season will tell a lot.

The point is to take the evaluation of what the Bears did this weekend (or what they did Sunday) with a grain of salt. It's far too early to tell what is going to happen. General manager Jerry Angelo went into the draft with the belief the Bears could get three starters. The Bears promote their draft picks. They carry preferred status.

"Realistically, that's tough,'' Angelo said when asked how many from the bunch could make the 53-man roster. "Six have a chance to make it. I feel every one of them has the ability to make it. Obviously, the competition's going to be a little big keener at some positions. But I don't think that would be unrealistic with this group.''

So, let's take a look at what they are saying about Angelo's draft around the league:

*** The Sporting News gives Angelo an A. They point out that this draft began with quarterback Jay Cutler. Does that mean Angelo has an A coming in 2010 also?

*** John Czarnecki at FoxSports.com gives the Bears a B-minus. He calls it a "total success" if Cutler leads the Bears to the playoffs. We'd suggest it's a total success if Cutler leads the Bears to some playoff victories. Kyle Orton has gotten them to the postseason.

*** Kevin Seifert at ESPN.com wonders if the daily double of linemen Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton will turn out better than the player the Bears could have gotten at No. 49. Mohamed Massaquoi or Rashad Johnson anyone?

*** The only team with more picks than the Bears on Sunday was the Dallas Cowboys, which began the day with 12, three more than the Bears. ESPN's John Clayton believes the Bears did a much better job.

"Their picks were consistent and fit needs. Defensive ends Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton have run the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds and will work with defensive line coach Rod Marinelli on the Bears' pass rush. Safety D.J. Moore had received a higher grade than his third-round selection. The Bears added wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias, who was rated in the round he was selected. Most of the Cowboys' picks were rated two or three rounds lower than their selections."

However, Clayton says New England had the best Day 2 of any team.

*** Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News pins a C on the Bears' draft but points out Angelo had the best third round.

"The Bears had the best third round of this draft. Gilbert and Iglesias were second-round values who slid into the third. The Bears got a late start - their first pick was 68th overall - but they finished strong."

*** Don Banks at SI.com compares Gilbert jumping out of a pool to Kyle Boller throwing the ball through goalposts from his knees before he was draft. Too bad there isn't a pool at the 50-yard line.


"I don't know what to make of this pool-jumping story that has apparently made Bears third-round pick Jarron Gilbert a bit of a YouTube sensation. The San Jose State defensive tackle made waves (sorry, couldn't resist) last summer when he was video-taped jumping out of the shallow end of a pool after being told that ex-Rams, Redskins and Bears safety Adam Archuleta had once performed the same feat. OK, I get it that it means Gilbert is one very strong dude. Granted. But does it ensure that he can really jack up the Bears' pass rush? I don't think so. No more than Kyle Boller being able to throw it through the goal posts from midfield on his knees made him a great quarterback in Baltimore when he was taken in the first round out of Cal in 2003."

*** Banks goes on to wonder if the Bears are gunning to finish near the basement every year in the SEC.

"What's up with Chicago's crush on Vandy? With the Bears picking Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore in the fourth round (119th overall), Lovie Smith's team is turning into the Commodores-North. Moore will have as teammates in Chicago four other ex-Vandy players: quarterback Jay Cutler, offensive tackle Chris Williams, receiver Earl Bennett and linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer. By one unofficial count, there are six other Vanderbilt products in the entire rest of the NFL -- or one more than in Chicago."


*** The National Football Post sees Gilbert and Moore as big successes for the Bears.

"We love what the Chicago Bears did. DT Jarron Gilbert is an ideal three-technique guy who can explode off the ball and penetrate into the backfield. Though CB D.J. Moore fell because of his lack of speed, he will likely end up developing into a starter for Chicago in the coming years."

*** Charles Robinson at Yahoo! Sports gives the Bears a B but doesn't believe that Juaquin Iglesias is going to solve the Bears' ongoing issues at wide receiver. Hey, there's always Johnny Knox and Derek Kinder.

*** Mark Maske at the Washington Post gave the Bears a C-plus. He says the price paid for Cutler might have been a little steep.

Time will tell what kind of grade the Bears deserve.

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18 Comments

Opinions are like @$$holes, everybody has one!!! Every team has the same record now....we'll see in January!!! BEAR DOWN!!!!!

B+. I love the value picks Angelo got (Gilbert, Iglesias, Moore and Freeman were all rated higher than where they were picked.) But Melton? Alfalfa? A TE/OG who the Bears can't even figure which he is, and Kinder, a Wannstedt recommendation? I'm tired of these reaches and projects. I see Melton as a possible Special Teams leader, if he can still run like a FB. The rest are a complete waste. Angelo works wonders from Rounds 3-5, then he craps out.

What does Dr Z say about the Bears?

Hope he calls it the worst draft class in history. There is no better sign of a good draft than to have that idiot trash it.

I am not surprised at how varied the opinions are, but I think Jerry did an excellent job of identifying value with his picks, outside of Melton and Afalava, who I thought should have been flip-flopped in round, and both Bruton and Chip Vaughn were still on the board when we took Henry instead of another SS with limited coverage skills. Gilbert, Moore, Iglesias, and Freeman were all tremendous values where they were taken. Knox was valued there by most services, and Kinder and Louis were basically late round flyers, which is what everybody does in round 7, especially in the comp pick section where you start picking after the actual 7th round ends.

If they play Gilbert at 3 technique, we should be in good shape when Tommie's knee fails for a 3rd season in a row. He is quick off the ball, explosive, and has long arms to help make the pocket feel smaller for opposing QBs. THe pool thing is being made fun of, but the thing it tells me is that he has tremendous lower body strength, which hopefully translates into a solid anchor at the point of attack. Iglesias should be a solid young WR, but I think Kinder will end up better than either of the other two we drafted. I am imagining a kickoff return where manning, Iglesias, Knox, and Bennett are all on the field to make teams pay for pooch-kicking to us.
If the report I saw is any indication, having Freeman backing up Briggs would be a boost to the Strong Side, as Williams can move over and push Roach and Hillenmeyer. I think he is more talented than either one of them, and should be an upgrade at the position.

I am not sure I like the Lance Louis pick, but if he can be the blocking TE we need, that gives us flexibility on game day as he can run better than I thought. Putting him on the field to improve short yardage play calling should be a help to us.

I love the Kinder pick, and think he could end up being the best receiver of our rookie class, and should pass Rideau very quickly on the depth chart. He has the physical size and strength to play the split end, and is a good blocker from all indications. Getting him in the 7th round could be an even bigger steal than D.J Moore, who could be our new nickel back, or a starter over Vasher and Graham if his skills are what is advertised.

If Moore is solid enough to play as a rookie in the nickel (comparisons to Ronde Barber are not too far off as far as size, ball skills, and competitiveness), then Manning can be moved back to free safety to compete with Bullocks, and Bowman can be our do-everything DB that plays both positions. Afalava can compete with Steltz to back up Payne, and we will have a very deep 5 man rotation at safety. We also strengthen our CB position with Tillman, Graham, Bowman, Moore, and Vasher (assuming he returns to form). Steltz might be the odd man out of this group, since he doesn't really do anything better than the guys around him, and McBride is dropping down the list as well.

We have some improved depth now, and when you look at how deep our offensive and defensive lines look, we are a much stronger team from 1 to 53 than we were last year. We should be able to weather the injuries much more effectively this year.

Now we just have to watch the waiver wire. Leroy Hill could be a great pickup to play the strongside, but that might cost too much money. But a linebacker is still a position we could use help on. We still could use a couple of defensive linemen to replace Dvoracek, and to attempt to upgrade Anderson and Adams. We can also use a safety if one comes loose in the next month or so.

All in all, a solid 2 days work, and a good step in the right direction. We have to hope these guys pan out, and deliver on some of that promise. We have to assume that half of them don't pan out, so it's good we have depth. But maybe the half that don't turn out will still be better than the half that didn't work out from previous drafts that are still on the roster. And as long as the receivers are halfway decent, we have a chance to make some noise this season.

"" TE/OG who the Bears can't even figure which he is, and Kinder""

Well, both Louis and Kinder were 7'th round picks or as many experts view them as head starts in the priority un-drafted player market. Seventh round selections are all projects that are drafted based on potential. Low risk high reward types that if they don't pan out it's no big deal because they have about as much of a chance to stick on an NFL roster as an undrafted free agent does.

Your only real knock with any merit was Melton. The kid has the size, the raw ability and the speed to become a solid DE in Lovie's system. He is (20) pounds heavier then both Brown and Ogunleye and is just as fast as both. Yes he is raw and will need a season to refine his skills but the Bears feel they have the right coach on board to teach him properly in Rod Marineli.

Most drafts take (3) years to truly judge and based on Gilbert, Iglesias, Knox, Freeman and Moore's upside I think the Bears have the makings of a pretty solid draft class.

Go Bears !!

Joe Felicelli - that was an excellent analysis of this draft.

Marinelli had to be whispering sweet things into Angelo's ear because now he has some toys play with.

It will be extremely exciting to see what some of these guys can do.

I give this draft a C though because I would have liked to see us pick up Massaquoi- I think he will be a great NFL reciever.

I'm very happy with what Angelo did after that trade however and I was very surprised Iglesias was still around at the end of the 3rd.

Go Bears- NFC North is ours this year.

Joe I gotta disagree on Kinder. Ever sese he got hurt he has not been the same, he lost speed and quickness, he has been a shadow of himself.

As for Melton first lets get his weight right, he weighed in at 268 not 280. Not a big difference in terms of weight but it is a big difference in terms of strength and muscle. He has some nice ability but he did play 1 on 1 almost all the time and came up with only 4 sacks while playing across from Orakpo. But thats cool thats not really his job anyway. He will not be able to over power RT's in the nfl like he did in Texas, which is probably why you didn't see a lot of teams look at him. DE is for the freak athletes of the nfl and in college that athletic ability lets you get away with a lot. He reminds me of a poor mans Jammal Anderson, which is not really a good thing. But it's also not much of a risk because he was taken late. My only real problem with this pick is there were guys on the board I liked better who had more value and were also needs.

Gilbert I think will be a solid fit as a UT in the bears system.

Iglesias I like a lot but not at Split end, I think he will be a very good slot player.

Moore this is the best pick that was made and he will start at corner sooner than people think. He is a very good football player.

None of the other picks wow me, but I think the Bears will get 1 solid starter out of this group, and 3 guys who contribute. They may even get two solid starters.

MS you should feel pretty bad right now.

Creighton for once you got me. I do feel pretty bad.

Mama said if you can't say something nice, don't say anything. As usual she was right.

Heya Brad, I saw that Siefert comment too, but I don't think it's a fair comparison -- for Massaquoi yes, but Johnson no.

If the Bears wanted Johnson then "Jerry Angelo was right to trade himself out of the second round of this draft" after all -- he was available well after the #68 pick they traded down to! (He almost lasted to the #99 comp pick.)

You can question the wisdom of passing up Massaquoi for extra picks, but not Johnson. Hindsight second-guessing is counter-productive enough without creating false choices.

I wonder if Banks made fun of Refrigerator Perry back when he demonstrated that he was athletic enough to jump from a standstill onto a 3 foot high table.

Regardless, I don't think the Youtube video had any BEARing on how the Bears evaluated Gilbert.

Just one thing: Once again, the Bears didn't draft an offensive lineman. Since Angelo has been in Chicago, they've only drafted Williams and Columbo in the early rounds. They better draft offensive linemen in the second and third rounds next year, or this line is going to fall apart soon. Pace, Kreutz, and Garza are all over 30.

I can't blame the Bears for not drafting offensive linemen this year when they had other, more pressing needs. But the lines are the foundations of good teams, and if the Bears' line disintegrates due to age, the offense will fall apart, Jay Cutler or no Jay Cutler.

the bears should have taken duke robinson,he was there for the taken
they also could have had clemsons also. maybe lance louis will be a good guard, but duke is more ready to play. it seems the bears have
poor vision when it comes to the future of the team. they havn't learned the difference between retooling and rebuilding.they could have gotten melton in later rounds, should have taken robinson in the fourth round.

Look I was a bit nervous with the late start, but looking at the bigger picture, Bears have a nice squad this year and if the gel effect happens they are definitely Conference if not Bowl contenders....

I believe Jarron Gilbert will be an asset and to set the record straight, he jumped out of the 3 foot end of the pool, the pool didn't have a kiddy level. Also, his father played for the Saints, his Uncle Darren Comeaux played for the Broncos, 49er's and the Seahawks, he definitely have the genes to have made it as far as he has and the backing to understand the pitfalls of bad decisions. Don't look for Gilbert to make and BIG mistakes off the field and look for him making the non-believers, believe in full.

Take it from me, Gilbert, Moore, Iglesias, and Freeman were tremendous picks and will make a difference... NICE JOB....

As much as we all knock Kiper, the guy does know a lot about the prospects. Where he struggles is placing them into an NFL system. But here is what he says about the Bears draft after the fact:
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Latecomer Award: The Bears didn't make a single pick on Day 1. Then on Day 2, they got DT Jarron Gilbert, who is "one of the steals of the draft," WR Juaquin Iglesias, CB D.J. Moore, OLB Marcus Freeman, WR Johnny Knox and WR Derek Kinder. "They got guys who were really bargains." Kiper was impressed with what they did without a first-day pick.
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Not a bad endorsement.

Creighton,
While I did not see the same player in Kinder this year that I saw before the knee injury, he is now 2 years removed from the knee injury, which is the time frame where most athletes regain the full strength and flexibility in the knee. I would like to watch some tape of him in the mini-camp this weekend, and make my judgment on his athleticism after seeing that. To be fair to him, Bill Stull is not exactly Dan Marino, so his pedestrian stats may have more to do with the offensive limitations of the Panthers than anything else. McCoy had almost 1,500 yards, and the entire passing offense was only 2,600.
If he looks like he did in September, then I don't think he has a chance to make it through first cuts. If he looks like he did in 2006, then he will end up pushing Bennett in camp for playing time. He is the best fit we have on the roster for split end, so hopefully he will get back to form. Iglesias, while he did play on the line at Oklahoma in a lot of formations, is not really physical enough to beat the jam consistently as a split end.
All things being equal, I would have taken Ogletree over Kinder, but I think Kinder is a better blocker, and when on his game, is more physical in his release and route running. Ogletree is better in space, and has more potential with the ball in his hands.

If he fails to make the team, I will be surprised, but not overly disappointed. It could be worse....he could be Airese Curry, who had a broken foot when we drafted him....

I remember the last two DT's the Bears had Ted Washington and Dan Hampton were both 6'5"+ and both had knee problems. Tall guys usually pay a high price playing in the middle. I am not saying this kid is like two former all-pro's but look around the league most DT's are 6'3" and under. I hope they don't put him in the middle and shorten his career and make him real pedestian wasting his speed and athleticism. Long athletic players are best at DE look at Jared Allen, Micheal Strahan, Osi Am., Justin Tuck, Richard Dent, lets go back more Carl Eller, Claude Humphery, Bubba Smith, Deacon Jones need I continue, ok one more L.C. Greenwood. There are more like you know who at Buffalo for many years. Point being his body type long arms and fast is a DE. The Bears have this thing were they want to change a player instead of continue to develop one. Taking a player out of a natural comfort zone retards development [Gilbert] was already moved from DE to DT in school to fit the schools needs now he should be put back to where his body and talent would be highlighted not placed in a position to be stifled.

DeputyDawg, Gilbert was not a very good DE, in fact he was a much better DT. I understand you want more size on the line, so do I.

Don't read to much into height, the best DL of all time have all been 6-4 and over. Washington had problems with his knees because he weighed close 400 pounds. Harris is 6-2 and has had problems with his knees sense college. It's part of the job, most Linemen will have problems walking by the time there in there 40's.

Reggie White 6-5 DL
Joe Greene 6-4 DT
Randy White 6-4 DT
Merlin Olsen 6-5 DT
Alan Page 6-4 DT
Bob Lilly 6-5 DT

If your wondering about more modern DT's Albert Haynesworth is 6-6.
Kevin Williams is 6-5
Kris Jenkins is 6-4
Haloti NNgata 6-4.

Dude tall Defensive tackles rule.

Ok boys and girls time for me to take a break from blog talk to you all when training camp starts. Enjoyed all the draft talk, have fun.

deputy dawg, you are right. i say this all the time the bears are one of the poorest teams as far as developing their players. look at chris harris they let him go and boom he a starter with another team. gilbert is a d end. dan hampton got bad knees from playing d tackle, he was 6'5 also with long arms. i hope gilbert winds up at d end.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 27, 2009 8:11 AM.

An early look at Bears' free-agent signings incluces Cal FB Will Taufoou was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears to bring in Wisconsin's long snapper Dave Peck for tryout is the next entry in this blog.

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