There isn't a time in my lifetime when I wouldn't have applauded the Bears drafting Dan LeFevour --- until now. The reason is obvious: Jay Cutler. I'm not sure general manager Jerry Angelo made the wisest decision when he made the Central Michigan quarterback his choice in the sixth round, and it has nothing to do with LeFevour's ability.
The Major Wright pick makes sense because he has the potential to become what the Bears so desperately need --- a playmaking free safety. Scouts have called him small and wondered about his athleticism, but scouts pick apart everybody. Wright is a hard-hitting safety in the classic Chicago style who excelled in elite high school and college programs.
"He's one of those collision guys," said Florida assistant defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chuck Heater. "He likes big collisions and that's his mark as a player, being really disruptive. He's had some signature hits, one in almost every game he played for us."
I spent the day learning everything I could about Harris for a feature that will run in Sunday's editions. He's an impressive guy. I don't think he'll have any trouble adjusting to life in the NFL. Cris Carter doesn't think so, either. The former Vikings receiver was an assistant coach when Wright played at St. Thomas Aquinas High-Fort Lauderdale and remains a close family friend.
"I've been around a lot of different kids at a lot of different levels and Major Wright is a special kid," he told me.
Corey Wootton was another solid choice, a value pick with upside. The Northwestern defensive end would've likely been a first-rounder if not for a serious knee injury that limited his effectiveness last season. The knee is healed now, and with Rod Marinelli's help, Wootton has a chance to become everything everybody thought he could be.
It was what the Bears did in rounds five and six that I didn't completely understand.
Kansas State cornerback Joshua Moore performed two reps at 225 pounds at the combine. Really? Sorry, but that's not a red flag, that a flashing red siren. I don't know much about Moore, but that doesn't bode well for his commitment to the weight room.
Then the Bears drafted LeFevour, and things got weird.
I watched the Benet Academy-Lisle product at the Senior Bowl and liked what I saw. He's not always pretty, but darned if he doesn't move his team down the field. He reminds me of Rich Gannon that way. But given the Bears need for players at other positions, this seems like a reckless pick at a time when the team has so much invested in Cutler.
The Bears could use a veteran quarterback, sure, someone to backup Cutler if he gets hurt, but a rookie when youngster Caleb Hanie is already on the roster? Cutler will be 27 next season, which means he should still be playing when LeFevour is eligible to become a free agent. This doesn't seem like a time for Jerry Angelo to hedge his bets.
Again, at any point in the past 40 years I would compliment the Bears for taking a quarterback they feel they can develop. I'm just not sure what the point is now, and I worry about the message it might send to Cutler. Does this mean the Bears lack confidence in Cutler after his interception-prone first season in Chicago? Is he no longer the long-term solution?
Maybe Mike Martz saw something in this kid, something that made him think he could be molded into a top-notch quarterback. I trust Martz, but still ...
The Bears took West Texas A&M tackle J'Marcus Webb in the seventh round. Now that's more like it. At 6-foot-8, 328 pounds, Webb could compete at left guard, where the Bears need someone to compete with Josh Beekman, someone who can add some toughness up front, someone who can help block Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and the Vikings' imposing interior line.
Overall, I give the Bears a 'B-minus' after factoring Cutler into the mix, which is about the best they could expect without a first- and second-round pick. Cutler has to be included in the evaluation because the Bears used this year's first-round draft choice to acquire him. To often, such trades are overlooked when evaluating a draft.
Post-draft grades are useless, of course, and Angelo's recent draft history makes fans want to examine the Bears picks through splayed fingers, so I'll withhold further judgement while scratching my head and wondering whether the Bears could've found a player at position of need rather than drafting LeFevour.
By the way, check out Sunday's Sun-Times for colleague Sean Jensen's take on the Bears' draft.