Chicago Sun-Times

Experts giving Bears get mostly C's for 2012 draft

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Grading an NFL team's draft is even more of an inexact science than the draft itself. The New England Patriots received mostly B's for their 2000 draft, but the two most important acquisitions weren't even considered: coach Bill Belichick from the New York Jets for their first-round pick (16th overall) and quarterback Tom Brady of Michigan in the sixth round (199th overall).

Brady, of course, has been the best player in the entire draft, with the Bears' Brian Urlacher (ninth overall) No. 2. Belichick has led the Patriots to five Super Bowls, with three championships. The Patriots' first-round pick ended up with the 49ers, who took eventual five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson. But it was well worth trading the pick for New England.

So with that in mind, here are some post-draft grades on the Bears' 2012 draft.


MEL KIPER, JR. ESPN: C+ (overall); C+ (needs); C (value)

''Shea McClellin is a good player and will help out the pass rush, but I didn't see him going quite this high. I just don't think he has quite the ceiling of a guy like Whitney Mercilus. But he at least fills a need. Alshon jeffery gives them another option at wide receiver, but needs to prove he can do more than bdeat defenders using size to get to passes. For one, he's not as big as he'd been listed for several years, and he must get better as a route-runner. Can he separate? it's still a question. Brando Hardin was a reach, though he'll stick. My big question is about needs. The Bears just don't have a lot of talent on the offensive line. Gabe Carimi will be back, but I'm really surprised they had six picks and didn't get a single offensive lineman. Even if it wasn't a big need, I'd want to get a young guy in there. The Bears also didn't get a defensive tackle, which I had as a need.''

(It should be noted that by Kiper's ratings, the Bears in effect ''drafted'' an offensive tackle by signing Troy's James Brown, whom Kiper had rated as the 54th best player in the draft, as an undrafted free agent.)


PETE PRISCO, CBSsports.com/nfldraft.com: C

Best pick: ''Third-round safety Brandon Hardin has played corner, so he has range. He missed the 2010 season with a shoulder injury, but is healthy now. Rangy safeties are in vogue now.''

Questionable move: ''I don't like the pick of receiver Alshon Jeffery in the second round. He is too much like Brandon Marshall and doesn't run well enough.''

Third-day gem: ''Isaiah Frey is a corner form Nevada who faced some good passing teams in college. He isn't a great man player, but might be a nice nickel corner.''

Analysis: ''They took Shea McClellin in the first round and he will play left end, although a lot of scouts saw him as a 3-4 outside rusher. I think he'll be fine as an end. I don't like the Jeffery pick and they didn't get a lot the rest of the way. I do like Hardin.''


JOHN CZARNECKI, Fox.com: C-

''Two of the first three picks were defenders. Boise State's Shea McClellin is a farm-tough linebacker who can rush the passer and also line up on the outside. Oregon State safety Brandon Hardin missed the entire 2011 season due to shoulder surgery, but the Bears say he'll be ready for rookie mini-camp. ... South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery is a big-body receiver with 4.48 speed. Jeffery, though, was better two years ago than he was last season, some believing he was protecting himself against injury for this draft. His high-school basketball team won four state titles, and he can jump out of the gym. ... Temple's Evan Rodriguez could emerge as a tight end/H-back player. They really didn't address their offensive line needs, however.''


VINNY IYER, The Sporting News: A-

These are the kind of complementary players to their veteran stars who can push them back into the postseason.


EVAN SILVA, rotoworld.com: B+

''The Bears made an aggressive move up for Jeffery, without conceding much (pick 150), and otherwise used their picks where slotted. While Jeffery's on-field potential can be debated, he adds an element to a receiver corps that can now be among the most potent in football. McClellin will be a disruptive ''Joker'' if Chicago's staff uses him right, and Hardin is an intriguing talent in the back end at 6-foo-3, 217 with 4.44 wheels. Rodriguez has some Aaron Hernandez to his game. Only time will tell, but it looks lie rookie GM Phil Emery's first win.''


CHRIS BURKE, si.com: C

''Can Shea McClellin develop into the pass-rusher Chicago needs? Will Alshon Jeffery stay in shape? Is Brandon Hardin healthy? The Bears took some risks early and nabbed a couple of borderline prospects late.''


TODD McSHAY, ESPN: No grade

Impact pick: DB Brandon Hardin (third) - ''He missed the entire 2011 season with a broken shoulder, but Hardin's 2010 tape shows he can be a sub-package defender who can match up with bigger wideouts in the slot and be a physical presence against the run. He can also be a big-time contributor on special teams, and I think he's hungry to get back on the field. Plus, in a division where the Bears have to face the likes of WR Calvin Johnson and Packers TE Jermichael Finley twice a year, it's not a bad idea to have a defensive back who can come over and fight for jump balls.''

Intriguing pick: WR Alshon Jeffery (second) - ''Jeffery lacks suddenness and will need be a great route-runner, but if he can commit to staying in shape, his elite downfield ball skills and ability to make plays in the red zone will be tremendous assets. The Bears invested a lot in Jeffery, and whether he works hard on and off the field to improve his game will determine the value Chicago gets from the pick.''

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8 Comments

VINNY IYER, The Sporting News: A-

"These are the kind of complementary players to their veteran stars who can push them back into the postseason."

This a BS grade, he is hedging the bet. Bears would have made the post season had Cutler not got hurt. He doesn't even talk much about the players just says they are "Complementary" He's hiding behind Cutler, Forte, Peppers, Urlacher, Briggs, Marshall and Tillman.

Also someone needs to let me know when a rookie special team star, who has hardly and starts in collge shuts down Calvin Johnson

How this draft works out.

McClellin as the 19th pick and as an end he needs to put up numbers similar to Adrian Clayborn and Ryan Kerrigan last years 20th and 16th picks who are both ends. So about 7-8 sacks and 50 tackles. Two ends from 2011 draft, taken at about the same time as McClellin. They put up similar numbers, so I think if Shea can math those numbers it's fare.

Jeffery needs to put up numbers similar to Torrey Smith last years 58th pick, 50 rec 800 yards, 7td's. Said he was the third highest rated receiver in the draft on their board. Torrey Smith was taken at almost the same point in the draft last year, was considered a top 3 reciever who dropped just like Jeffery. Put up the third best numbers among the drafted Reciever.

Hardin Put up numbers and more playing time than Conte and stay healthy. Healthy as in no broken bones or lost games. Do well on special teams. Basically asking a guy not to get hurt, that's not to much. Oh but they think he will match up with Calvin Johnson, so he needs to shut him down.

Evan Rodriguez, well he is being compared to Hernandez, so 500 yards, 40 rec and 7 TD's. If the Bears are going to Compare him to Hernandez I expect Hernandez numbers. Taken at almost the same point in the draft.

Remember the Bears talked them up, not me I am just giving them what I would expect from the Comparisons they made and the things they said. I would say it's an A if all four work out this way, a B if 3 out of 4 workout this way, a C if 2 out of 4 workout this way, a D if 1 out of 4 workout this way and an F if zero workout this way. Anyone makes the pro bowl or All Pro list as a starter brings an extra letter grade, andyone busts out year one you lose half a letter grade (C becomes C-) First round pick busts out it is a full letter grade drop. No penalty for injuries unless the draft pick had injury concerns. Half a letter grade for missing time do to injuries.

Creighton...I like a lot of your thoughts there..but while I think McClellins target numbers you cite are on point ..not sure if given the fact Marshall is the true number 1 and given Bennett, forte and Hesters strengths that Jeffery's and Rodriguez's numbers would be that strong...maybe jeffrey hits 7 tds but I don't think he is going to catch 50 balls given the other weapons we have...plus Rodriguez won't be a 2nd or 3rd option as Hernadez was last year...but i think your dead on with McClellins numbers...and your grade criteria

Well you know when you grade a draft your not really grading the players. Your grading the GM and the scouts.

I don't think Jeffery or Rodriguez will touch those numbers. Not a lot of receivers light it up year one. Even if they are a good player, new system, the whole crazy nfl world, adjusting to speed. I hate the Rodrigues pick. It's just a copycat pick and the guy is a turd. He's like 4th option. With this line Jay is never going to get to his 4th option. Marshall, Bennett, Forte, then maybe Jeffery, then maybe Rodriguez.

The 2008 Cards had 3 receivers hit a 1000 yards, although Marshall, and Boldin are better than Marshall and Bennett. If Jeffery becomes as good as Breaston it's not a bad pick. But the TE's in that offense didn't do much and the backs did not catch the ball much, and they did not rush the ball much.

The greatest show on Turf managed to get 1 receiver lighting it up and 1 running back lighting it up. Bruce and Faulk both passed 1000 yards receiving, but Holt had under 800 and the third receiver had under 700 yards. That was the greatest show on Turf. The second year of the show they tore it up passing the ball and Holt and Bruce had amazing years. But the rushing numbers were down and so were Faulks receiving numbers. At no time were the TE's lighting it up.

Jay is going to go to Marshall, Bennett and Forte before anyone else. Those are his guys. Bush and Forte can catch out of the backfield, even if Tice likes an H-Back but is he going to be as good as Forte catching the ball out of the backfield. How often will he even be on the field? NE moves Hernandez all over the place cause they need too. NE did not even have a real number 1 receiver last year. Welker is a slot guy, he's great but that is what he is.

To many Bears fans think Jay is going to throw for 6000 yards. I like the guy but really? They think cause Emery is a new GM all his picks are All Pro's. Even if you look at the best drafts of all time even those GM's missed a lot of picks in those drafts like the Bears 83 draft class. You don't see draft classes like that anymore, you also don't see teams hitting with that many picks who play to that level. You get two good players these days and you are thrilled.

its a crapshoot however you grade it.. emery did do some good by adding proven free agents and the draft picks are a roll of the dice, but for now im hoping for the best..

was kind of shocked by the mccllin pick but he does have an " urlacher" look to him and is versatile and the packers and pats were looking hard so that says something..

either way feel the roster is better and improved.. time will tell!!

I think everyone is hoping for the best. But I would not say roll of the dice. I would say educated guess.

But I want you to notice something. Listen to Emery talk about McClellin and Jeffery. He goes into very fine detail about Jeffery, but not really McClellin. Cause he can't he does not have the film to back up saying McClellin is a 1 gap every down end. So he talks about his athletic ability and motor. That's a sign it's a gut pick and those can be dangerous.

Part of the reason Jeffery's numbers were mediocre last year is because of the players around him...they had well documented QB problems.

The year before, Jeffery was projected as being a top 10 pick. He guy has legit #1 nfl WR potential. He runs a 4.48 / 40. I don't know how that's "not well enough" for a guy that's 6'4". Even if he doesn't run the sharpest routes and get separation, he's still super athletic and can jump and reach better than 99.9% of NFL cornerbacks.
He's also a young kid (obviously) and if he trains and diets properly he can increase his lateral speed. A lot of people out there really like Jeffery and say he's got a chance to be a real prime time player when it's all said and done.

I don't pay those sports writers/anaylst any mind.. On Jeffery and WRs in general WRs don't create seperation with just speed UNLESS they run routes with double moves or the DB slips or make a mistake or there is a missed assignement by the defense! Every player in the secondary runs 4.3-4.5s. Every one is fast! You can create seperation with your cuts and sharp route running and if this is a problem it can be taught easily.

You know how players like Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery creates space? When they jump over the DBs heads and pluck the balls out of the air. Theres seperation for you. Take a look how Calvin Johnson up in Detroit makes his team better.

As a SEC football die hard fan, I can say with all confidence that Alshon Jefferey is fast, physical, long, smart and the TRUTH. I can't wait to see him play in this offense. He will make an impact on the field and I THINK bigger than you think. He is not going to kow how to act with a QB who can make all the passes.. Jefferey in the 2nd round A.

I am not as concerned about his production drop as I am about his weight and attitude change from last season to this season. He expressed his frustration on the field multiple times, including getting into a fight with Dennard in his last college game. If the QB was sub-par, a prospective professional would have done things like work on his route running, improve his physical conditioning, improving his blocking, or taking on more of a leadership role. Jeffery did none of those things, and basically wasted a year. And it's not like he is Larry Fitzgerald or Calvin Johnson. Right now, he looks more like Mike Williams, and will have to prove that he can be motivated as the second option at best on this team in the passing game. Unless Marshall gets suspended, he will be #1 on the field at all times. And a lot of the time, Forte will be #2.

As far as the speed numbers, he runs 4.48 in track gear, and doesn't show the same speed with the pads on. He also neglected to work out at all at the Combine in the drills, which was his chance to make his mark and get into the first round discussion with a superior performance. To me that is 3 flags: workout warrior who didn't show the same explosion on tape (unless you count vertically), did not display the competitive drive to go up against the best at his position at the Combine, and got lazy and complacent in his final season, his best audition for a job in the NFL. I don't see a future superstar in this kid. I see just another guy with loads of potential that has not even come close to reaching it. He certainly has the ability to go either way, so hopefully he will learn from this experience and become a solid pro. Just don't be disappointed if he doesn't.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on April 29, 2012 1:07 PM.

Lovie: Shea McClellin will 'hold his own' vs. run in NFL was the previous entry in this blog.

A Look at the Bears roster, which stands at 83 players is the next entry in this blog.

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