Draft Grader: Chicago Bears

| April 3, 2013

In case you haven’t noticed we’ve been going back over the 2008, 2009, and 2010 draft class of each franchise and assigning each pick a grade. Up next? Well that’s the Chicago Bears.

Each pick between the 2008 and 2010 draft classes has earned a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:

• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for

Let’s take a look at how Chicago drafted.

 

+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round

If they had then they wouldn’t have needed to trade for Jay Cutler.

 

+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!

Henry Melton, DT (105th overall pick in 2009): It took the Bears some time to figure out how to make full use of Melton, but when they did, he really delivered. One of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the game, he’s coming off a year where he had the highest Run Stop Percentage of any defensive tackle and was ninth-highest with his Pass Rushing Productivity score. Nice work in the fourth.

 

+1.0: The scouts nailed it!

Matt Forte, RB (44th overall pick in 2008): Since a disappointing sophomore campaign in 2009, Forte has shown himself to be one of the most complete backs in the league. Someone you can base your offense around, he hasn’t always been helped by the Bears’ offense line, but he’s made the most (and then some) of the help afforded to him.

 

+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor

Earl Bennett, WR (70th overall pick in 2008): Bennett may never be a top receiver in the league, but when he works from the slot he’s extremely productive and has a good rapport with Jay Cutler. Just a shame he’s missed so much time over the past couple of seasons.

D.J. Moore, CB (119th overall pick in 2009): If you could settle for picking a cornerback in the fourth and having him develop into a solid slot cornerback you’d probably take it. Moore became that guy but despite keeping his performances levels up lost his position and is now no longer with the team.

Lance Louis, G (246th overall pick in 2009): After a decent series of performances in 2010, it would have been interesting to see how Louis fared at right guard before injuries forced him to play at tackle. It did not go well but a return to guard saw him do a decent job. Finding solid starters late in the draft is a skill, so it’s a shame Louis has moved on.

Major Wright, S (75th overall pick in 2010): In his first two years in the league he had some moments (good and bad), but did enough to convince the Bears brass he should start in 2012. Outside of a horrible game against San Francisco (-5.2), he proved that decision to be a good one, earning a +5.1 grade for the year.

J’Marcus Webb, T (218th overall pick in 2010): It took a long time for the Bears to get Webb looking decent on the field. That happened in 2012 where outside of one horrible outing on Monday Night Football he performed well, finishing a respectable 43rd out of 72 tackles in our Pass Blocking Efficiency rating.   

 

0.0: It could have been worse

Craig Steltz, S (120th overall pick in 2008): A reliable backup safety and strong special teamer, Steltz found it hard to get on the field in 2012 (113 defensive snaps). That’s something of a shame after he made a strong impact in 2011 with a +6.0 grade on 419 snaps.

Zackary Bowman, CB (142nd overall pick in 2008): Chicago wanted Bowman to be a starting cornerback in this league, but when opportunity presented itself he just wasn’t up to the task. A year and a bit of sub-par starts saw him benched, and while he briefly got his spot back in 2011, it was never going to last.

Kellen Davis, TE (158th overall pick in 2008): Another player that finally broke into the starting lineup in 2011, Davis was however unable to take advantage of the opportunity placed upon him. In 2012 he had the second-highest drop rate of all tight ends (29.6 percent of catchable balls).

Ervin Baldwin, DE (208th overall pick in 2008): Didn’t manage a single snap for the Bears on defense after being promoted from their practice squad. Was gone within a year.

Joey LaRocque, LB (243rd overall pick in 2008): Released after spending a year on the practice squad.

Kirk Barton, T (247th overall pick in 2008): Possibly could have landed on the Bears’ practice squad, but was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins.

Marcus Monk, WR (248th overall pick in 2008): Another one of the Bears five seventh-rounders who never got on the field. Monk was waived and picked up by the Giants before he could hit the Bears’ practice squad.

Johnny Knox, WR (140th overall pick in 2009): While not always the most consistent of receivers, Knox did have a knack for making some big plays. It’s just a huge shame a serious injury ended his career.

Al Afalava, S (190th overall pick in 2009): Started in 2009 as a rookie, but his below average performances convinced the Bears to move on by cutting him a year later.

Corey Wootton, DE (109th overall pick in 2010): Struggled to get on the field his first two years, but at least in Year 3 the Bears got some production from him, especially early on. A late-season slump in form sees the Bears needing more from him.

Joshua Moore, CB (141st overall pick in 2010): Lasted a year before the Bears cut the former fifth-rounder.

Dan LeFevour, QB (181st overall pick in 2010): Waived as a rookie, he was likely heading to the Bears practice squad before the Bengals picked him up.

Harvey Unga, RB (Seventh round pick in 2010 supplemental draft): Unga spent his debut year on injured reserve and didn’t see the field in year two as he was given a roster exemption to miss the year due to a personal matter. Like most Bears seventh round picks, yet to see the field.

 

-0.5: That pick was not put to good use

Marcus Harrison, DT (90th overall pick in 2008): A -18.7 grade over 1,124 snaps should let you know just how Harrison performed for Chicago. Unable to get any upfield penetration, Harrison offered very little at the defensive tackle spot. The Bears got better when they moved on from him.

Chester Adams, G (222nd overall pick in 2008): Sprained his MCL and while injured reserve was an option, the Bears had seen enough to know that as bad as their offensive line was, he couldn’t help them.

Marcus Freeman, LB (154th overall pick in 2009): Once a highly regarded college prospect, Freeman dropped all the way to the fifth, and couldn’t even make the Bears’ active roster (or practice squad) as a rookie.

Derek Kinder, WR (251st overall pick in 2009): The late seventh-rounder wasn’t even a candidate for the practice squad after being cut months after being drafted.

 

-1.0: What a waste!

Jarron Gilbert, DE (68th overall pick in 2009): The man who could jump out of swimming pools, he wasn’t quite as handy as making a splash on the NFL field. 35 career snaps (where he earned a -3.5 grade for his troubles) were all the Bears got to see if an athlete who just wasn’t all that good at football.

Juaquin Iglesias, WR (99th overall pick in 2009): Expected to compete for a starting spot, Iglesias got on the field for just two snaps in his Bears career before he was picked up by the practice squad in his sophomore season. Not what you expect of a third-round pick and a major disappointment.

 

-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!

Chris Williams, T (14th overall pick in 2008): Drafted to be the team’s franchise left tackle, Williams missed most of his rookie year before looking out of place at right tackle a year later. Eventually moved to left guard but was just as bad there before Chicago decided they’d seen enough and let him leave. His Bears career saw him earn a -22.8.

 

-2.0: You just drafted the love child of Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!

No Russell/ Leaf hybrids in this draft.

 

Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

 

  • Biffo

    A zero grade for Johnny Knox is harsh. A fifth round pick, he had 133 catches for 2214 yards in less than 3 years, and threw in 3 kick/punt return tds too. Yet he’s placed alongside do-nothings like Zack Bowman and Joshua Moore.

    • JLRC

      His positive contributions are about equally weighted by some negatives on the field as well as exiting the league sooner than the Bears would have liked to part with him. I’m okay with it, though I may not have rated him that way.

      • Biffo

        I’m not a subscriber so I don’t know what the advanced stats say, but I can just about accept that Knox only deserves a zero grade (especially after discovering I misread his PFR page: he only had 1 kick return td, sorry :) ) What doesn’t make any sense is Joshua Moore receiving the same grade.

        The article says the grading depends on

        • Where they were drafted (Knox at #140, Moore at #141)
        • Their performance (Knox led the team in receptions and yards as a sophomore, and led the Bears in yards again the following year despite missing the last two games to that career-ending injury. Moore has made one tackle in his whole career.)
        • Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them): Knox played almost 3 full years, started 27 games, and played on special teams too. Moore was on the Bears roster for 1 season and played in 3 games with no starts according to PFR)
        • Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for (presumably this counts in Knox’s favour?)

        I can see how you might give LeFevour and other 7th round picks who never made the team a pass, and I can certainly accept that Knox wasn’t as good as his blunt numbers suggest, but to place him in the same category as someone who was drafted at the same spot but produced nothing at all seems odd to me.

  • John

    The classic pool jumper… Glad Jerry is gone.