Draft Grader: Chicago Bears
Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me though that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.
We’re moving in draft order so it’s the Chicago Bears getting the next look.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Henry Melton, DT (105th overall pick in 2009): Missed all but 125 snaps of 2013 injured, but had done enough prior to firmly establish him as a great get for the team. Really broke out with a big 2011 where his explosiveness resulted in plenty of pressure. A year later he’d grown even more, using his penetrative abilities to cause havoc on every down. Excellent value in the fourth.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Johnny Knox, WR (140th overall pick in 2009): Former fifth-rounder who didn’t take long to make an impression. A fine kick returner when given the chance who would also play over 2,000 snaps on offense, his career was ultimately cut short.
Lance Louis, OL (246th overall pick in 2009): At times was extremely poor, but I’ll take one decent season from a seventh-rounder like Louis had in his 712 snaps on offense in 2012.
Corey Wootton, DL (110th overall pick in 2010): Became a versatile and valuable defensive lineman who could operate at tackle or end. The results were a little inconsistent, but finding a player who could fill so many roles during his 1,614 snaps with the team represents a win.
J’Marcus Webb, OT (219th overall pick in 2010): Life is all about expectations. So while Webb was at times a complete liability, that you can get one semi-decent year out of a seventh-round pick as a starter, needs to be recognized as good value.
0.0: It could have been worse
D.J. Moore, CB (119th overall pick in 2009): Close to a positive, Moore became a handy slot cornerback with a knack for blitzing. But he never developed into more than that and didn’t have the longevity with the team where he played enough to be worth a positive.
Al Afalava, S (190th overall pick in 2009): Would start as a rookie and those 833 snaps ensure he’s not a negative. Still you can’t help but think the team could have gotten more out of him.
Major Wright, S (76th overall pick in 2010): If you just watched 2013 then this would be a lot lower. But before that monstrosity came much better play in both 2011 and throughout 2012. A shame his form plummeted so much, with a woeful front seven really leaving him exposed.
Dan LeFevour, QB (182nd overall pick in 2010): Looked set for a role on their practice squad before the Bengals intercepted him.
Stephen Paea, DT (53rd overall pick in 2011): Jury is still out on Paea who needs to do a little bit more to justify his draft status and to earn the fans’ affections. Very average to date, but hopefully more talent around him will help him kick on.
J.T. Thomas, LB (195th overall pick in 2011): Spent two years with the team before being let go.
Harvey Unga, FB (232nd overall pick in 2011): Used with a 2010 supplemental draft pick, Unga would spend time on roster exemption and the practice squad, yet never see an offensive snap.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Marcus Freeman, LB (154th overall pick in 2009): Rare for a fifth-rounder to get this treatment. Seen as something of a steal, he was cut before the start of his rookie year. In hindsight, you wonder how much this might have had to do with an enlarged heart condition that would see him retire during 2010.
Derek Kinder, WR (251st overall pick in 2009): Released before final cuts, never to play an NFL game.
Joshua Moore, CB (142nd overall pick in 2010): Did not catch on with the team (nor any other despite a spell in Denver).
Chris Conte, S (93rd overall pick in 2011): Has time to right the wrongs (particularly of 2013) but with a -17.7 grade in 2,520 snaps, more is expected out of this former third-round pick.
Nathan Enderle, QB (160th overall pick in 2011): A quarterback who would not make it to the preseason of his sophomore year.
-1.0: What a waste!
Jarron Gilbert, DT (68th overall pick in 2009): Jumping out of a pool doesn’t always translate to NFL talent it turns out. An early third-round pick who would play just 35 snaps, he was in need of some serious development that the Bears were just not prepared to put in to him.
Juaquin Iglesias, WR (99th overall pick in 2009): Couldn’t latch onto a wide receiver group lacking in firepower. That the team would cut ties with him after just two offensive snaps indicates a severe whiffing on this pick.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Gabe Carimi, OT (29th overall pick in 2011): Swing and a miss. Carimi looked the part when he was attacking defenders, but there are few tackles out there who looked as hopeless in pass protection. Needless to say, if you take a lineman in the first round they need to be a competent blocker. Carimi would earn just 1,041 snaps before the team moved on from him.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Here’s a list of every team we’ve covered
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