Posts tagged ‘Grades’
by Sean - posted Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
I provide you with my pick by pick breakdown and grade of the Bears 2008 draft. I have initially stated that I found the draft underwhelming, but that by no means makes it a bad draft. While it appears to be a draft that lacks in explosiveness, Angelo seemed to make up for that by landing a lot of quality players who should find ways to contribute.
Pick 1 (Round 1): C. Williams LT, Vanderbilt
The start of the first round really could not have worked out better for the Bears. Williams pretty much fell into their laps, and it’s an incredible blessing considering some scouts had him ranked as the #2 LT in this draft class. Williams should proved a huge boost the line by sliding in at LT and allowing a health John Tait to take over at RT. He’s got a strong track record against SEC opponents and has outstanding size and lateral movement. Ideally he fits here for many years to come
Pick 2 (Round 2): M. Forte RB, Tulane
The selection of Forte here has been criticized because many feel he is too similar to Benson. Both are larger backs who run with power and lack elite top end speed, but that is where the parallels seem to end. The biggest difference between the two is Forte’s ability to locate the hole. He’s a one cut runner who identifies the hole and then hits it hard. Additionally he has solid hands and is a solid blocker who can stay in on 3rd down. I really think Angelo see’s Forte as a bigger version of Thomas Jones and if Forte possess enough quickness to get around the edge (his biggest question mark) than I think this is a steal.
Pick 3 (Round 3): E. Bennett WR, Vanderbilt
A smart, quick route runner. He’s been compared by Mel Kiper to Hines Ward, but I wonder if that’s really a good thing. At 5’11”/209 he seems to have the necessary strength but there are concerns about his ability to get separation. His 4.48 40 seems to indicate good enough top end speed, but he seems to lack the quickness and second gear to make plays in space. That aside Bennett was one of the most productive WR in SEC history and should fit right into the slot position.
Pick 4 (Round 3): M. Harrison DT, Arkansas
I am really not sure how to approach this pick. On one end Harrison is a lighting quick pass rusher, huge but not really powerful and seemingly a perfect back up and insurance policy for Tommie Harris. On the other hand ha has already had serious drug related problems with law. So I wonder if this guy is Dustin Dvoracek or Tank Johnson. If he’s Tank then it’s a waste of a 3rd round pick who’s never going to make a serious impact. If he’s Dustin then he’s a steal who can spell Harris and potentially provide long-term security at the 3-technique.
Pick 5 (Round 4): C. Steltz S, LSU
The Bears need at S was pretty evident all of last year and I think Steltz can come in and help address that need. He’s probably destined to be a ST standout for now, but he plays with great instincts and an extremely high motor. Most importantly, while he doesn’t have great speed he is very adept in run support and is supposed to be an excellent blitzer. Those are two qualities that were desperately missing from the position after Mike Brown went down in the opener. Who knows, we could see him paired with Danieal Manning sooner than we think.
Pick 6 (Round 5): Z. Bowman CB, Nebraska
In the pass happy NFL landing guys like Bowman and Trumaine McBride are esstential for keeping up on defense. Bowman is a freakish athlete at CB, great blend of size (6’0”) and speed (4.38). There is a lot to be concerned about with his history of knee injuries. Also Bowman transferred to Nebraska out of junior college so his experience against high level competition is limited. For now his athleticism should be on full display on ST, in the future he could combine with McBride, Tillman, and Vasher to make amongst the best CB groups in the NFL.
Pick 7 (Round 5): K. Davis TE, Michigan State
Huge kid at 6’6”/262 and he runs pretty well for that size at 4.6. Both of those should make him an immediate redzone threat. However, despite that size Davis has yet to develop into a solid blocker and that will be an important evolution as he tries to make the roster as a 3rd TE. Davis was also flagged for character problems because of misdemeanor assault charges in ’06 and he was suspended by MSU for 4 games. In a best case scenario he’s Clark’s eventual replacement, but this pick just strikes me as more potential than actual
Pick 8 (Round 7): E. Baldwin DE, Michigan State
Good rush end. He only played 2 years at MSU showing promise, had good combine, and is the Spartan single season sack record holder. He’s really a typical Bears type end who likes to get around the end and make plays in the backfield. However, holding up against the run is the issue and I don’t really know where he fits on the roster. The Bears already have 3 DE (Brown, Ogunleye, Anderson) last year’s 2nd round pick (Bazuin) and the flexibility to move Idonije to the outside. I don’t see them carrying 5 DE so if he’s going to make the team someone has to get cut, that’s why I’m down on this pick
Pick 9 (Round 7): C. Adams OG, Georgia
The Bears continue to show their value of big school and conference players late in the draft with Adams. The Bears desperately need depth at G so it should give Adams a decent chance of making the team. Has ideal size at 6’4”/320, but has been tagged with the dreaded “doesn’t play as big as his size suggests”. He’s about as good as you can do this late and hopefully some work at the NFL level can increase his punch and drive.
Pick 10 (Round 7): J. LaRocque OLB, Oregon St
Very typical undersized OLB prospect for the Bears. Has a reputation of being instinctive and productive despite his athletic deficiencies. Really doesn’t have much of a chance to make the team except as a ST player, so his effort will be the key to his success on the next level.
Pick 11 (Round 7): K. Barton OT, Ohio St
Barton defines the lunch pail mentality when it comes to offensive linemen. Scouts Inc had this to say, “Barton is very tough and experienced. He almost always finds a way to get the job done. The problem is that his athletic deficiencies are going to show up at the NFL level.” He is stiff and slow right now which probably means he’ll eventually have to move inside, but there is always room for guys who work hard.
Pick 12 (Round 7): M. Monk WR, Arkansas
Monk intrigues me more than any other Bears pick outside of Forte. He would’ve been a much higher pick 2 years ago, but a knee injury derailed his senior season. He sort of reminds me (at least in body size) of a Plaxico Burress, and really has decent speed. The questions will be his explosiveness coming off the injury and if he can create separation. I really think he’s going to make the team and could be a big surprise this year.
The Bears again added a lot of depth and might have found some contributors in the late rounds. Williams was pretty much a consensus pick so there are no problems there. However, a lot will come down to the impact Bennett and Forte make. Both have enough warning signs that you could see them being non-factors, but if each does make a big impact at his position than this was a great draft. The biggest problem was the lack of obvious “big play” potential players picked up here, but personally I’ll be happy if Forte can just grind out about 4 yards per carry.
Overall Grade: B-
by Sean - posted Saturday, January 12th, 2008
Well mercifully the 2007 season came to a close. It ended about 3 or 4 weeks earlier than most of us expected but at least the torture is over. Looking back with some perspective has only proved more frustrating for me personally. It was a year with so many missed opportunities, so many games that should’ve been won. There were still plenty of heart pounding moments, and Devin Hester is still ridiculous, but if it doesn’t get you to the playoffs it doesn’t really matter.
Offense—D : Considering the carousel at Quarterback it’s impressive the Bears scored as many points as they did. Then again there is no excuse for a “running team” to average 3.4 yards per carry for an entire season. There are too many frustrations to go into but for some personal therapy I am going to list a few: Rex throwing into double coverage, Mushin Muhammad, Benson falling down on his own, Brian Griese “protecting the football”, Hester’s “involvement”, Fred Miller pretending to block, dropped passes, Greg Olson’s “involvement”, and Kyle Orton not being able to find a razor blade. Whew… ok I feel a lot better now. Looking towards the off-season the Bears need a lot of help. Orton will be in the discussion but I doubt he’s the solution, who else can we bring in? Berrian is likely to walk and Moose is past his prime (putting it lightly) so we need something at WR and for Bradley and Hester to step up big in the offseason. Benson got hurt the moment he finally showed some promise and Peterson and Wolfe are both 3rd down backs so we should be looking 2nd or 3rd round for some competition like Steve Slaton or Ray Rice. And as for the offensive line… just a major overhaul. Fred Miller and Ruben Brown both need to go and probably will or be reduced to backups. Then somehow, by some unforeseen miracle, Ron Turner is going to keep his job. This team must be able to run the ball. Our running game probably cost us 3 wins this season and even more than the Quarterback situation that MUST be fixed.
Defense—C+: Amazingly enough even with how bad we played I almost gave them a B-. I guess perhaps my judgment was initially clouded by our improved play the last 3 weeks. Then I remembered this laundry list: Adrian Peterson’s 224 yards, letting Eli Manning engineer a game winning drive, giving up 34 fourth quarter points to Detroit, losing to Tavaris Jackson TWICE!, allowing six 100 yard rushers, giving up 30+ points five times, and losing to Todd FREAKING Collins. Again, I feel better but not by much. I give these guys a lot of slack for the injuries they endured. At one point Bob Babich’s defense was a complete shell of itself. Still that does not justify the above list. The loss of Mike Brown does not excuse Adam Archuleta and Danieal Manning’s in ability to tackle. That aside some guys did have outstanding seasons. Charles Tillman was a beast and should’ve been a Pro Bowler. Adewale Ogunleye had his best season in Chicago and was downright dominant at times. Tommy Harris managed 8 sacks on one leg. And Lance Briggs proved to be worth every penny of the franchise tag. The pieces for a dominant unit are still there. Harris needs his sidekick, Dvoracek, to stay healthy. Jamar Williams need to prove to be a competent replacement for Briggs. Vasher needs to come back at 100%. And we need a safety who can actually make a tackle, but compared to list of needs on offense this unit really isn’t all that far away. It’ll be interesting to see if Mike Brown comes back and how much of their resources they can afford to put into this defense. But just with a little better luck on the injury front this group should be a lot better next year.
Special Teams—B+: This is the hands down, no doubt, no argument, not even a discussion best part of this team. Unlike the other 2 phases of the game this is one the Bears not only won but routinely dominated. Hester was somehow even more ridiculous managing to take back 6 kicks for TDs even with how much teams were trying to stay away from him. Maynard had another solid season and in my opinion could’ve warranted a trip to Hawaii simply for how he handled the weather in the second Packers game. But there were some things that we not as good. Gould had a good but not great season and missed some makable field goals. And most glaring of course were the coverage units. Our punt unit it was outstanding again but we gave up too many big kickoff returns, including one to Adrian Peterson that cost us a victory. But even with those negatives this was by far the most fun part of the team to watch and grade.
So there you have it. Some final thoughts on a completely unfulfilling season.