With the NFL Draft just two weeks away, I thought I'd look at the Chicago Bears past few drafts, just like I did with the Eagles bellow.
1997: No First Round Pick (Rick Mirer trade)
This draft killed the Bears. Meyer sucked. Walter Jones was picked where they were to draft (he'd be awesome still today at OT). They missed out on guys like Gonzalez and Dunn in the first round. And then drafted John Allred, who naturally for a Bears TE sucked. In the third round they picked up Bob Sapp, who may or may not be the guy that does the ultimate fighting in Japan. And the fourth round saw them bring in the likes of Darnell Autry and Marcus Robinson. Okay, so Robinson wasn't a complete waste, but he only had one nice year for the Bears. Van Hiles? Shawn Swayda? Mike Miano? Marvin Thomas? Really what was going on in the Bears war room on these days? Did they leave Wanny in alone or something?
GRADE - D- (only because Bob Sapp turned out to be the same Bob Sapp that won the IWGP World Heavyweight title from Kensuke Sasaki on March 28, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan.)
Now the 1998 draft, a draft I remember because we were playing a baseball game deep on the South Side by the lake and I wanted the Bears to draft Moss... At #5 the Bears took Curtis Enis (just add a P to the beginning of his name and that pretty much explains how he did with the Bears).
6 St. Louis - Wistrom, Grant
7 New Orleans - Turley, Kyle
8 Dallas - Ellis, Greg
9 Jacksonville - Taylor, Fred RB
10 Baltimore - Starks, Duane
So yeah, it would have been nice to get Taylor instead of Enis, but while Taylor has been a much better player, he always seems to be hurt (though hasn't he basically stayed healthy the last two years?) Injuries hurt Enis more than anything else, he wasn't a top 5 pick, but he wasn't a total bust (then again maybe I'm just saying that because we're talking about the Bears). Yes I am. The Bears would have been about twenty-three times better off with Taylor. Turley is insane, Ellis hasn't made an impression on me, and Winstrom is a tad overrated. While all those guys could have helped, it's the guys that followed Tra Thomas, Takeo Spikes, and Moss who the Bears really missed out on.
In the second round they picked up Tony Parrish who was a nice player for a few years. The biggest prize came in the third round in Kreutz. But who can forget Alonzo Mayes in the fourth round... has there ever been a player that I was more happy in the Bears drafting (first round talent they said)? I don't think so. Too bad he sucked and did something really stupid a few years later, what I don't remember.
GRADE - B-
1999: #12 Cade McNown
13 Pittsburgh - Edwards, Troy
14 Kansas City - Tait, John
15 Tampa Bay - McFarland, Anthony
16 Tennessee - Kearse, Jevon
17 New England - Woody, Damien
#50 Tampa Bay - King, Shaun QB
This draft killed the Bears because they blew their first round pick. They traded down and 'got the guy they wanted' but in the process missed out on Culpepper. Who knows if Philly would have traded up with them, but I remember everyone in the City wanting them to trade up to get McNabb. Amazingly, Tait has helped the Bears more than Cade, and everyone on that list, expect the bust Edwards, would have been a million times better than McNown. In the second round they got Russell Davis. They got Rex Tucker in the third round a good pick, too bad he's still hurt. D'Wayne Bates also came in the third round, also an okay pick. They picked up Marty Booker in the third round, who was very good for a number of years and then turned into Adewale Ogunleye. Overall a great pick, not only was Booker very good with the Bears, they turned him into a good player a few years later. Warrick Holdman came in the fourth round, another good pick. Too bad the first two sucked so much and Cade put this team back five years (and winning in 2001 didn't help).
GRADE - C- (just think if they didn't draft Cade how great that draft would have been?)
2000: #9 Brian Urlacher
10 Baltimore - Taylor, Travis
11 N.Y. Giants - Dayne, Ron
12 N.Y. Jets - Ellis, Shaun
13 N.Y. Jets - Abraham, John
14 Green Bay - Franks, Bubba
28) Indianapolis Morris, Rob MLB
This worked out well for the Bears. And they got Brown in the second round, who has been fantastic. Dez White in the third round was a good pick that didn't really work out as some expected. Reggie Austin didn't help us that much in the fourth round. But landing Urlacher was huge, he has been the center piece of a defense that, though up and down at times, has been much better than the offense. While Urlacher is a bit overrated, he’s still probably the second best middle linebacker in the NFL. A superstar no doubt. Hard to feel bad about a draft when you land a superstar.
GRADE - A-
2001: #8 David Terrell
9 Seattle - Robinson, Koren WR
10 Green Bay - Reynolds, Jamal
11 Carolina - Morgan, Dan
12 St. Louis - Lewis, Damione
13 Jacksonville - Stroud, Marcus
No real miss here when you look back. Even the next two WR off the board Gardner and S. Moss aren't anything to write home about and would have sucked with the Bears. In fact you could argue that Robinson is just as big as a bust as Robinson. Stroud would be a nice player to have now, but Morgan would have no use on this team. The A-Train in the second round was a good pick and helped them in that miracle season. It's too bad that he wasn't able to play like he did that rookie season (rookie of the year remember on the offensive side of the ball), Gandy came in the third round and wasn't bad filling in nicely when needed. Karon Riley didn't pan out in the fourth round.
GRADE - B-
Anyway, on to 2002:
After the miracle season the Bears got stuck at 29 taking Marc Colombo.
30 Pittsburgh - Simmons, Kendall
31 St. Louis - Thomas, Robert
32 Washington - Ramsey, Patrick
END OF FIRST ROUND
33 Houston - Gaffney, Jabar
34 Carolina - Foster, De'Shaun
Injury problems have been Colombo's biggest problem. And Simmons would have a much better pick up even though he is a guard. I see a lot of Rex in Ramsey, but whatever. The Bears traded their 2nd round pick passing up on Antonio Bryant (who the 'boys picked there) and Deion Branch. They ended up moving up in the 3rd round and got Roosevelt Williams. Terrance Metcalf came later in the round. Metcalf has been average at best and Williams lasted one year. But the real gem of this draft was Alex Brown in the 4th round. A great pick. The other rounds were blah. A weird draft in that they traded their second round pick, but didn't pass up anyone amazing. Their first round pick just didn't work out, but they did get Brown.
Grade - C-
2003 (Bears traded out of the #4 slot and ended up with two first round picks)
Michael Haynes (14) and Rex Grossman (22):
4 NY Jets - Dewayne Robertson
5 Dallas - Terence Newman
6 New Orleans (from Arizona) - Johnthan Sullivan
7 Jacksonville - Byron Leftwich
8 Carolina - Jordan Gross
15 Philadelphia - Jerome McDougle
16 Pittsburgh - Troy Polamalu
17 Arizona - Bryant Johnson
18 Arizona - Calvin Pace
19 Baltimore - Kyle Boller
23 Buffalo - Willis McGahee
24 Indianapolis - Dallas Clark
25 NY Giants - William Joseph
26 San Francisco - Kwame Harris
27 Kansas City - Larry Johnson
I'm not sure what to make of this draft. They could have had Leftwich at #4. But they might have lucked out on passing on Robertson since Tommie Harris (2004 first round pick) seems like a stud. The question is, was moving down and passing on Leftwich worth picking up Haynes? Considering that McDougel went right after Haynes and he's done little to nothing thus far for the Brids besides being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, I'll call it a wash. Haynes did show some signs, but he doesn't seem to be a first round pick. Polamalu would have almost made the deal worth it, but who knows. The picks that followed Grossman don't seem like anything the Bears missed out on. In the second round they scored Tillman, a huge pick up. The third round brought in Lance Briggs, another great pick. Todd Johnson came in the 4th round, not bad value wise. And Ian Scott came in the 4th too, another great pick.
GRADE - B (The later round picks yielded three starters, not bad. But Haynes hasn't done much of anything (they traded for another end after a year) and Grossman... the jury is still out. Leftwich would probably be a better pick than Grossman, but again, time will have to tell. Also of note, if they don't do the deal, they don't get Ian Scott).