The time for debate was over. As thousands of Bears fans tuned into the draft, you could feel the suspense with every pick passing. Fans checking to see who was left on the board, cheering each time a team reached on a pick and pushed better players down the board. All the while, Bears fans wondered if Jerry Angelo would trade down, would follow his typical modus operandi, or somehow screw this pick up. Then the unimaginable happened – amidst a snafu with the Baltimore Ravens, word was the Bears were actually trying to trade up.
Of course, trading up didn’t go without a hitch. But initial reports indicate that since no trade was completed, the Bears will not need to give up their 4th round pick. And the original report on that was the Bears were actually trading up to grab Jonathan Baldwin, not Carimi. But removing that drama for a second, one must consider that this is unlike any defense-oriented draft Angelo has presided over.
Consider this – the Bears attempted to trade up when Angelo is known to trade down. The Bears grabbed Carimi, instead of reaching or making a miscue (I firmly believe in this situation, if it was pure Jerry Angelo, he’d have taken either a Defensive Tackle or drafted the less NFL-ready OT Sherrod over Carimi). And if the initial report was to be believed by Schefter, this means the Bears also know they need to upgrade the WR corps.
None of this, based on a review of Angelo’s time here, makes me think Angelo is pulling the strings any further – rather, he is now the front man, who handles the public spotlight, and who handles the organizational structure, which is his strong suit. And Tim Ruskell is leading us on a better direction. Is it putting the cart before the horse based on a single pick? Of course; we’re fans after all. But it also is something deeper for those that look for it.
As far as the pickup of Carimi himself, one listen and you can tell the Bears have someone who is going to bring attitude to the line, someone who is supremely confident in his abilities, and someone who genuinely wants to be in Chicago.
Carimi’s praise for Tice, for the Bears, and for the fans was effuse, and his swagger was on full display in the morning rounds of radio shows before he drives down to Halas Hall for the official presser, and while it was not only refreshing to hear someone bold and confident of his abilities, it also spoke to how this was a very different draft than year’s past.
In the drafts prior, Angelo made it a habit of playing it safe. He didn’t want guys who were cocky, or had personality – maintaining lockerroom cohesion was as important to Angelo as any measurable. But we have a larger than life (literally and figuratively) draft pick now who really speaks the language of Chicago Lore and will be an instant fan favorite off the field as long as he can also produce on it. And the Bears pulled the trigger on this very un-Angelo-like move.
So with round 1 now in the books, we sit and wait to see what the rest of the draft brings us. And we can do so with confidence that the Bears have a new draft trigger man in Ruskell, who has none of Angelo’s hang-ups. This could be the beginning of a new chapter in the Bears and the draft; as long as they don’t screw it up…