Depending on whom you listen to the Bears either had a pretty solid draft or they had a horrible one that will set them back for years. Any way you look at it the Bears both did well and didn’t do so well with some of the picks that they made. They went into the draft with some very specific needs and walked away with just some of those needs taken care of.
But you can’t take care of all of your needs in the draft right?
Well you can certainly try but you don’t always get what you need and in the Bears case they didn’t get everything that they needed.
There were some teams that did very well in this year’s draft, took care of all of their needs and positioned themselves to better make the playoffs. Some of those teams that really helped themselves in this draft include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Giants and division rival Detroit.
Those teams filled all or almost all of their need positions and are poised for big seasons in 2011 as a result.Chicago went into this draft with needs at the offensive guard and tackle positions, the defensive tackle position, the cornerback position, the wide receiver position, the outside linebacker position and even the safety position. The Bears managed to take care of needs at four of those needs but only two of them well enough. There is still something to be desired with two of the Bear’s picks (Chris Conte and J.T. Thomas).
The Bears couldn’t have really done much better than they did in the first and second round with the picks that they got. Both Carimi and Paea are going to have excellent careers with the Bears and were very valuable picks.
The other three picks in the draft do leave some questions. Although there are some out there that feel that Conte could eventually replace Chris Harris we must remember that he started only one season at Cal and has great difficulty dropping back and covering receivers. Sure, he can learn how to drop back and cover but if the Bears are looking for guys to play now then Conte was not the guy that they were looking for.
Picking a quarterback in this draft seemed like a stretch and the wrong move at the moment that it happened but in the end this may work out to the Bear’s advantage. With a guy like offensive coordinator Mike Martz available to teach Nathan Enderle (for how long we don’t know though) Enderle could be a serviceable starter and a pretty decent player in the future.
Let’s just hope that the Bears don’t do with Enderle what they did with last year’s draft pick Dan LeFevour and try to stash him on the practice squad only to lose him to another team.
The final pick in the Bear’s draft, J.T. Thomas out of West Virginal, an outside linebacker, left a lot to be desired. You would be hard pressed to find an expert out there that felt that he should have even be drafted. Granted, the Bears drafted a position of need here but did they draft the right player for it?
So what did the Bear’s leave on the table in the draft? They didn’t get the help that they need at the guard position or the center position. With Chris Williams an unknown at guard and Roberto Garza getting older every day the Bears failed to address that position and could leave themselves open to fail here.
With Olin Kreutz no longer as effective as he had been in the past and quite possibly just a couple seasons away from retirement the Bears really needed to get a center in this draft. Amazingly, not too many critics have called the Bears out on this although it remains one of the most serious issues on the team.
There is still a chance that the Bears could possibly find someone in free agency if they are able to participate (due to the final eight rule) or if any good centers get out and are available. If the Bears do not make a move this year then there could be big problems next year.
Chicago also needed some depth at the cornerback position and didn’t do anything to help themselves there. They must figure that they have what they want or could get someone off of the draft scrap heap to fill their needs here.
Wide receiver really wasn’t an option in the early rounds of this draft and the Bears weren’t likely going to take someone later on as they have plenty of players that would be better than a later round wide receiver. The Bears may try to do something here in free agency if they can participate in it and find someone that would be able to be a number one wide receiver.
Could the Bears have done the draft differently? Of course and if they could go back it’s possible that they could do things a little different. This year’s draft was perhaps the most important draft in a long time for any team because of the possibility of there being no free agency and also the fact that this could be a horrible free agency class if indeed it does get going.
Chicago may regret some of the decisions that they made in the draft and may not see the same success that they saw last season as a result.