It’s difficult to grade a draft right after it happens and the general rule is that it takes three years to get a good idea of how a draft has worked out.
So, as the lockout continues and fans of the Chicago Bears as well as all of football continue to have their passion for football let’s take a look at the Bear’s draft from 2008 and how it’s graded out.
Round 1, Pick 14: Chris Williams-OT-Vanderbilt-Williams came to the Bears with a back injury that caused him to miss the first part of the season. He saw some moderate success in his second season with the Bears but in 2010, after he went out for a few games with an injury, the team brought him back and tried him out at guard.
The jury is still out on how he has performed at the guard position so far and what his future is with the team will be. He certainly hasn’t lived up to the expectations that he was drafted for and hasn’t had a good career so far.
Round 2, Pick 13-Matt Forte-RB-Tulane-The Bears needed someone to help improve their running game after their experiment with Cedric Benson failed so they brought in Forte and he delivered. Forte had a strong rookie season but lost a step or two in his second season with the Bears and wasn’t as productive.
But he wasn’t that healthy in 2009 and that had a direct effect on his performance. Forte did come back with a vengeance in 2010, had an outstanding season and established himself as one of the better running backs in the NFL.
Round 3, Pick 7-Earl Bennett-WR-Vanderbilt-The Bears had felt that they had gotten a strong possession type wide receiver and while he has shown some flashes he hasn’t shown the overall consistency that the team would like to see. Bennett has had some problems staying healthy as well as absorbing the new playbook and has struggled at times in his first three seasons with the Bears.
Bennett is getting better acclimated to the offense and did show some flashes of ability in 2010 but needs to have a better 2011 season in order to stay with the team and not be labeled a bust.
Round 3, Pick 27-Marcus Harrison-DT-Arkansas-Remember when the Bear’s brass told everyone that they had really gotten a first round talent in the third round? Remember when Harrison started out his career well only to virtually fall off the face of the earth? Harrison has had plenty chances but just hasn’t been able to cut it.
This will probably be the last training camp that Harrison gets to participate in with the Bears unless he picks his play and shows the coaching staff something he hasn’t been able to do since joining the team.
Round 4, Pick 21-Craig Steltz-LSU-The Bears felt that they got a hard hitting safety that could eventually work his way into a starting role. Steltz has seen some action during his career with the Bears but just hasn’t been able to crack the starting lineup and maintain a starting spot.
He does have some value as a special teamer but with the Bears drafting Chris Conte at the safety position in the 2011 NFL Draft, he may be headed out of Chicago.
Round 5, Pick 7-Zachary Bowman-CB-Nebraska-The Bears held Bowman in high regard when he was drafted and the coaching staff liked him early on in his career. He did struggle with injuries to start his time in Chicago and missed some time in his first year with the team but the coaching staff really liked him.
He began the 2010 season as a starter but ended up on the bench and in the doghouse because of his inability to defend against the run. He should get a shot to win his starting job back in training camp and will most likely get to stay with the team at least one more season due to their lack of depth at the cornerback position.
Round 5, Pick 23-Kellen Davis-TE-Michigan State-While Davis has not had a spectacular career with the Bears he has had some good moments and has become an important part of the team. He’s never going to develop into a full time starter but does give the Bears another option at the tight end spot.
Davis should remain with the Bears for at least this one last season but may not be back afterwards if he can’t improve his blocking skills.
Round 7, Pick 1: Ervin Baldwin-Michigan State-Baldwin became sort of a cult hero for Bears fans but didn’t see much action with the Bears. He is currently not with any team.
Round 7, Pick 15-Chester Adams-OG-Georgia-Adams really didn’t do much when he was with the Bears and was off the team in short order.
Round 7, Pick 3-Joey LaRocque-LB-Oregon State-The Bears didn’t get much out of LaRocque except for some play on special teams but what more can you expect out of a seventh round pick.
Round 7, Pick 40-Kirk Barton-OT-Ohio State-Chicago made some late round offensive line picks in 2008 that didn’t pan out and Barton was one of those picks.
Round 7, Pick 41-Marcus Monk-WR-Arkansas-Monk had some major injury problems coming into the draft and he didn’t do anything with the Bears.
This draft was a nice draft for the Bears at the top with Forte and Bennett but the jury is still out on Williams. If Williams doesn’t succeed this season then he can probably be considered a bust. Bowman needs a strong comeback this season in order to not only give this draft a better grade but also to save his job.
Chicago didn’t really see any production from their later round picks but for the most part, later round picks are less likely to pan out.
This draft is still open to being graded but for the number of players that are still with the Bears and how they have performed it’s easy to give them a preliminary grade.
Overall Grade: C+
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