2011 NFL Draft Winners: Chicago Bears
I’ll admit I wavered a bit before writing this post. Not because I didn’t think the Chicago Bears had a good draft, but because I regularly cover all things Bears on Windy City Gridiron, so I needed to give myself some time to really let their draft sink in before I made the decision to include them in my series on winning draft hauls. I gave it some time and thoroughly researched their picks, and I can honestly say I’m more optimistic now than I was after the draft.
I had to treat the Bears draft like I did the others I looked at, which was hard because I’m so close to to the situation. I couldn’t look at who I thought they should have selected, but only at the actual players drafted. The draft isn’t about what should’ve or could’ve been, it’s about what was done. The Bears drafted two immediate starters in the 1st two rounds and added some depth with their other 3 picks.
I could care less about the botched trade that went down between them and the Ravens. Chicago GM Jerry Angelo made a mistake. A mistake made by other GMs in the league, and a similar mistake made by Baltimore’s GM Ozzie Newsome a few years prior. Stuff happens. Get over it.
The Bears were fortunate Gabe Carimi fell to them in the 1st round. The Outland Trophy winning left tackle from Wisconsin should get a shot to compete to play the left side in Chicago, but he’ll more than likely be a day one starter at right tackle. An upgrade on both lines was a critical need going into the draft and they addressed the defensive side by trading up.
Moving up to get Stephen Paea was out of character for Angelo. He’s not know for his aggressiveness on draft day. The strong as an ox, defensive tackle Paea should start at the 3-technique right away. Strength isn’t his only asset, although he is one of the strongest players ever to enter the NFL, but he has a quick burst off the line and a motor that never quits.
The third round pick of safety Chris Conte is where I was right along with every Bears fan watching the draft in giving a collective, ‘Who?’, followed by a ‘what about receiver, or o-line, or corner’, then followed by a ‘typical Jerry Angelo’, but I took some time… researched the kid… and now realize he’ll bring solid and much needed depth to the safety position, and could be a potential starter at some point.
Fifth round QB Nathan Enderle garnered a similar reaction to that of the Conte pick. But, a developmental QB was needed for the roster. And 6th rounder J.T. Thomas looks the part of a prototypical Tampa 2 outside linebacker. With only two LBs currently signed to the ’11 roster for the Bears, this pick serves a need. Thomas is an athletic, hustle guy, that is known for his hard work. I think he has a legit shot at pushing for playing time at strong side linebacker as a rookie.
Here are the links to the other Winning Drafts I looked at:
New Orleans Saints
New England Patriots
For a more in depth look at the Chicago Bears draft click here.