3 Reasons Why the Chicago Bears Should Not Draft a DE in the 1st Round.
This isn't the draft to find the salt to compliment our Pepper.
With the 2012 NFL Draft rapidly approaching and with free agency having come and gone, most teams (and fans) have already started to form an idea of what position should be addressed first in the first round. Being an avid Bears fan, I am aware of some of the weak positions we have on our team and also that we did not address those weaknesses via free agency (not talking wide receiver, I, along with all of Chicago, love the Brandon Marshall addition).
Despite these holes, the seemingly unanimous plea is for a defensive end to be drafted with that valuable first round pick. Here are three reasons I disagree with this idea.
Defensive Ends Are Notoriously Difficult to Draft
Robert Ayers makes even Cedric Benson look good. Oh, by the way, he has 4.5 career sacks in 3 seasons...
Since 2005, 31 defensive ends have been drafted in the first round of the draft (this includes the 2011 draft class). Of those 31 defensive ends drafted, only six have made the Pro Bowl. Now, also consider that of those 31, there are more than a few that are playing outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense, but we're considering all people were drafted as defensive ends.
So to recap, 31 defensive ends drafted since 2005 and only six of which have been voted to the Pro Bowl.
I don't know about you, but those odds don't strike me as something worth gambling with when there are other areas of need that could yield suitable starters. (I would like to state that there are three very promising ends drafted last year that could develop into Pro Bowl caliber ends, but they are not there yet.)
Henry Melton Is Developing Well Enough to Wait on Addressing Defensive End
Henry Melton will take huge strides in his second season as a full time starter.
I know, it's pretty painful to watch Israel Idonije fail to reap the benefits of the double and triple teams the monster Julius Peppers warrants, but I am a firm believer that Henry Melton will take huge strides this year.
In his first season as a starter, Melton recorded seven sacks. Of those seven sacks, three were recorded in consecutive weeks during our brush with the AFC West. That happened towards the end of the season when he showed marked improvement.
I believe taking all of this into account, and given a full offseason to work with Rod Marinelli, Melton will come close to double digit sacks and take some of the pressure off of Julius Peppers.
The Line Needs to Be Addressed. Not Later, Now.
I don't know about you, but I am tired of letting him get crushed.
The offensive line has been an issue for too long. Period. Since 2000 the Bears have used three first-round draft picks on the offensive line. One of those picks was Marc Colombo, and we all know how well he worked out. Chris Williams seems to be a competent starter at guard, and Greg Carimi showed flashes of promise before he was lost for the season due to a knee injury during a Week Two contest against the Saints (weird, huh?).
Fact of the matter is, the line needs to be fixed. The Bears need to stop putting it off and accept that until we protect our franchise quarterback we sold two of our drafts for, he simply will not reach his full potential.
There are a number of quality guards in this draft, and given that's not as large of a need as a left tackle, any help on our line would be beneficial. Ideally, if a potential starter at left tackle is available at pick 19, the Bears need to draft him.