Ok, so lets review the draft history (Rounds 1-4) of Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith, which began in 2004.
2004: Tommie Harris (1st round), Tank Johnson (2nd), Bernard Berrian (3rd), and Nathan Vasher (4th). Grade—A
2005: Cedric Benson (1st), Mark Bradley (2nd), and Kyle Orton (4th). Grade—C+
2006: Danieal Manning (1st), Devin Hester (2nd), Dusty Dvoracek (3rd), and Jamar Williams (4th). Grade—B+
2007: Greg Olsen (1st), Dan Bazuin (2nd), Garrett Wolfe (3rd), Michael Okwo (3rd), and Josh Beekman (4th). Grade—C and this is based only on Olsen's potential. Bazuin and Okwo were taken several rounds to early by just about everyone else's perceptions and both had an injury history and now, surprise surprise, neither is playing professional football.
2008: Chris Williams (1st), Matt Forte (2nd), Earl Bennett (3rd), and Marcus Harrison (3rd). Grade—A-
So what does all of this tell you? It tells you that Angelo should really just trade our first round picks for either more later picks or for a proven veteran because his track record pretty pathetic.
Chris Williams, no one knows about. Greg Olsen isn't bad, but hasn't been worth the first round pick YET. Cedric was useless the minute Thomas Jones left. Tommie started great, but has had a couple injuries and some questionable motivation recently. Rex was either really good or really bad depending on who you ask. And Danieal Manning still does not really have a position yet other than kick returner.
Heck, lets go back further and look at Angelo's other first round picks. David Terrell? He was just about as useless as Benson. How about Marc Colombo, who destroyed his knee and was cut because Angelo didn't think he would ever recover from it (Colombo is now a starter for the Dallas Cowboys) or even the infamous Michael Haynes. . . nevermind, there is nothing to be said about Michael Haynes.
Here is a list of players still with the Bears who were drafted in the 4th round or later since 2001, which was Angelo's first year (S means they started at least once this season):
Alex Brown (S), Adrian Peterson, Nathan Vasher (S), Kyle Orton (S), Mark Anderson, Josh Beekman (S), Kevin Payne (S), Corey Graham (S), Trumaine McBride, Craig Steltz (S), Zachary Bowman, and Kellen Davis.
Not bad? This list does not include Justin Gage (Titans), Bobby Wade (Vikings), Ian Scott (Chargers), or Chris Harris (Panthers), who were drafted by the Bears and now all four of them made the playoffs with their new teams.
And in terms of evaluating talent and getting the most of it... Mark Bradley went to Kansas City and performed well, Tank Johnson has played solid in the middle of the Cowboys line, hell even Cedric Benson, who played for the Cincinnati Jailbreakers this past year played better. And all four of the players above were either traded or let go with the idea that they were no longer effective. (To be fair, I think Benson is still a useless waste of space)
I know, I know. Bobby Wade muffed punts and Gage got the Mark Bradley treatment and never saw the field, and Ian Scott is not a starter for the Chargers, but it just seems like Angelo and Lovie play favorites.
They think they are being cute by taking these players that did nothing to deserve their selection (for example: Bazuin) or push to the side others who, for whatever reason, landed in their doghouse (Bradley). It is frustrating because pretty soon you can add Rex Grossman to the list of Bear first round picks to be an official bust because he will not be resigned this offseason.
Being cute with fifth round picks or later gets you these players I listed above and a bunch of guys that no one ever heard of, which happens to all teams. But being cute with your first, second and third round picks. . .
. . . it is just depressing. . . Am I wrong?