Chicago Bears Draft: Hits and Misses of the Jerry Angelo Era

Patrick BouskyCorrespondent IIIApril 20, 2012

Chicago Bears Draft: Hits and Misses of the Jerry Angelo Era

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    Jerry Angelo was a notorious first-round assassin, having only drafted one Pro-Bowler in the first over the course of his decade long tenure as the Chicago Bears general manager.

    When a team drafts a player in the first-round, they expect an immediate starter with hopes of the said player developing into something more, but with the case of Jerry Angelo, that never happened.

    Despite Angelo's lack of success in the first-round he did manage to find a few gems, some may argue future Hall of Famers, outside of the opening round of the draft.

    Taking into account 10 years of drafts, let's take a look at Jerry Angelo's five biggest hits along with his five biggest misses.

Hit: 2003 Draft, 3rd Round—Lance Briggs

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    While Angelo failed with the 2003 first-round pick, he did draft a potential Hall of Famer in Lance Briggs.

    With seven consecutive Pro-Bowls, Briggs has been another addition to the legacy of Chicago Bears' linebackers.  

    It's hard to find another player that was more of a hit than Briggs, who at 31 is still playing at an elite level.

Miss: 2007 Draft, 2nd Round—Dan Bazuin

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    When the Bears drafted the running back who ends this list, two seasons later the Bears traded Thomas Jones away.  

    With the second-round pick acquired from that trade Angelo selected Dan Bazuin, a defensive end out of Central Michigan.

    Beginning his rookie season on IR before the start of the season, Bazuin never even saw the playing field and was released by the Bears the same year he was drafted.

Hit: 2003 Draft, 2nd Round—Charles Tillman

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    In the same draft that Angelo drafted linebacker Lance Briggs, he also selected the Bears starting cornerback of the last nine years, Charles Tillman.

    Despite being only voted to the Pro-Bowl once, Tillman has long been regarded as one of most underrated corners in the NFL, known particularly for his ability to force fumbles.

    For a second-round draft pick, Tillman has worked out exceptionally well for the Bears.

Miss: 2003 Draft, 1st Round—Michael Haynes

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    In the draft that the Chicago Bears had two first-round picks to work with, Angelo managed to goof up both.

    Aside from the picks of Briggs and Tillman,  the 2003 draft was largely wasted with Angelo drafting defensive end Michael Haynes 14th overall.

    Over the course of three seasons with the Bears, Haynes compiled 5.5 sacks.  He was subsequently released, and later signed with the Saints and Jets, both of which released Haynes.  

    He is currently not in the NFL.

Hit: 2004 Draft, 1st Round—Tommie Harris

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    Some may argue with this selection, but you can't deny the fact that prior to his injury, Tommie Harris was a disruptive force on the defensive line.

    Picked with the 14th selection of the 2004 draft, Tommie Harris was elected to three consecutive Pro-Bowls with the Chicago Bears.

    Unfortunately, Harris sustained an injury and was never able to quite back to the Pro-Bowl level he had previously displayed.

Miss: 2002 NFL Draft, 1st Round—Marc Colombo

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    With the 29th selection in the 2002 draft, Angelo selected Marc Colombo from Boston College.

    Despite having all of the physical traits sought after for a left tackle, Colombo was never able to stay uninjured with the Bears, and after three seasons where he resided on the IR list, Colombo was released.

    Though Colombo went on to play football elsewhere, he was a memorable bust for Chicago Bears fans.

Hit: 2006 NFL Draft, 2nd Round—Devin Hester

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    In the 2006 NFL draft, Jerry Angelo selected Devin Hester with the Bears' second-round pick, a choice that was highly criticized around the league with the belief the Bears should have addressed the offense.

    Boy how that worked out.

    Devin Hester has broken return records, been voted to four Pro-Bowls, as well as done something that nobody else has ever done since the start of the Super Bowl era—returned the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl for a touchdown.

    Hester is constantly in discussion in regards to being voted into the Hall of Fame after he retires. Needless to say, this is easily one of Angelo's best picks over the 10 years of drafts.

Miss: 2003 NFL Draft, 1st Round—Rex Grossman

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    Along with Michael Haynes, Jerry Angelo continued the search for a franchise quarterback with the selection of Florida prospect, Rex Grossman.

    After his first three seasons being injury plagued, Rex Grossman finally put together his first full season the year the Chicago Bears went to the Super Bowl where it could be argued that Grossman lost the Bears the game.

    Never being able to play consistently, the Bears eventually released Grossman.  

    He has served as a backup on teams prior to the 2011 season where he was eventually benched after throwing four more interceptions than touchdowns over the course of 13 games.

Hit: 2008 Draft, 2nd Round—Matt Forte

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    The best pick of recent memory from the Angelo era is unquestionably Matt Forte.

    Selected in the second-round of the 2008 draft, Matt Forte became the starter after the fellow on the next slide was released.

    Since his rookie season, Forte has been touted as one of the top backs in the NFL known for his versatility in the passing game, as well as his abilities in pass protection.  

    A fan favorite currently seeking a new contract, here's to hoping Forte is re-signed to a reasonable extension. 

Miss: 2005 NFL Draft, 1st Round—Cedric Benson

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    The most disappointing pick Angelo ever made was by far the University of Texas running back, Cedric Benson.

    Following the drafting of Benson, the Bears traded then running back Thomas Jones after Benson expressed his displeasure of splitting carries.  

    The following season, Benson responded to the faith in him expressed by the Bears organization by posting a rushing average of 3.4 YPC.

    The following offseason, Benson was in trouble with the law multiple times after which the Bears released him.  

    Though Benson went on to experience mild success with the Bengals he was constantly a locker room problem with the Bears and never lived up to the price tag of the fourth overall pick.