Chicago Bears 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2012

Chicago Bears 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

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    Welcome to the 2012 NFL draft. I'm going to be LIVE at Radio City Music Hall to cover this event for the third year in a row. It's always a good time, and I highly recommend you make the pilgrimage to see at least the first round once.

    During all three days of the draft, I'll be here updating this slideshow with the latest and greatest Bears info and analysis. We'll have picks, we'll have rumors, we'll laugh, we'll cry and we'll learn an important lesson in the end.

    So keep it locked here at the NFC North blog for all your Bears updates—as well as the updates for the whole NFC North.

    Follow me on Twitter as well for real-time reaction and any links to radio or video I do.

Day One Recap

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    DAY ONE RECAP

    The Bears quietly waited and got their guy with little muss or fuss. While McClellin was a bit of a shock, he's a great defensive end pick to go across from Peppers or a good OLB candidate to learn from Briggs.

    I don't expect much noise here in Day Two, at least not from the Bears. They are playing it cool and doing their own thing.

    So far, so good.

     

    6pm - We're just a short time from the first pick, and it's quiet.

    Really, the Bears are in a good spot, and it's unlikely (though not impossible) they will trade up.

    Anything I hear will be posted on this slideshow or on Twitter—and really, probably both.

    So come on back as we approach the Bears' first pick, and we'll try not to make Jay grimace with bad humor again!

Round 1, Pick 19: Shea McClellin, LB/DE Boise State

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    An interesting pick. With Briggs, Urlacher and Peppers on the roster this doesn't particularly fill a need.  But, if you subscribe to the draft-the-best-player-available draft theory this was a solid pick for Chicago. 

    Still, he's got the potential to be a great player.

    I did a piece on him not long ago, and here are some highlights (you can read the whole thing here):

    The Good

    McClellin is a big, well-built prospect who shows an explosive first step, whether playing with his hand in the dirt or while standing up. He played at a ton of different spots for Boise—both standing up and with his hand down, coming from the outside or blitzing inside.

    He has the speed to threaten off the edge from the outside, and coupled with his explosive first step and instinctive timing of the snap count, he could be a terror on the attack.......

    The Bad

    He can get a bit upright at times, which costs him leverage, and in those instances I saw him have to fight much harder to get off the blocks he faced. His balance and strength often helped him overcome it at the collegiate level, but that probably won't fly in the pros.

    I mentioned seeing him try to go around blocks, and when he does, he sometimes gets moved out of the play completely, spending more time avoiding the block than getting to the ball or quarterback.....

    The Lowdown

    There's very little to dislike with McClellin. He has a tremendous motor, can get to the quarterback and is ferocious against both the run and pass.

    If you stop him one way, he will find another way to beat you on the next snap. And if you stifle him for a series, he comes back the next series with twice as much intensity.

    I don't think this is a need pick, but it's BPA pick. I like it. Not a perfect pick but potentially very good.

    Grade: B+

     PS - Russ Lande just tweeted he could see McClellin as a DE paired with Peppers.

McClellin Interview

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    Unfortunately I missed McClellin's presser because the Packers were on the board and I was trying to update that slideshow (which wouldn't work right) and then the Vikings traded back into the first.

    I talked to several press members who all said he came across as very solid, a smart guy and ready to go.

    By the way he only had two concussions-one serious one in 2010 and one minor one. He changed helmets and then no more issues.

    The transcript is AWOL on the NFL media site so as soon as I get it, I'll post it here.

Round 2, #45: Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina

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    I like this pick, although there are some questions about Jeffrey. B/R's Matt Miller will say this is a steal, I'm less sure.

     

    Russ Lande of the Sporting News wrote in his GMJr Draft Guide:

    STRONG POINTS

    He has tremendous size & arm length to consider for the position at the NFL level. He is an outstanding overall athlete for a man of his size. He has very good agility, body control, & balance as a route-runner. He shows tremendous strength in his release against man-to-man coverage & in his run-after-catch ability. He has soft hands with great extend to snare the ball out of the air. He shows good competitiveness for the ball in tight coverage. He has exceptional production at the college level.

     WEAKNESSES

    He has a higher-cut, longer-legged frame with very average burst, suddenness, or elusiveness for the position at the next level. He will have trouble running some routes due to his struggles in dropping his hips & coming out of his breaks quickly. He has trouble playing low enough to sustain his run blocks on the perimeter at times. He has no return value to consider for special teams

    At this point, this is a good pick-maybe a great pick. I don't love Jeffery, but he can catch the ball, is fast for his size and is elusive after the catch.

    45th overall? Works for me.

    Grade: B+

Round 3, #79-Brandon Hardin, FS, Oregon State

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    Several things are always sure bets.

    Death.

    Taxes.

    The Bears select a safety at some point in a Draft.

    Forty-fifth time's the charm!

    This depends on what they ask of Hardin. If they want him as safety to stay home in the box and support the run, great. You want man coverage, not so great. Zone, great.

    Good special teams player as well.

    Late in the third, I think this is a solid pick and it's even better that you can step him into special teams—always a good thing as the draft moves on.

    Wes Bunting of the National Football Post had this to say about him:

    A tall, physically put together kid with a strong looking frame. Looks the part more of a safety than corner at this stage. Plays primary on the boundary and displays a natural feel for the game in zone with a passion when asked to come up and play the run. Reads and reacts quickly to plays, keeps his head on a swivel and recognizes his run/pass keys. Takes good angles toward the football in pursuit vs. the run game, is a sound wrap-up guy who displays natural power and can create a snap into contact. Has the physicality to set the edge as well and works hard to shed blocks.

    So far, the Bears are having a good draft. They're hitting their needs pretty hard.

    Hopefully this is the safety that sticks!

    Grade: B

Round 4, #111-Evan Rodriguez, TE, Temple

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    This pick is chiefly a special teams pick, as Rodriguez is a bit of a tweener-he can run, he can block, he can catch. He does them all well, but not exceptionally.

    His versatility is attractive and the Bears will plop him in early on in his career as a sort of Chris Cooley-light, which isn't a bad thing here in the 4th.

    There are a lot of talented wide receivers on the board though. Here's another case of the Bears picking the guy they like and to heck with the rest of us.

    If nothing else, Emery is stamping his seal on this draft. They like who they like and they get him when they feel value is best served.

    That's worked for the Pats (which Emery wants to emulate) and the Packers so it's not a bad way.

    Here's what Wes Bunting of National Football Post had to say:

    A thickly put together athlete with a muscular upper body and lower trunk. Carries his weight well though and is surprisingly very fluid for his size. Possesses impressive overall range, coordination and athletic ability for a 6-2, 250-pound athlete. He showcases natural fluidity in the hips and a natural burst when asked to pull inside from his H-back position. Is quick to get his feet around and seal as a tight end, and is a "plus" athlete for his size with the football in his hands.

    ......

    Now, he isn't asked to line-up often as a traditional lead back, but when asked to pull around and lead on plays from his H-back spot he's very coordinated on the move, takes good angles and despite not having the elite "hammer" ability into contact at this stage, he still showcases the natural explosive, pad level and hand usage to certainly develop more "pop" if asked to play consistently as a lead guy in the NFL.

     Grade: B-

FINAL GRADE

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    I thought, for the lack of picks, the Bears did an overall solid job. No offensive line though?

    That may be something they aren't worried about, but they should be.

    McClellin, Jeffrey and Hardin are solid. Rodriguez is intriguing. They needed a tackle though.

    It's not a big ding, but it cost them a half grade.

    Grade: B-