The Anti-Mock Draft: Players the Chicago Bears Should Avoid in the Draft
Had enough of mock drafts?
Can I interest you in an "anti-mock draft"?
(OK, I admit I made that term up.)
This doesn't mean I'm against mock drafts. Rather, the "anti-mock draft" will give you a player the Bears should NOT take in each round of the draft.
With all the speculation over who the Bears could or should take, no one has mentioned which prospects they should pass on.
If Bears GM Phil Emery takes these guys, then it would be a literal "mock draft"—as in "laugh at us draft".
And these are not picks that are bad because they are simply nonsensical. In other words, I'm not going to say "In the first round, a bad Bears pick would be sixth-round quarterback prospect Kellen Moore." Nor would I say something like, "In the third round, the Bears take first-round offensive tackle Mike Adams."
Who wants to read inane blather like that?
No, these picks will be guys realistically slotted in their projected round, who the Bears could reasonably have available to them and who the Bears might be interested in from a positional standpoint.
But these picks will be bad because I project these prospects to be busts.
So who are these bums?
1. Stephen Hill
There is a contingent of Bears fans who desperately want the team to take Stephen Hill.
After all, Hill had a monster combine, and he has superstar potential.
And Hill advocates say his lack of collegiate production was simply a by-product of Georgia Tech's offense, not Hill's lack of ability.
Those would all be true statements.
But the fact remains that Hill's experience in college did not prepare him to be a polished receiver entering the NFL. Whoever drafts Hill will have to coach him up and teach him the nuances of the position, expanding his route tree, refining his sloppy route-running and improving his catching ability since he had some issues with drops in 2011.
Bears head coach Lovie Smith—a defensive-minded coach—and receivers coach Darryl Drake have never had a 1,000 yard receiver in Chicago.
No bigger indictment of their ability to coach up a receiver exists than Devin Hester. The experiment to turn the elite return man into a top receiver—a la Carolina's Steve Smith—has been a big bust.
Johnny Knox likewise has failed to be anything more than a one-trick pony on the field. Knox still runs sloppy routes and too often rounds off or shortcuts a route that directly results in an interception.
The Bears have been unable to develop receivers, so they'd be better off taking a polished receiver who doesn't need much coaching—someone like Michael Floyd (who is expected to be long gone before No. 19 overall) or Kendall Wright.
I don't expect Hill to be a bust in the NFL—unless he's picked by the Bears.
Honorable mention: offensive tackle Mike Adams.
2. CB Alfonzo Dennard
The Bears need a cornerback.
Just don't make it Alfonzo Dennard.
Dennard has good hands, is excellent in press coverage and has a great burst that allows him to make up separation.
Too bad he's not consistent enough to warrant a second-round pick.
Throughout Senior Bowl week, Dennard made the occasional nice play but was also often beaten by last-day wide receivers.
That kind of inconsistency is a red flag for such a high pick.
One site even referred to Dennard as the cornerback version of Vontaze Burfict.
Then there's Dennard's assualt on a police officer, revealing maturity issues.
Dennard may get his act together and become a solid pro. But there's also the chance that his performance in Mobile was not a fluke—and that's not a chance the team should take in the second round when other talented corners are available.
3. OT Zebrie Sanders
The Bears need an offensive tackle.
But I hope it's either Jeff Allen or Donald Stephenson, and not Zebrie Sanders.
Sanders is athletic and an aggressive run blocker who has played both left and right tackle in college.
Unfortunately, he struggles in pass protection. And as far as the Bears are concerned, pass protection is far more in need of an upgrade than run blocking, making Sanders a liability.
Sanders has difficulty against the bull rush and is unable to contain speed rushers off the edge.
Just to emphasize: not a good combination.
He also struggles when blocking in space and can appear lost at times about who to block or where.
Both during Senior Bowl practices and the game itself, Sanders demonstrated his problems in pass protection.
Sanders also turned in a poor combine performance. He struggled to get under 5.5 seconds in the 40, and his 10-yard splits were pedestrian. He looked sluggish and slow-footed during all drills.
Despite the Bears' great need for an offensive tackle, they'd better pass on Sanders.
4. OG Senio Kelemete
The Bears have plenty of guards, but they are still looking at potential guards in the draft, indicating dissatisfaction with what's in the cupboard.
Hopefully, the Bears focus on someone like Adam Gettis rather than Senio Kelemete.
Kelemete is an offensive tackle who projects to guard in the NFL. Like Zebrie Sanders, he's a good run blocker but questionable in pass protection.
Kelemete is known for his athleticism, yet he showed none of that at the combine.
His paltry 21 reps on the bench was quite disappointing, he was unable to get under 5.5 seconds in the 40, and his 10-yard split was slow (1.85 seconds).
He did improve his bench press reps to 25 at his Pro Day, but Kelemete still needs to improve on his strength.
What's more, Kelemete projects as a zone blocker, which is not what offensive coordinator Mike Tice runs in Chicago.
Kelemete may ultimately end up being a solid guard for a team like Cincinnati. But the Bears can find a better fit elsewhere.
5. C Mike Brewster
Drafting a center would help the Bears offensive linemen play their natural positions.
However, Brewster is not the center they are looking for.
Jedi Mind Trick or not, the former Buckeye struggled during Senior Bowl week, getting beaten by guys like Mike Martin and Alameda Ta'amu.
The center class this year in general is weak—so much so that teams are looking to convert other prospects into centers. And a fifth-round center prospect in a weak center class isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.
He could become a solid NFL player but the need for the Bears at center isn't great enough to ignore other areas.
6. LB Vontaze Burfict
Some people are intrigued by the potential in Vontaze Burfict.
But the bust factor is so high that any perceived potential just isn't worth it, even in the sixth and seventh round.
Burfict posted 40- times that were worse than several offensive and defensive linemen at the Combine. He also posted some of the worst times among linebackers in both the vertical and broad jump, then declined to participate in position drills.
He bombed his Pro Day too. According to Tony Pauline, Burfict "looked poorly conditioned and out-of-place in drills. He was not smooth changing direction, dropped passes in drills and generally looked like a free agent." The session was so awful that scouts even reportedly said they felt bad for Burfict.
On game tape, Burfict looked lead-footed with poor instincts.
Add all that up with his character issues and you get a guy who is entirely undraftable.
7. CB Cliff Harris
If the Bears do not take a corner early, they could find one late.
Harris, however, is a risky pick, even for the seventh round.
Before the 2011 season, Oregon suspended him after getting stopped by a cop for driving 118 mph with a suspended license. The team suspended Harris again midway through the season after being cited for driving with a suspended license, driving while uninsured, and failure to use a seatbelt. Weeks later, he was cited for pot possession and was kicked off of Oregon's football team.
With all these troubles, Harris needed a big combine performance but did not deliver. Tony Pauline marked that Harris "struggled to run under 4.6 seconds in the 40, then showed poorly in ball drills, looking off balance and stiff."
Harris ran even slower at his pro day.
He does have playmaking skills but looks to be a free agent due to his repeated off-field issues. The Bears would do well to avoid him rather than take a flyer on him.