Chicago Bears Draft Grades: Team Earning a B+ After Three Rounds
Three rounds down, four to go.
The Chicago Bears played the 2012 NFL Draft quietly, trading up once to move to No. 45, and stayed clear of boom-or-bust prospects, opting for known commodities. The players they selected had stocks decided by their game play, rather than impressive combine measurables.
On Alshon Jeffery, the wide receiver and Chicago's second round pick, Wes Bunting of the National Football Post had this to say:
The Bears add a big, jump-ball threat to the offense in Jeffery who can run the two man routes with the tight end on the strong side and win as a vertical route runner. He builds speed as he goes and isn’t real sudden out of his breaks. However, he has the skill set to mature into a solid NFL possession type receiver.
The Bears just got Brandon Marshall reunited with his former Bronco QB Jay Cutler, and signed wide receivers Devin Thomas, Eric Weems, and Earl Bennett. The team has made a serious commitment to improving Jay Cutler's number and at the same time, is decreasing the reliance on RB Matt Forte, who is currently unhappy with his franchise tag.
On defense, Chicago added a defensive end/linebacker and a safety. Shea McClellin, the Boise State OLB, was the 19th pick overall. While McClellin was a very popular mid-to-late first-round prospect, he might not fit with the Bears.
Jeff Kayer, another B/R Featured Columnist wrote:
With so many higher-rated guys available, I think this was an awful pick by the Bears. A big reason why McClellin was rated lower was because he doesn't have a true position. With his body frame, speed and above-average tackling ability, McClellin was best suited in a 3-4 defense where he could be a linebacker, similar to Clay Matthews Jr.
What Grade Should the Bears as of Now?
Any Bears fan would know that this team still strictly adheres to a 4-3 defense. While the Tampa 2 has gone more and more towards a Cover 3 defense, this team hardly, if ever, employs four linebackers at a given moment.
Still, McClellin is a versatile and intelligent player who can adapt to a different defensive scheme. The very mention of his name in the same breath as Clay Matthews' is a cause for celebration.
Finally, Brandon Hardin was quite the surprise. Not the same shock as the Patriots drafting Tavon Wilson at 48, but a surprise nonetheless. The Bears signed quite a few defensive backs during the offseason, and it is odd that they would add another when needs on the offensive line and on the defensive line. He might have also been available much later.
For three solid picks, I can't give the Bears less than a B-, but for possible reaches, I can't give higher than an A-.
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