Re-Drafting Chicago Bears' Entire 2012 Draft After First Half of NFL Season
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One of the toughest jobs in the NFL is evaluating talent out of college. It often becomes a crap shoot when it comes to drafting players, and second guessing is very common.
The Bears did not have a bad draft by any means and it is still way too early to say whether their rookies are a hit or a miss. What we can do is evaluate the draft and see if there were other players drafted later who could have helped the team more right now.
Based on what we've seen so far, here's how the Bears should have drafted this year.
First Round: OT Riley Reiff
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First-round pick Shea McClellin has done a nice job providing a speed pass rush this season but he is in a rotation with other players at the Bears' deepest position on the team.
Looking back it might not have been completely necessary to use a first-round pick on a pass rusher. The Bears needed one but they could have gotten one later on. What the team needed was an offensive tackle they can build around.
Look no further than four picks later and right in the division to find Riley Reiff. A solid bookend tackle that is really starting to make a name for himself in Detroit. Given the struggles of J'Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi, you would think Reiff would be more of a help right now than McClellin.
Second Round: WR Alshon Jeffery
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If the Bears had to do it all over again they shouldn't change a thing when it comes to their second-round pick.
Alshon Jeffery is currently out with an injury but he has been one of the real steals of the draft. The tall wide receiver has been a model citizen and has shown big-play ability at a position the Bears have been lacking at for quite some time now.
What you get out of Jeffery is a guy who can not only contribute this season but can be a building block in the future. As he gets better and more seasoned in the NFL he could turn into a real force for years to come.
Third Round: DT John Hughes
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When the Bears drafted safety Brandon Hardin from Oregon State they knew they were taking a big risk on a player who has a history of injuries. Sure enough, they lose Hardin to a season-ending injury in the preseason.
The concern of the safety position was valid heading into the season, but Chris Conte and Major Wright have both played well. Instead of taking a chance on Brian Price and bringing back Amobi Okoye, the Bears could have drafted John Hughes.
Hughes is a big defensive tackle who has had a nice start in Cleveland. He would fit well into the rotation of defensive linemen and probably would have more production than Stephen Paea.
Fourth Round: TE Orson Charles
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All through training camp and preseason we were led to believe fourth-round pick Evan Rodriguez would have a bigger role in the offense. So far it just hasn't happened.
Rodriguez was out for a couple weeks with an injury but he has been back for quite some time. Even still, the Bears do not use him either as a blocking back or receiver. Instead they could have used that pick on a big tight end who can catch over the middle.
Kellen Davis doesn't look to be the tight end of the future. The Bears could have drafted Orson Charles who is in Cincinnati right now. Charles doesn't see the field much because the Bengals have a good tight end but he could have been very valuable right away in a Bears offense lacking a big athletic tight end.
Sixth Round: Josh Bush
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Right now the Bears are deep at the corner position. When you draft a player in the sixth round you would hope he makes the team and provides some value in depth and on special teams. Isaiah Frey is currently on the practice squad in place of more competent veterans.
The Bears are pretty solid at the safety position but safety Josh Bush of the New York Jets could have helped out on special teams. Frey was drafted with the thought in mind of playing that role but has been replaced by guys like Sherrick McManis and Anthony Walters.
Bush would have made the 53-man roster and would have been a contributor on special teams right away.
Seventh Round: RB Daryl Richardson
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The Bears are supposed to be all over guys from Abilene Christian. How did they miss out on Daryl Richardson?
The team doesn't really need another running back but when talent is there, you stockpile no matter what the position is. The Green Bay Packers collect wide receivers because it's smart to have a ton of weapons.
Greg McCoy didn't make the team and isn't on the practice squad. Meanwhile, Richardson has the St. Louis Rams contemplating whether Steven Jackson is expendable. Not bad for a seventh-round guy from a small school in Texas.