It was pretty obvious that the Chicago Bears needed to upgrade their offensive line that looked more like contenders for an AARP card than a Super Bowl.
The Bears did just that by selecting left tackle Chris Williams with the 14th pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, despite Jerry Angelo finding some “wear and tear” during his days at Vanderbilt. Today, Williams is looking more like damaged goods after the Bears announced that he is having surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back.
Bears coach Lovie Smith is saying that this is a new injury although Williams has had back problems since freshman year. It’s likely that he will miss the entire season to heal from this injury.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as three NFL scouts in attendance at last night’s exhibition game against the Kansas City Chiefs told Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mike Mulligan that Williams was completely off their draft board because of injury concerns.
Why didn’t Angelo follow suit?
If the Bears felt they needed a tackle that badly, they should’ve selected Jeff Otah from Pittsburgh who Scouts inc. feels is not as talented as Williams, but has a much better injury history and would’ve played in last night’s game.
Or better yet, why were the Bears in denial that Cedric Benson was done in Chicago and wait until the second round to grab Matt Forte when Rashard Mendenhall was available? Why is it that Angelo is brilliant when he goes after a defensive player, but selects bust after bust on offense?
At some point, Mendenhall is going to replace Steelers’ running back Willie Parker while the Bears will regret not taking him and giving him an environment to thrive in his home town similar to Derrick Rose will playing with the Bulls.
No matter how much spin the Bears’ public relation department gives the media on how great Matt Forte is, he will not be the every down back that Mendenhall is going to be for Pittsburgh. Instead, we are looking at a bleak situation for Chicago with four running backs and no hope for the near future.
Chicago’s best hope is Kevin Jones, who could be very productive if he stays off the inactive list and gets himself back into shape.
Besides the major mea culpa the Bears are feeling after losing their first round pick for the year, they also missed out on an opportunity to fix their quarterback situation.
The Bears could’ve selected Louisville’s Brian Brohm in the second round if they didn’t use their first round pick on a walking hospital case. I’m not suggesting that Brohm is the answer to the Bears’ problems at quarterback, but he would at least work as a third-string quarterback for a few years until Lovie Smith gets fed up of the quarterback competition between Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman.
Only the Bears could have a quarterback competition where the criteria for starting is taking successful snaps and throwing the least amount of interceptions. That’s like asking if I’d rather watch rowing or archery.
Neither quarterback deserves the starting spot. Why not give Caleb Hanie a shot or see if Chad Pennington can do anything? The Bears insist that either Orton or Grossman are good enough for the starting job, but if that’s really what they think, they must’ve not watched any games between 2005 and now.
The Bears gambled away their future in this draft by selecting a tackle who’s too injury prone and no long-term solution for when Smith, at some point, is fed up with Grossman and Orton.
Chicago signed Devin Hester to an extension not too long ago in hopes that he will someday be a No. 1 receiver. Because of Angelo’s foolish decisions, he will never find out as long as he’s in a Bear’s uniform.
Aug. 9 edit- According to the Chicago Tribune, Williams might be available to return Nov. 2 but that's not official yet. Either way, his back could hurt him throughout his career.