It is unfair to judge a draft class from just one season, so I am leaving the 2010 Bears draft class out of this discussion. But let’s take a look back on the last five drafts under current Chicago General Manager Jerry Angelo. From booms to bust, here are picks and the overall grades from those drafts.
Benson never turned out to be the premiere back that many predicted coming out of Texas. Benson only had 1603 yards in three seasons in Chicago, and had -1 yards on two carries with a fumble in Superbowl XLI against the Colts. Not only did he never eclipse the 1,000 yard mark wearing blue and orange, Benson made Thomas Jones expendable. Jones only went on to lead the AFC in rushing two years later for the Jets. Other running backs that Angelo could have taken in that draft include Marion Barber, Frank Gore and Brandon Jacobs.
Pick grade - F
Bradley rarely saw the field for the Bears. He was plagued by injuries in Chicago. Bradley only appeared in 43 games in four seasons with the Bears. When he was on the field, he wasn’t that effective. The Oklahoma product had talent, but never amounted to anything. Not many good receivers out of this class.
Pick grade – D
Orton has been a solid starting quarterback in the NFL. In Chicago, Orton managed the game well and didn’t turn over the ball. In the 2008-2009 season, Orton led the Bears to a 9-7 record, and passed for just under 3000 yards and had 18 touchdowns. Orton didn’t have many weapons around him, and did a good job while putting points on the board. Besides Aaron Rodgers, Orton is the best QB taken in this draft.
Pick grade - B+
Harris is now in his second stint with the Bears. He has been a productive player each team for Chicago. Harris started 13 games as a rookie in 2005, and got the start for the majority of the games in 2006 when Chicago made the Superbowl. In the Super Bowl, Harris picked off Peyton Manning on the Colts first possession. Back with the Bears after spending three season with the Panthers, Harris is the leader in the secondary and had a career high five interceptions last year. Great player for a 6th round pick.
Pick grade - A
Coming off a 5-11 season and a last place finish in the NFC North in the 2004, the Bears had a chance to upgrade a large part of their roster in the draft. They found only two starters (although Benson would have been a third if he didn't hold out during training camp), and didn't find any true offensive weapons.
Angelo can't be blamed entirely for whiffing on Benson because everyone in the NFL had him rated that high, but missing on Roscoe Parrish, Vincent Jackson and Chris Henry is inexcusable.
(Other picks from this class include Airese Currie in the fifth round and Rodriques Wilson in the seventh).
Overall draft class grade - C-