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.
During the 2008-2009 season, Manning led the league in return average and number of 30+ yard returns, despite only starting half the season. He has only missed three games in five seasons with Chicago, seeing playing time at either free safety or the nickel cornerback position.
Manning continues to be an impact player and provides a spark on kickoffs if Devin Hester isn’t back there returning kicks.
Pick grade: B
Do I even have to say anything? Hester is the best return man in the game, and arguably the best all-time at returning kicks. Hester owns the record for most punt/kickoff returns in a career with 14. That doesn’t include the 108-yard missed field goal return against the Giants or the opening kickoff return of Super Bowl XLI.
Hester has transitioned to a wide receiver, but still is the most dangerous person to kick it to in a game. Even if he doesn’t score, he gives the Bears good field position.
Pick grade: A
Never really saw the field for Chicago. Dvoracek was always injured and never recovered from tearing his ACL. There was potential for Dvoracek, but he never had a chance to display it.
Pick grade: D (being generous here because you can’t predict injuries)
After his breakout rookie season with 12 sacks, it looked like Anderson was going to be a late-round stud for the Bears. He was a major reason why Chicago went 13-3 that year and made it to the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately for Anderson and the Bears, his rookie season was his best season. He only accumulated 9.5 sacks over the next four seasons in Chicago.
Pick grade: C+
Everyone expected the Bears to draft a wide receiver or tight end to upgrade a pitiful offense. Instead, Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo decided to trade away Chicago's first-round pick and grab five defensive players instead.
Hester's name will probably stay in the record books forever and Manning is still a good-looking safety, but beyond that this is a pretty average draft. Chicago missed big time on Greg Jennings (taken five picks before Hester), Owen Daniels (taken 26 picks after Dvoracek) and Brandon Marshall (taken one pick before the Bears landed Jamar Williams), any of whom could've been the difference in their Super Bowl loss to the Indianapolis Colts later that season.
(Other players from this draft include fourth rounder Jamar Williams, who has seen limited action as a backup linebacker and sixth rounders Tyler Reed and J.D. Runnels).
Overall draft grade: B