Judging by the initial feedback from the "experts" the Chicago Bears NFL Draft grades do not quite stack-up to their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.
NFL Draft grades for the Bears range from ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. "C+" to Sports Illustrated's "B-". One thing is for sure, the GM of the Bears, Phil Emery, decided to attack the draft by going after players who fit areas of NEED rather than drafting the best available player based upon VALUE.
NFL Draft Grades 2013: Chicago Bears
|5||163||T||Jordan Mills||Louisiana Tech|
|7||236||WR||Marquess Wilson||Washington State|
This upcoming season will be an interesting one to watch here in Chicago for many reasons, but the story line surely will be built around Jay Cutler entering the final year of his contract making this season make-or-break for the former Vanderbilt standout.
The Chicago Bears have went all-in trying to provide Cutler with not only weapons on the outside in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, but the addition of Martellus Bennett gives him a playmaker at the tight end position. Add that to the firing of the defensive-minded Lovie Smith with the addition of the newly appointed head coach and "quarterback guru" Marc Trestman, and there will be few excuses left for Jay if he cannot put it all together this season.
Emery made a bold move drafting Kyle Long in the first round of the NFL Draft considering Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert fell into their lap at pick No. 20. Long will help improve one of the worst offensive lines in football in 2012, but they reached for Long, a talented but technically deficient player who should be protected by playing inside at guard.
"Very excited Kyle Long is a new member of the Chicago Bears. From what I understand it’s the first guard we’ve taken since 1960 (in the first round). So a little bit of a change in that regards in where we took one. But, we’re very excited about him. He’s the type of athlete and player that we have targeted – fast, tough, dynamic athlete, a productive athlete. Obviously, he’s traveled down an interesting road to get to the point where he’s at in life, but we’re very excited to welcome him to the Chicago Bears.” -- Emery
The Bears are extremely excited to have a player with his versatility and it appears he will start out left guard, but has the capability to start at right or left tackle in the future. Emery feels that Long will contribute immediately and help solidify an offensive line that has seen a near complete overhaul during the off-season.
“We see right away. Obviously, he’s got to earn his way just like all the players do, but we see a player that’s going to contribute right away. Despite his limited time at Oregon, he was a starter at the end of the season. He did very well. His Senior Bowl was excellent. I thought he was the best offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl so we expect him to contribute right away.” -- Emery
Top Pick: Jonathan Bostic is an instinctive, downhill run defender who is now the heir apparent to future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher. Many question the choice to select Bostic with Arthur Brown still on the board; however, Bostic is well seasoned playing in the SEC which is the best conference in college football.
Best Value Pick: This one is easy. As the two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Khaseem Greene, made quite a name for himself while at Rutgers. He is a solid chase linebacker who excels in space and can track down running back from behind. Another attribute that is going to mesh nicely in Chicago, he consistently goes for the strip and has a strong ball punch in his arsenal when taking down a ball carrier.
Sleeper Picks: Two picks I absolutely loved in regards to their potential value, were the last two picks of the draft. Workout freak Cornelius Washington slide to the 6th round was regarded as Kiper's surprise of the draft and following that up by nabbing former projected second-rounder Marquess Wilson in the 7th round was fantastic. If Wilson shows up and puts in the work he could turn out to be a steal.
Questionable Call: This draft will be centered around the success of Kyle Long because when he was selected the following players were there for the taking: TE Tyler Eifert, CB Desmond Trufant and DT Shariff Floyd all considered much better value picks and were immediately drafted after Long. My issue with Long is not that he is short on talent because even in his short stint starting he clearly showed a lot of upside. It just hard to justify drafting a guard in at No. 20 overall, so only time will tell if he is able to transition to the either the right or left tackle position.
Summary: The Bears desperately needed help on the offensive line, I believe they helped address this issue not only in the draft but via free agency signing Jermon Bushrod; however, many see that they drafted a pair of projects even stating that their 5th round selection Mills is closer to helping at tackle than Long. I think Emery did very well at the linebacker position, getting Bostic and Greene as possible replacement for Urlacher and Nick Roach. The Bears had some glaring areas that needed to be addressed and in my opinion they addressed them very well.
Undrafted rookie free agent signings: LSU RB Michael Ford; Rutgers WR Mark Harrison; Oklahoma CB Demontre Hurst; Iowa State WR Josh Lenz; LSU C P.J. Lonergan; Montana State DT Zach Minter; Memphis WR Marcus Rucker; Georgia Southern DT Brent Russell; Oklahoma P Tress Way; N.C. State CB Curtis Wilson
Final Grade: B-