When it comes to grading team’s in the NFL Draft, it takes 3 years to properly asses a team’s success. I previously graded the Detroit Lions draft.
That article can be found here: http://utnsports.com/2014/07/20/analyzing-the-2011-draft-detroit-lions/
Next up is the Chicago Bears. Heading into 2011, the Bears were a team in the thick of contention in the NFC. It could be argued that had Jay Cutler not gotten hurt, the Bears could’ve represented the NFC in the Super Bowl. Then again, plenty of people hate Cutler and think his injury probably helped them so who knows. Either way, the Bears had an extremely talented roster and did not have many needs heading into the 2011 draft.
With their 1st round pick, the Chicago Bears took Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi. Carimi was a mammoth O-Linemen who paved the way for a dominant Wisconsin offense. He was excellent in college and won the Outland Trophy as a Senior. He was great in the Senior Bowl and during the pre-draft process and while there were questions about how well he would translate if forced to play Left Tackle, there was little doubt that he could be a solid starting Right Tackle. Carimi missed almost all of his rookie season with an injury. He started a handful of games in his 2nd year with the Bears, but was not very good and was replaced at RT. He was traded to the Bucs after his 2nd year and is now with the Atlanta Falcons.
The Bears tried beefing up their Defensive Line when they took Oregon State DT Stephen Paea in the 2nd round. Paea was a beast in college and helped his stock during the NFL combine when benched 225 lbs over 40 times. In 3 years, Paea has yet to make a major impact for the Bears. He’s a stout run defender, but offers little as a pass-rusher and isn’t the 3 down force that people thought he could be coming out of college.
In the 3rd round, the Bears took California Safety Chris Conte. Conte has developed into a solid player in his 3 years. He’s started the last 2 seasons and recorded 90 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2013. While he may not be viewed in the same light as the elite safeties, he is a reliable player on the back-end of the Bears defense.
Overall, I’d give the Bears 2011 draft a D-. They only had 5 picks in the entire draft and only 2 remain on the roster. Paea has proven to be nothing more than a rotational defensive linemen and while Conte has developed into a nice starter, he isn’t a high level impact player. The Bears whiffed on Carimi and he’s not even on the roster anymore and their offensive line has been sub-par for what seems like a decade.
Feature Image: zimbio.com