- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Due to trades, the Chicago Bears haven’t been able to select a player on the first day of the draft for the past two years. Here’s a quick look at the 2009 Bears draft class and where they stand on the roster. It will be interesting whether the 2010 class looks similar going into the 2011 season:
Jarron Gilbert (third round, 68 overall): Now a reserve defensive tackle, Gilbert impressed talent observers prior to the draft by leaping out of a pool. But he won’t be jumping into the rotation as a regular contributor anytime soon.
Juaquin Iglesias (third round, 99th overall):Was originally expected to compete for the No. 3 spot, but couldn’t crack the active roster until the final week of the 2009 season. Coming off a strong offseason, Iglesias has a good chance this season to crack the wide receiver rotation.
Henry Melton (fourth round, 105th overall): Placed on injured reserve (ankle) last September, and didn’t contribute. The staff is high on Melton. But because of a talent logjam at defensive end, he’s facing long odds to make the roster, and needs to find a niche on special teams to stick.
D.J. Moore (fourth round, 119th overall):The cornerback desperately needs to step up his game to make the final roster, given the addition of rookie Joshua Moore. D.J. Moore played three games last season, but currently appears to no better than No. 5 or 6 in the hierarchy at his position.
Johnny Knox (fifth round, 140th overall): Knox ranked second in the NFL with a 29-yard kickoff return average and seventh among 2009 rookies in catches (45). The starter at receiver opposite Devin Hester, Knox needs to refine the minor technical kinks in his game to progress to the next level. Knox is arguably the Bears’ most dangerous threat offensively.
Al Afalava (sixth round, 190th overall):Impressed at training camp last year, and played well in spurts as a rookie, starting 13 games. Afalava is buried on the depth chart (third team), but could find his way back into the staff’s good graces given coach Lovie Smith’s penchant for changing out safeties.
Lance Louis (seventh round, 246th overall):Inactive most of last season, Louis didn’t play a down in 2009, but is in the mix with Johan Asiata, and possibly Josh Beekman for the starting job at left guard.