Caught in draft: Angelo's hits and misses

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
12:51
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Lance BriggsJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesSeven straight Pro Bowl selections for Lance Briggs proved the wisdom of this draft pick.
Recently fired Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo won 95 regular-season games and four division titles during his 11-year tenure in Chicago. But most critics will point to Angelo's draft record as a primary reason the veteran talent evaluator was let go on Tuesday. Here is a list of the top five hits and misses since Angelo took full control of the Bears draft in the spring of 2002.

Hits

1. Lance Briggs -- third round (2003) -- This season marked the seventh straight Pro Bowl selection for Briggs, the perfect fit at weakside linebacker in the Bears Cover 2 defensive scheme. Briggs and veteran Brian Urlacher are widely considered one the best, or the best, linebacker tandem in the entire NFL.

2. Matt Forte -- second round (2008) -- Selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2011, Forte has established himself as one of the top all-around tailbacks in the league. However, his unresolved contract situation, plus the negative attention it received in the press, might have been one of the factors in Angelo losing his job.

3. Charles Tillman -- second round (2003) -- A model of consistency at the cornerback position. Tillman finally earned a Pro Bowl nod after years of solid play. Tillman's uncanny ability to strip the football and force turnovers has made him one of the core members of three division winning defenses.

4. Devin Hester -- second round (2006) -- Hester never developed into a upper echelon receiver, but he is the best return man in the history of the NFL. Enough said.

5. Johnny Knox -- fifth round (2009) -- Once again, Knox has flaws as a wideout, but in the fifth round, he is considered a steal. Knox made the Pro Bowl his rookie year as a return man, and has made enough big plays in the passing game the last three years to be considered a viable weapon.

Honorable mention: Alex Brown (fourth round, 2002), Tommie Harris (first round, 2004), Bernard Berrian (third round, 2004), Nate Vasher (fourth round, 2004), Chris Harris (sixth round, 2005), Kyle Orton (fourth round, 2005), Greg Olsen (first round, 2007), Corey Graham (fifth round, 2007), Earl Bennett (third round, 2008) and Henry Melton (fourth round, 2009).

Misses

[+] EnlargeMichael Haynes
John Cordes/Sporting News/Icon SMIMichael Haynes finished a disastrous Bears career with 5.5 sacks.
1. Michael Haynes -- first round (2003) -- The defensive end last only three seasons in Chicago and never came close to making an impact. He finished his Bears career with 5.5 sacks.

2. Dan Bazuin -- second round (2007) -- Bazuin suffered a pair of injuries right out of the gate, went on injured reserve as a rookie, then was cut the following summer. He doesn't even appear on the Bears official all-time roster.

3. Michael Okwo -- third round (2007) -- Lovie Smith deserves much of the blame for the Bears selection of Okwo, who they touted as the heir-apparent to Briggs. The only problem: Okwo couldn't play and some wondered if he even liked football.

4. Mark Bradley - second round (2005) -- Bradley showed promise early his first year before tearing his knee up at Ford Field. He never recovered. To make matters worse, Bradley acted like he was entitled. That lasted until 2008 when the wide receiver was finally released.

5. Cedric Benson -- first round (2005) -- Benson went on to have a nice career with Cincinnati, but he was a disaster in Chicago. Another member of the entitlement club, Benson was handed the starting job in 2007 and flopped. A few legal issues later and he was gone. And to think; the Bears traded Thomas Jones to make room for this guy.

Honorable mention: Roosevelt Williams (third round, 2002), Dusty Dvoracek (third round, 2006), Marcus Harrison (third round, 2008), Jarron Gilbert (third round, 2009) and Juaquin Iglesias (third round, 2009).

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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