Top three rounds a problem

Dvoracek's latest injury exposes Bears' problems in draft

August 28, 2009, 7:40 PM

By: Jeff Dickerson

Dusty Dvoracek's torn ACL likely closes the book on another recent high draft pick by the Bears. Although selecting college kids can be an inexact science, the Bears' bust rate on first-day choices is fairly alarming.

Cedric Benson

Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

Cedric Benson is probably the best-known Bears draft bust of recent years.

It's widely believed a draft class can be evaluated properly only after three seasons. So, I'll exclude the past two seasons from our conversation and focus on 2005-07, with the understanding that 2003-04 netted such valuable contributors as Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Tommie Harris, Bernard Berrian, Tank Johnson and Nathan Vasher. Those players far outweigh (but don't excuse) misses on first-rounders Michael Haynes and Rex Grossman

We'll include the top three rounds because those were Day 1 picks from 2005 to 2007. And although the 2007 class hasn't completed three seasons, I think those players have been around long enough to analyze.

In the span of those three seasons (2005-07), the Bears selected nine players and used two of those picks to get Adewale Ogunleye and Ricky Manning Jr., who both are/were at least decent contributors. Of the nine players taken, Devin Hester and Greg Olsen are no-brainer successes. I'll also argue that, in a few years, we'll look back on Danieal Manning as an excellent grab -- because I think he can make the Pro Bowl as a return man if he stays healthy.

That's the good news. The bad news is the six remaining draftees.

That's a rough list, although Wolfe has turned out to be a dependable performer on special teams. Bottom line: The Bears need to do a better job with these early choices. Obviously, Matt Forte (2008) was a home run, but the jury is still out on Chris Williams, Earl Bennett and Marcus Harrison. I'm also willing to give this current crop of rookies more time to develop, but with the exception of Al Afalava and maybe Johnny Knox on special teams, I haven't seen much from guys such as Juaquin Iglesias, Henry Melton, D.J. Moore and Marcus Freeman. Jarron Gilbert has the talent, now it's just a matter of developing his skills as an under tackle.

The quickest way for an organization to head south is by drafting poorly. I'm not saying the Bears do a bad job, but they certainly can do better.


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