Grading the Chicago Bears Draft... from 2008

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 28: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field on November 28 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The Bears defeated the Eagles 31-26. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

This is the time of year when everyone slaps a letter grade on a draft class, and I wanted to get in on the fun.  Only I'm not about to grade the 2011 draft class, I'll go as far as saying I like the collective group of rookies.  Obviously I like those first two rooks better than the others, but I'm optimistic on their potential as a whole.  I think it takes a few years before you can really tell how good a draft was, so after the jump I'll take a look at the Bears 2008 Draft Class, and offer up my arbitrary numerical grade for them based on draft position, productivity, and probably a hunch.

1st Round - Chris Williams has been a disappointment.  I'm not as down as some are on him, but as the 14th overall pick in the draft, he should have established himself as a solid NFL starter by now.  I don't care at which position, but at this point in his career, what the Bears are gonna get from him shouldn't be a question.  62%  needs to show better effort

2nd Round - Matt Forte hasn't been named to a Pro Bowl, but few backs in the league can match his all around effectiveness.  His second year he grounded out his yardage while nicked up, yet he didn't say a word, he just came to work and did his job.  I'm excited to see him run behind an improved line and with another year of familarity in the Mike Maryz offense.  89%  a pleasure to have in class

3rd Round - Earl Bennett spent his rookie year trying to learn 3 positions and it stunted his development, but in years two and three he flashed the kind of skills the Bears were expecting.  He may never be a #1 receiver, but he's a great complimentary wide out that will catch the ball in traffic, run hard after the catch, and block his tail off.  80%  Listens and follows directions well

3rd Round - Marcus Harrison has shown flashes that he could be a consistent rotational defensive tackle, unfortunately it's just in spurts.  He seems to have regressed from a promising rookie year.  The Bears even flirted with him at defensive end to give him more opportunities.  65%  Could benefit from improving his work habits

4th Round - Craig Steltz is a capable special teams guy, and that's probably as far as his talent will take him.  But as a 4th rounder, you hope at the very least to draft a guy that will stay on your roster and contribute, and Steltz gave them at least that.  70%  an enthusiastic participant

5th Round - Zack Bowman was injured him rookie year, showed some promise in year 2 by starting 12 games and interception 6 passes, then lost his starting job after 3 games and spent some time in Lovie Smith's doghouse.  Most fans don't expect a thing from him in 2011, but what if he regains his confidence and plays like he did in 2009? 75%  needs to apply himself better

5th Round - Kellen Davis has been a real good special teams player and the few times he's been called on offensively he's come through.  He was miscast as the blocking TE early in his career, but his blocking has improved quite a bit.  He'll be on the roster again in 2011.  75%  still hasn't reached his full potential

7th Round - The Bears had five 7th round draft picks and three are still kicking around the league.  Joey LaRocque, Kirk Barton, and Ervin Baldwin are still hanging on.  Marcus Monk and Chester Adams not so much.  Since none really did much in Chicago this round gets a collective 56%  The gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.

Pulling out my trusty solar powered calculator and averaging up the totals, then tweaking it (I grade on a curve), and I come up with the Bears 2008 Draft geting a solid C.  Chris Williams and Zackary Bowman will need to show something in '11 to bring this grade up.

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