So far in our Bears Draft Rewind Series we've looked at how the Bears picks from the 2011 and 2010 drafts have fared (there ya go, Spongie) in their NFL careers thus far. The 2010 draft for Chicago was lacking top picks in both the first and second round due to the Jay Cutler and Gaines Adams trades, but the 2009 draft was similar in that the Bears didn't have a choice in either of the top two rounds. Despite a lack of top picks, Jerry Angelo had some pretty impressive finds in 2009, with two notable exceptions.
First Round: The first of the picks traded away for Jay Cutler ended up being the 18th overall pick, and the Broncos and former Head Coach Josh McDaniels took Robert Ayers, defensive end from Tennessee. Ayers seemed like a solid 3-4 outside linebacker for the Broncos when he was drafted, but like most draft picks from the McDaniels era, things haven't worked out too well for him. Ayers is still on the team (unlike Tim Tebow or Alphonso Smith or Darcel McBath) but has underachieved thus far. Last season was his most successful, starting thirteen games and earning thirty-seven tackles and 3.5 sacks on the season.
Verdict: Cutler wins trade, beats lizard, but loses to Spock. No one beats Spock.
Players Available:Jeremy Maclin WR, Michael Oher T, Percy Harvin WR, Vontae Davis CB
Second Round:The Bears had the 49th selection, but Angelo traded back with Seattle, picking up the Seahawks third and fourth round picks. The Seahawks selected center Max Unger out of Oregon, who would go on to replace former first-round pick Chris Spencer, who would go on to join the Bears (the circle is complete).
Verdict: There is two ways to look back at this trade. One, we picked up additional picks in a trade that, in hindsight, had mostly questionable to terrible NFL players available in the second round so we avoided them and got back the third round pick we lost in the Cutler trade. Or two, it permitted us the easiest way to forever mock Jerry Angelo's draft choices (see: third round). Either way, Angelo's trade down was a good thing.
Players Available: Sebastian Vollmer T, Lesean McCoy RB, William Beatty T
Third Round: The Bears had two choices in round three, neither of which was their own original selection. The 68th pick was part of the Seattle trade, and the 99th pick was a compensatory pick given to the Bears (one of four third round compensatory picks handed out that year). With the 68th overall pick, the Bears selected Jarron Gilbert, pool jumper,San Jose St. Gilbert was a DE/DT tweener pick after switching to tackle before his senior season, where he led the nation with twenty-two tackles for loss.
The 99th overall pick became Juaquin Iglesias, wide receiver out of Oklahoma. Juaquin - outside of having a difficult name to spell - was 6'1 205 and was expected to challenge Rashied Davis for the #3 spot on the depth chart (shudder). Yep, things were that bad at wideout.
Since then: Gilbert lasted one year with the Bears, appearing in four games. Jarron the Jumper has kicked around the league the last few seasons, popping up with the Jets' practice squad a few times and most recently being signed by the Bills at the end of the 2011 season. Iglesias actually led the Bears in receiving during the 2009 preseason (8 catches, 130 yards), but only appeared in one game that year before being cut in September 2010. Most recently signed to the Texans practice squad.
Verdict: Ugh. Gack. Blecch. Make whatever gutteral sound you want, because these guys were terrible. A huge double miss for Angelo to start the 2009 draft, but things would get better later on. Also, did I mention who was selected with the Bears originally third round pick at #84? This guy.
Players Available: Pork Chop Knighton DT, Louis Vasquez G, Ladarius Webb CB, Mike Wallace WR, Matt Shaughnessy DE
Fourth Round: With the 105th pick - the second pick from gained from Seattle - the Bears selected Henry "Hill" Melton,
running back defensive enddefensive tackle from Texas. Melton was only a one year starter in college, playing end his senior season and earning twenty-nine tackles, ten TFL, and four sacks. With the 119th overall pick in the 2009 draft, the Bears took cornerback D.J. Moore from Vanderbilt. Moore left school as a junior after earning All-American honors and helping the school win its first bowl game in 53 years.
Since then: Moore and Melton have slowly worked their way up the Lovie Smith depth chart into key contributors on a still talented defense. After starting as a backup to Tillman and Corey Graham, Moore has settled in nicely as the Bears' nickle cornerback behind Tillman and Jennings the past two seasons, and has collected eight interceptions in his young career and has two touchdowns. Melton has added roughly twenty-five pounds since his combine weigh-in, and emerged last season as the Bears' best 3-technique option since the early Tommie Harris years.
Verdict: Moore is a ball-hawking interception machine (can we untrademark "the Interceptor" and pass it from Vasher to Moore?) that is a perfect nickelback for the Bears' defense. Melton has gone from sidelines to starter, and while Lovie still wants more consistently from him, Melton appears to be breaking out (7 sacks in 2011). Two great picks by Angelo, especially for their value in the fourth.
Players Available: TJ Lang T, Louis Murphy WR, Shaun Nelson TE
Fifth Round: The 140th overall pick changed hands twice, from Seattle to Denver to Chicago, and the Bears selected Johnny Knox, wide receiver from Abilene Christian. Knox spent two years at Tyler Community College before transferring to ACU, a Division II school in Texas. Knox had over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns in each of his two seasons at ACU.
With the 154th pick, the Bears selected Marcus Freeman, outside linebacker from Ohio State. Freeman was a Parade All-American coming out of high school, and started thirty-seven games for the Buckeyes.
Since then: Knox is the only 2009 fifth round pick to be named to the Pro Bowl; earning that distinction in 2010 as a kick return specialist while leading the team in receiving yards that season (51 catches, 960 yards, 5 TDs). Knox emerged as a top option for Cutler, along with Earl Bennett, but a serious back injury has put his career in jeopardy with no timetable for his return.
Freeman didn't even make it out of preseason for the Bears, being released on September 4, 2009. He joined practice squads in Houston and Buffalo after that before retiring in 2010 due to an enlarged heart, diagnosed one month after the death of Gaines Adams.
Verdict: The Knox pick was simply a solid pick. He has issues with route running and fighting for the ball, yes, but Knox gave the Bears a vertical threat down the field and he emerged as the competent receiver the Bears were trying to turn Hester into. His freakish back injury makes this more questionable, but for a fifth rounder it was a great pick. Freeman, on the other hand, I thought was going to provide good depth but instead - like a fling at a wet, hot, american camp (possibly NSFW language) - he barely lasted a summer.
Players Available: Jasper Brinkley LB, Duke Robinson G, Javon Ringer RB
Sixth Round:With the 190th pick, the Bears selected Al Afalava, safety, Oregon State.
Since then: Afalava started thirteen games during his rookie season for the Bears, collecting forty-three tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, and after that, one pink slip. Weird Al has kicked around the league ever since, spending time with the Colts, Patriots, and Titans, but as a part-time special teamer, not a starter.
Verdict: Well, we got one year out of him, but ultimately a lack of speed and coverage skills doomed Afalava. It should say just how bad our situation at safety was that he was able to start thirteen games then essentially never play again.
Seventh Round: With their two compensatory picks in the seventh round, the Bears selected Lance Louis,
tight end tackleguard, San Diego St, and Derek Kinder, wide receiver, Pittsburgh. Louis actually only spent one year as a starting guard, his junior year, before spending his senior year as a right tackle. Kinder was a 6' 202 pound wideout that was still recovering from a torn ACL suffered during his junior season.
Since then: Kinder joined the likes of all the other late round/UDFA receivers that Bears' fans have heaped undeserved hope upon and been disappointed by. He hasn't been around football since, well, pretty much college. Louis, on the other hand, has developed into a jack-of-all-trades along the offensive line, earning starting nods at guard and tackle last season (with decidedly different results).
Verdict: Just like Webb, you have to give credit to Angelo for finding a starting offensive lineman late in the draft. Sure, neither is a stud, but both are still on the roster and at or near the top of the depth chart, which could make up for the wasted third round picks in 2009.
Players Available:Ryan Succop K, Rashad Jennings RB, Nick Reed DE