After thinking this morning about the three not-so-savvy free agent OL acquisitions (Orlando Pace, Frank Omiyale, and Kevin Shaffer) Jerry Angelo brought to Chicago this past offseason, I started wondering about how he has addressed the OL through the draft.
Angelo is, of course, known as a "build through the draft" GM, and many will agree that, in building a team, it all starts in the trenches with the big guys. Lucky for me, I didn't have to do too much research, because Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald covered the topic today.
Since 2003, Jerry Angelo has drafted 8 offensive linemen out of 81 total picks through that span. Not a very high percentage, but then LeGere shows us where those 8 picks have been:
Besides Chris Williams in 2008, only one lineman has been drafted higher than the 6th round (Josh Beekman). And as you can see, in two of those years, we didn't select any. Not exactly building the foundation via the draft like he is known for, is it?
LeGere does go on to make sure we remember that Angelo has had success in the draft...
That's not to condemn Angelo's drafting record. The team's topfive receivers- Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Matt Forte, Johnny Knox, and Greg Olsen- are all Angelo draft picks.
So are six of the top seven tacklers: Lance Briggs, Danieal Manning, Al Afalava, Charles Tillman, Zack Bowman, Alex Brown, Tommie Harris, and Marcus Harrison.
It also hasn't been long since Angelo was ranked the #8 General Manager in all of professional sports by Forbes, and third best in the NFL. But, the fact remains that Angelo has not addressed the OL in the draft, and the most recent free agent pick ups have not been worth the time.
It would seem to me that, if he was so "fixated" on getting the QB position right, he would also be fixated on protecting him. You can bet that Jay Cutler is already in someone's ears, telling the organization that this is not going to cut it.
LM: During the season, how actively do you look to sign players to your 53-man roster that are on other teams’ practice squads or are street free agents?
JA: Very actively. I think we’ve got a very good track record of doing that. We are looking for players all the time that fit what we do to create more competition at positions. To me, we do that as well as anybody. We are always actively looking at bringing players on board. But you can’t do it as a revolving door. If you bring a player in, it’s because you saw something—what he did in college or in the NFL. When you bring him in, there’s got to be a plan for him. These aren’t auditions. We want to bring them in, and further their development. So there has to be a plan. We just don’t pick guys up randomly, bring them in for a couple weeks and then send then down the road. We don’t operate that way. It’s not about collecting talent, it’s about finding players that fit what we do and feel we can win with.
I'm not saying that I don't trust Angelo, but it just doesn't feel very good to get a QB like Cutler, only to have not addressed his protection through the draft or free agency very effectively.