The first two days of the 2011 NFL Draft has had its share of surprises- the Titans taking Jake Locker when Nick Fairley was still on the board, the Vikings selecting Christian Ponder, the Chargers choosing Corey Liuget over Cam Jordan- and the fanbase of the Chicago Bears were undoubtedly surprised at the value of their first two picks of Gabe Carimi and Stephen Paea.
Knee-jerk reaction vs well-thought-out objectivity. Many times, those two things can be polar opposites of each other. Our initial reactions to the Carimi and Paea picks will undoubtedly not change over time. Jerry Angelo managed to score two very talented players, undoubtedly Day 1 starters, in the two biggest areas of need for the team.
Moving on to our 3rd round selection, Safety Chris Conte, saw a bit of a different knee-jerk reaction. Last night, many Bears fans were completely up in arms over taking a prospect that is as raw and unexperienced as Conte. Lester did some homework for us, and the Conte pick might not be as bad as many had originally thought. It sounds like the kid has a lot of upside potential, and being able to work with Lovie Smith and Dave Toub will undoubtedly benefit Conte when they can finally get to work together.
Smith always has his projects... remember, he worked one-on-one with manning for the last few seasons, and finally turned him into a starting NFL Safety. Smith is a technique guy, and, regardless of what people think of him as a head coach, he has shown that he can do a good job with his pet projects.
We'll be bringing you more info on Conte from California Golden Blog in coming days, the guys that knew Conte the best during his college career.
So, morning-after thoughts... looking at the first three rounds, how are you feeling?