When the Chicago Bears wrapped up their 2014 draft, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. decided the Bears deserved a B- for their eight selections. After seeing how these eight guys fit in with the Bears, Kiper decided to re-grade their draft and he actually brought down his initial assessment to a C+.
His entire re-grade article is behind a pay wall, but we will let you peek in on his thoughts about his Chicago Bears re-grade.
I thought the Bears did a pretty decent job of attacking what was truly an awful defense. I think they just got a little bit unlucky because they had some rookies on that side of the ball really get thrown into it a bit too quickly. In the case of Kyle Fuller, I thought he not only had to take on a lot of responsibility after the secondary lost Charles Tillman, but he was also played a lot of football while banged up. So while he struggled in coverage for much of the second half of the season, he showed a lot of toughness after starting out great, and I think he'll be a really good player for Chicago going forward. And again: Rookie cornerbacks struggle. We see these guys get abused every single year.
Kyle Fuller was forced out of a few games due to injury, but his toughness won out each week as he appeared in all 16 games. I'm expecting Fuller to have an outstanding off season getting his body ready for the 2015 season and I think he'll flourish next year under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and new defensive backs coach Ed Donatell.
Here are some more of Kiper's thoughts on the Bears' rookie class.
Elsewhere, Ego Ferguson (who really had some "raw" in his game) and Will Sutton both did some good things and also had predictable struggles as rotation players. Ka'Deem Carey is a "we'll see" at this point, though I think he can be effective if given the chance, and maybe Brock Vereen can get better. He looked overmatched. Christian Jones was a decent UFA pickup, saw some reps and has a starter's upside. The Bears did get their punter in Pat O'Donnell. If there's a question, it's whether they should have hit safety first with a guy like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix -- I had safety as the No. 1 need. It's not a great class at this point, because there's just no breakthrough yet (do these guys get this many reps on a decent defense?), but I have a hunch it could look a lot better after next season, as these guys got experienced and the defense will hopefully get more organized.
Now that the season is over, do you wish the Bears would have drafted one of the top safeties? Remember both Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were available when the Bears drafted Fuller.