Before we get started, allow me to depress you with the following list of first round draft picks:
2005: Cedric Benson
2007: Greg Olsen
2008: Chris Williams
2011: Gabe Carimi
2012: Shea McClellin
2013: Kyle Long
2014: Kyle Fuller
In an attempt to achieve some metric of draft performance and draft success, Tony Villiotti over at the National Football Post sampled the last ten years of draft data. He uses number of starts from 2005 through 2014 as "the most reasonable metric for measuring draft performance. This is not perfect but allows a window into draft performance."
Using this admittedly flawed metric, he computed how many starts a team might expect from this sample of draft classes (ten years), then number of starts by players drafted over those ten years (whether for the drafting team or for another team). By these measures, he computed that the Bears had 4.89% fewer games started by drafted players than suggested by his analysis. The Seahawks lead the league with 18.61% more games started. The Packers have 1.89% more games started; the Vikings, 6.34% less; and the Lions are bringing up the rear with 19.73% less games started than Villiotti's analysis would suggest.
So while that puts the Bears at second in the division behind the Packers, of course they're still net negative.
But the number I wanted to highlight, and the reason I posted that list above, is that the Bears exceeded expectations of starts by first-round draft picks by 115.
Of course, relying simply on "starts" is a flawed metric to begin with, since all you have to do to start is have a coach throw you on the field, but while players like Benson, Olsen, and Williams all left town for some reason or another, they still caught on to start games elsewhere, perhaps in better situations than here.
Take a glance over the article and share your thoughts. What better metrics and analysis could he have used? How could he capture more team-building aspects into his analysis?