Last week I looked at whether the Packers drafted players to help in areas where they struggled last season, and this week I'm looking around the NFC North. This has nothing to do whether the team drafted the right player because I'm no scout and can't tell a bust from a future MVP. But did Chicago add players at positions where the team really needed some help?
The disconnect between the official NFL ranks and the Football Outsiders ranks is pretty dramatic. It's hard to imagine Chicago's great 2006 defense falling to somewhere between 24th and 27th overall, so it was likely that the Bears awful offense just gave opponents too many opportunities to gain yards against a great defense.
It's not an ideal situation to go into next season with QBs Rex Grossman and Neck Beard, but GM Jerry Angelo said he didn't really like any of the QBs in this draft. He almost drafted a QB in the 4th round, which I assume was either QB Erik Ainge or QB Josh David Booty, who were both drafted in the 5th round. Neither one would have looked great in 2008 as the Bears' starting QB, but Angelo will look really bad if either of them turn into the next QB Derek Anderson. It won't help the pass offense that QB Brian Griese, who had the team's highest QB rating in 2007, and WR Bernard Berrian, their leading receiver, are both playing elsewhere in 2008.
The defense slipped in 2007, but injuries played a large part. Still they can't assume everyone will be healthy next season, and they had to find more depth for the secondary. They could use more depth at defensive tackle and linebacker to account for potential injuries. But overall the defense had to take a back seat to fixing one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
I'm only looking at the first four rounds because everyone after that is a longshot to make the team.
|1st Round (14)||OT Chris Williams|
|2nd Round (44)||RB Matt Forte|
|3rd Round (70)||WR Earl Bennett|
|3rd Round (90)||DT Marcus Harrison|
|4th Round (120)||
S Craig Steltz
Teams should be built from the inside-out, so if you don't like any QB with the 14th overall pick, take the best lineman and Chicago's offensive line probably needed more help than any other unit on the team. Selecting Forte was needed to help the worst run offense in the NFL, and it looks like a fantastic move after RB Cedric Benson's arrest. Bennett kept with the Vanderbilt theme (both Bennett and Williams played at Vandy) and wide receiver was another area that desperately needed help after the loss of Berrian and the release of WR Muhsin Muhammad.
After that they focused on defense. Adding a defensive tackle to a stout run defense seems like a luxury, but defensive tackle was a concern this time last year after the release of DT Tank Johnson. Then they added the safety they needed in the secondary.
Overall this was a really good draft for Chicago. They added three players from different positions to an offense that desperately needed help all over the roster. They even managed to add two more players for the defense. It helped them where they really needed it while still giving several positions on the roster an infusion of young talent. All these guys won't work out, no team will find a future starter with all of their top five draft selections, but, unfortunately, this draft has the potential of really helping them out as soon as next season.