Grading the Bears draft

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Grading the NFL draft moments afterward is always a speculative and dicing proposition. To be fair to teams, evaluators, and the players themselves, one must allow some time and perspective to fully assess. That said, it’s fun to discuss and give opinions, so without further adieu, let’s review the Chicago Bears draft:

Round 1, Shea McClellin, DE, Boise State…A surprise pick, the hard-working and fast-rising McClellin will be asked to contribute immediately at a position he hasn’t played fulltime. Though he’s added 12-14 pounds since the draft, the concern is McClellin will be engulfed by offensive tackles and unable to handle the double-team block. He possesses a nice first step, but not an elite. Grade: B-

Round 2, Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina…Big, physical wideout should make a good tag team with Brandon Marshall on the opposite side. Jeffery enjoyed a better 2010 than 2011. He played at a heavier weight this past season, and his production was down. To be fair, South Carolina’s erratic quarterback play didn’t help. He can be moody and attitude isn’t always the best. However,  Jeffery makes the acrobatic catch and is a dangerous red zone threat. Aggressive move by General Manager Phil Emery Grade: B+

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Round 3, Brandon Hardin, S, Oregon State….Quietly being discussed as one of the draft’s sleepers despite missing all of 2011. Big, fast (4.43), and physical, the native Hawaiian displays good range and was athletic enough to play at corner. Injury history offsets some of the enthusiasm as well as a projected position shift to safety. Grade: B-

Round 4, Evan Rodriguez, TE, Temple…Rodriguez demonstrates  natural pass receiving skills and is a gifted athlete. He was a high school standout in both football (QB) and basketball. Played a hybrid fullback/h back at Temple after transferring from West Virginia. He has a history of off-field issues and is considered immature. Grade: C

Round 6, Isaiah Frey, CB, Nevada…“We felt like with Isaiah that we’ve g

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ot the most skilled corner at the back end of the draft,” said general manager Phil Emery. First team All-WAC after tying for the FBS lead with 21 pass breakups and recording a career-high five interceptions. Frey wasn’t invited to the scouting combine or any all-star games. Looks smallish at 5-11, 190. and was considered a free agent by many. Grade: B

Round 7, Greg McCoy, CB, TCU…Four-year starter at TCU and valuable kick returner. Mountain West special teams player of the year. Returned two kickoffs for touchdowns (99, 94 yards). Will battle Frey and several veterans for a roster spot. Return skills help him. Grade: B-

Overall Grade: B-  Emery will be judged by the first pick of his tenure, McClellin, and it could go either way. Jeffery should help the Bears passing game and be an inviting target. Hardin could push for playing time if he can stay healthy and shake off the rust. Rodriguez is a major character risk and will need steady nurturing. Either Frey or McCoy could make the team, end up on the practice squad, or be training camp casualties.

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