by Adam Fournier, Ourlads’ Intern
Since their appearance in 2010 NFC Championship Games, the Bears have pretty much been a trainwreck. Last season the Bears registered their lowest win total since 2004. Several of the problems can be attributed to the lack of success they have had in the draft in recent years. Although they have not had many selections over the past five years, a majority of the picks have not made a big impact. Only two players remain on the team from the 2010-2012 Drafts and only one of the two will be starting in 2015.
The biggest miss over the five-year span is 2011 1st round pick Gabe Carimi. Carimi spent only two years with the team and is currently out of the NFL. Carimi missed a significant chunk of his rookie year with injury and then was traded for a 6th round pick after his second year with the team. The Bears’ 1st round pick the following year has also failed to live up to the first round billing. Shea McClellin has only started 20 games in his three years with Chicago and is projected as a reserve in 2015. Chicago also drafted two quarterbacks, Dan LeFevour and Nathan Enderle, over this three-year stretch and neither lasted more than a season with Chicago. The Bears fourth round pick also goes in the miss category as tight end Evan Rodriguez was released after only one season with the team following an arrest. Khaseem Greene was also released after just two seasons with the Bears after being selected in the 4th round in 2013.
It has not been all misses for Chicago in the past five years, as they have hit it big time with Alshon Jeffery and Kyle Long. Jeffery has emerged as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL over the past two seasons including a 2013 Pro Bowl selection. The Bears will be relying even more heavily on Jeffery in 2015 following the departure of Brandon Marshall. Long has also been hugely successful since being drafted in the 1st round in 2013. Howie’s son has made the Pro Bowl in both his seasons with the Bears and is one of the best young lineman in the NFL. Both of these players will need to be huge for Jay Cutler and the Bears in 2015.
The 2014 Draft class looks like it could be a good one. While it is way too early to tell, the Bears could have potential starters for years based on their rookie seasons. Kyle Fuller, Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton, and Brock Vereen all made contributions to the Bears defense in their first year. Fuller started 14 games and has shown that he has the potential to be a special cornerback in the league. Ferguson and Sutton also showed flashes of their potential on the defensive line. All four players will get their chance to excel in 2015 as they are all projected to be starters in 2015.