Draft Evaluation, Rounds 1-3…
The first three rounds of the NFL draft are concluded; and if you would have said on Thursday morning that the Bears would end up with 3 players who cold start immediately at OT, DT, and FS, I think I can speak for most Bears fans in saying that we would have been pretty darn excited. The only question I have is this—did we really have to give up that 4th-rounder to get DT Stephen Paea? Was he rated that much higher than Drake Nevis or Terrell McClain, who we could have gotten later? But we drafted good value; all three players were rated higher than where we took them. On to the evaluation of the three picks:
1st Round, Pick #29: GABE CARIMI, OT, WISCONSIN…I had him as the #1-rated OT on my ratings; but I never had him as an option for the Bears because I never expected him to still be there at #29. The only question is whether you put Carimi at LT, or at RT and slide Webb over to LT. Wherever you put Carimi, plug him in from Day 1 and forget about that position for the next 10 years. Nate Solder and Tyron Smith may have the most upside, but Carimi is the most ready to step in this season, and shows that the Bears are trying to WIN NOW. Jay Cutler is a happy man today. Watch a video on Carimi versus fellow 1st-rounders Adrian Clayborn and Cameron Heyward.
See his full scouting report here.
2nd Round, Pick #53: STEPHEN PAEA, DT, OREGON STATE…I don’t mind this pick. Stephen Paea will be a solid player in the NFL. I did not even have him on my scouting report because most people did not have him projected as a fit in the Bears’ cover-2 scheme. He set the NFL combine record for bench presses with 49 REPS at 22 POUNDS–not bad for a guy who barely scrapes 300 pounds. He is not going to get into the backfield and disrupt plays like a Marvin Austin or Drake Nevis. THe only theory I have is that the Bears are moving Henry Melton to the 3-technique tackle. So you need a guy at the other tackle who can take on double teams and be stout against the run. When Tampa Bay had Warren Sapp at the 3-technique, they always had Anthony McFarland at the other tackle, who was stout against the run and never got pushed back—which allowed Sapp to be the player he was. I think Paea can DEFINITELY be that guy. And he has a non-stop motor and plays tough in the trenches. Not a bad pick; but again, I am not sure I would have traded a 4th-rounder to move up an get him. I think once Marvin Austin was picked at #52, the Bears panicked a little and wanted to make sure they got SOMEONE who could upgrade the DT position.
Here is video of Paea against Oregon. and USC. And here puttin up those 49 reps at the combine.
And here is his scouting report.
Round 3, Pick #93: CHRIS CONTE, FS, CALIFORNIA…I had the Bears taking a CB-turned-FS in this draft; just the wrong one. Chris Conte was a backup CB at Cal until this past season, and needless to say he made the transition pretty smoothly. He already has the best range of any of our safeties, and his CB background means he can guard sot WRs and TEs if we switch to man coverage in blitz packages. I know Bears fans are a little bitter about the white DB thing, wth past experiences of Adam Archuleta and Craig Steltz. But Conte is a more fluid athlete than either of those guys, and Major Wright better take notice, or his time as a starting safety for the Bears might be short-lived. And I think this means Danieal Manning is gone.
Here is some video of Cal’s DBs, which include some of Conte.
And a scouting report here.
Anytime you can get 3 (possible) immediate starters in the first 3 rounds, it has to be considered a successful draft so far. That 4th-rounder would have been nice for a WR or LB; so we will have to be sure to draft depth for those positions with our 5th and 6th rounders.