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.


8 responses

  1. lincoln1

    If thats a case, then its a waste of a pick. you do not make a third round pick just to hope he can contribute on special teams. You hope to get a guy who can start either on your defense or on the other side of the ball

    May 10, 2011 at 7:24 am

    • unless the Bears feel really good about Harris and Wright starting in those spots this year. I am not sure you can consider Earl Bennett or DJ Moore wasted picks, even though they were essentially red-shirted their rookie years. I am not sure Aaron Rodgers can be considered a wasted pick, and he had to sit for 3 years.
      I am not saying I feel that the Bears are in good shape at safety, or that Conte can become as good as Aaron Rodgers—but you can;t call a pick wasted just because he may not start his rookie year.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:18 am

  2. lincoln1

    There are also sites out there that said Conte was a big, big reach who is not athletic enough to start in the NFL. We no doubt need a safety, but we need a safety who can play right away and make a huge impact

    May 2, 2011 at 10:05 am

    • Right or Wrong, I think this coaching staff is sold on Major Wright playing alongside Chris Harris for this next season; which means Conte will only see the field on special teams and in the event of an injury. I don’t think he was drafted for THIS season.

      May 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

  3. Thorsten

    I agree with you assessment of the Draft for the most part. 2 first pick are great and exactly what we needed. We were kinda lucky to get Carimi I thought. And I think it was necessary to trade up to get Paea cause I don’t think he would have been there at our original position. Now I also would have liked to have the 4th round pick, cause as you said they might have chosen Conte in the 4th round then and we maybe could have gotten a WR in the 3rd (even though they were flying off the board in the 3rd round). But frankly, the first two rounds are more important imo and if you can get the guys you want you pull the trigger unless the price isn’t right (like the Falcons trade which i still think was….inconvenient to say the least).

    I dunno much about Conte but Mayock liked the pick contrary to others I do believe Safety can be a position of need, especially when they do not re-sign Manning. Chris Harris is not getting any younger and Conte seems to be a true FS, a position that we’re not deep at.

    The QB pick in the 5th and the LB in the 6th were value picks I believe. Martz wanted a developmental QB which he now has and Thomas seems to be a good addition for special teams. Actually his highlight may suggest that he can be more in time.

    As for filling our needs I think the Bears knew they couldn’t fill all of em in this Draft. SO they tried to fill the most glaring one with the best players they could get and I feel they did that. I think they will go after a WR once FA starts, plus a CB and possibly a Guard.

    I feel good about this Draft really and I’d give the Bears a B for it.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    • at safety, you also have to consider that we do not seem to have Steltz in our long-term plans; Bullocks is mediocre AT BEST; and if the lockout drags on into July or August, you may not have many options on the FA market for safety depth.

      I agree with the B you gave the overall class—it could have been an A if they had held onto that 4th rounder and gotten WR Tandon Doss or CB Davon House.

      May 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

  4. lincoln1

    I like the first 2 picks. They can both start right away at positions that we need bodies at. I do agree however That I would not have traded up to get Paea. We have too many needs, just to be giving up picks, so this guy better be really good.

    I have no idea where you got your Conte information from. From what I heard he was a 5-6 round pick at best and may have been available once FA starts. he was the 20 ranked safety according to some. He was a huge reach at that slot for the bears, which is something they like to do for some reason. And like you said he is a white guy which unless U R Lynch or Sehorn you cant play

    May 1, 2011 at 6:36 am

    • Rated as the 95th overall prospect in the draft (3rd safety)…

      Rated as the 98th overall prospect here (3rd safety)…

      Rated as the 7th-best safety (3rd-5th round pick)..http://walterfootball.com/draft2011S.php

      I think the Bears, as they seemed to do with the attempted trade up get Carimi and the successful trade up to get Paea, PANICKED knowing they wouldn’t have a 4th-round pick and took Conte a round earlier than most teams would have. But we already have a team of SS-type safeties, and Conte might be the closest thing to a ballhawking rangy FS in this entire draft.

      May 1, 2011 at 6:52 am

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