Bears first two draft classes: the bright side

The injuries of Jay Cutler and Charles Tillman have been discussed at length on Chicago radio airwaves and in newspapers all week. And rightfully so.

Cutler is the Bears’ starting quarterback, and Tillman is arguably the best cornerback in franchise history that may have played his last game as a Bear.

But Thanksgiving is approaching, it’s only snowed once so far in the Windy City and the Bears actually have two quarterbacks seemingly capable of running an NFL offense. So for today’s column, let’s get positive for a change.

Remember that time Jerry Angelo single handedly decimated the Bears’ depth with atrocious drafting? I mean, it would be tough not to, seeing as how it lasted for the better part of ten years. And without question, drafting and developing young talent is the most important component of being an NFL general manager.

Sure, the jury is still out on Shea McClelin. But according to an ESPN Insider piece written by Todd McShay, the Bears have the No.4 group in regards to draft classes over the past two years.

Suffice it to say they have come a long way from Dan Buzuin and Michael Okwo.

Particularly, general manager Phil Emery has proven he has an eye for offense. He solidified the right side of the offensive line with Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, first and fifth round picks, respectively.

Who knew you could find solid offensive linemen in the fifth round of the draft? Heck, Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi were beginning to make Chicago fans think they didn’t even exist in the first round.

But really. In the grand scheme of things, finding Long and Mills in the same draft is huge. While Jermon Bushrod is still in his prime at left tackle, it’s conceivable to think Long could eventually excel there seeing as how well he’s played at right guard after just four collegiate starter. It’s not as though he’s short of anything from an athletic standpoint.

And before Emery came to town, when was the last time the Bears had a 1,000-yard receiver? Thanks to the trade for Brandon Marshall and the emergence of 2012 second round selection Alshon Jeffery, who is on pace for an astounding 1,300 yards this season, the Bears are likely to have two.


Yes, the Bears defense is currently a mess. It’s old, slow, and might even get torched by the likes of Joe Flacco this Sunday.

But, dare I say it, Emery isn’t going to have much to fix on the offensive side of the ball this offseason. Perhaps a new slot receiver or an interior lineman, but either of those can be found in free agency or the late rounds of the draft.

I, for one, am willing to give Emery a chance to build the defense in just two years, just as he proved he could with the offense. An offense that, for all intents and purpose, should only become more potent a they become more and more accustomed to Marc Trestman’s system (we’ve seem what year two in Denver with Peyton Manning has looked like in comparison to year one, for instance.)

So yes, folks. This Sunday may be ugly. The Bears may even win, and it still likely won’t be stylish by any means.

Just know that beautiful times are ahead.

  • Thompson Way

    Yes, year two and how can you not have faith in Emery and Trestman. The two were cut from the same cloth. I still have that feeling that the Bears can win against anyone, and I sure that next year they will be stronger and deeper in talent.
    I am on the fence with Mel Tucker. I don’t think that you should ever get rid of a guy after his first year. Most of the time a coach needs more than a year to get his own plan working. For Tucker, the current management didn’t want him to change anything, putting him at a disadvantage. On the other hand, I felt that there were only two games that you could see Tuckers influence, or game plan, and maybe another where he made adjustments that improved the Bears D in the second half. It could be the guys he has, after the injuries, but it could be better. Of course, there are a couple coaches you would have to pounce on if they became available. Rivera, Singletary… maybe.

  • ManGod

    Phil Emery just needs to let Mel Tucker go….the reason he chose not to change the defense was simple…..he had nothing better to offer and the few times he has tried to tweak it have hurt the Bears defense all year long. Tucker in reality is the major problem with regards to defense. When you add the injuries to Tucker’s lack of imagination….you are left wondering where a solid if not great defense disappeared to.

    • funisnumberone

      C’mon man, you lose your pro bowlers in Melton and Briggs, your next two linemen step up and go down, you lose your veteran free agent linebacker so now you’re starting TWO rookies who aren’t ready, Tillman goes down, Wooten and McClellin are both playing out of position…it ‘aint the coach…they tried to keep continuity on the defense but it didn’t work because everybody got hurt….give the guys a year or two to straighten out the mess he has inherited….the great defense disappeared to the disabled list! OK, I wish they’d blitz more but he knows more than I do…

      • ManGod

        Wrong! There is only one rookie starting on defense and that is Bostic. Greene is only playing on about 1/4 of the defensive plays and he has been doing very well per Treastman. Tucker has only blitzed or utilized the blitz in one game successfully…after that his defensive play calling has lacked imagination or effectiveness. Look back at his history….same mediocre pay imagination and defensive play calls. He has never had a successful defense! The defense in Chicago is better statistically than any defense he has ever coached…even as decimated as this defense is with injuries and players playing in different positions. Those players are doing a decent job…but many times they are left out of position by playing the called schemes of Tucker.