Chicago Bears: Grading their 2011 NFL Draft


1st round:  Gabe Carimi, T, Wisconsin

Carimi is a massive tackle prospect most consider a RT only player in the N.F.L. Though he has adequate athleticism for a LT (think David Diehl).

Philosophy: A

The Bears needed an offensive linemen and they got the best one left on the board. When you can get a talented offensive linemen it’s always a good move. Linemen can play 10-15 years on one team in the league if they are successful.

Player Value A-

I can’t think of many players who were clearly better value there. Da’quan Bowers was, but he has that nasty knee injury. Our consensus rankings had Carimi fairly high (21st). Great pick by the Bears.

2nd Round: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

Paea was a standout on the bench press at the combine, but also on the football field. Paea doesn’t have great pass rushing moves, but is a dominant run stuffer. Paea doesn’t have elite size (not as important in the Tampa 2), and needs more refinement, but is a good physical specimen who produced on the football field.

Philosophy: A The Bears again added to the trenches with this pick. Tommie Harris was an emerging star a few years ago, but was benched this past season and looks to be on his way out so the Bears needed a replacement.

Player value A-Another plus pick by the Bears. Paea was a first round caliber talent in this draft class and the Bears got him at 53rd overall. Paea should be able to use his heavy hands and quickness to shoot gaps and disrupt in the Bears system.

3rd Round: Chris Conte, DB, California

Chris Conte is a player that has a pretty decent size to speed ratio, but lacks experience playing football.

Player Value C-

Not a huge fan of this pick. In the third round the Bears seem to reach here instead of take great value. Conte might fit the Bears system better than most systems, but the Bears passed on a lot more talented players to take Conte. The Bears could have added more talent on the offensive line with Clint Boling, another running back to pair with Matt Forte, or even grabbed a better safety in Quinton Carter out of Oklahoma.

5th Round: Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho

Enderle has ideal size at 6’4 240 pounds and is considered a hard worker who will do what it takes to learn the playbook. Enderle is a nice developmental prospect who could end up being a solid backup quarterback for a decade.

Player value C

This is an average value pick. There were many better players available, but I don’t hate the pick. I just would have gone in a different direction.

6th round: James Thomas, LB, West Virginia

A 6’1 240 pounds linebacker out of West Virginia who has good speed and excellent pass coverage.

Player value: B

I liked this pick for the Bears. Thomas is a good fit in the Tampa 2 system with his speed and pass coverage abilities. He may not blow up blockers to crush ball carriers, but will be a guy who can swarm tackle and excel in pass coverage, which is what the Bears are looking for in their linebackers.


The Chicago Bears addressed needs throughout the draft and while they did it was great value early they had a average picks in the late rounds.

I always weigh the first two rounds more than the rest of the draft because those are the rounds where most of the quality N.F.L. players are round and the Bears had a great first two rounds. The rest of the draft was fairly average.

Overall Grade: B

What do you think Bears fans?

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