Draft Weekend

The NFL draft was last weekend. If you ever wanted to learn about the subtle intricacies of the game of football, don’t watch the games themselves. Watch ESPN’s live coverage of the draft. A team selects a player, and then you get a breakdown of that player’s strengths and weaknesses. When watching a game it is easy to deduce the pros and cons of the players who actually handle the ball, but the other guys kinda get lost in the messy pile of players in the middle. But watching the draft you learn that that messy pile is not a mess at all, and is instead the result of careful strategy, finding ways to combine the specific skill sets of individual players into one of two goals: Move the ball, or stop the ball.

In this football fan’s humble opinion, the Bears had one of their best draft weekends in recent years. They shored up their aging offensive line, added depth at key defensive positions, and made for some interesting preseason competition at running back and wide receiver. I’m particularly excited about our first-round pick, OT Chris Williams from Vanderbilt. Six-six, 315 pounds, Williams will provide badly needed pass protection from the left side of the line, and will also allow the old left tackle, John Tait, to return to the right side where he has more experience. Given how porous our offensive line was last year, don’t be surprised if Williams gets added to the mix early. He’s smart, disciplined player, which counts for quite a lot at the pro level. I think I’m gonna like this guy.

I’m also very interested in seeing what happens with our 2nd-round pick, RB Matt Forte from Tulane. Forte finished his college career as the second-ranked running back in the country, with 2,127 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns. Coming from Tulane it might be argued that he hasn’t played much against heavy competition, but his impressive display at the NFL scouting combine (this guy ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds!) gave a few more points in his favor. He’s a big guy, more of a down-hill, crash-through-the-line kind of back, rather than a guy who makes quick cuts on the outside, which interests me because that’s pretty much the same description as last year’s starter Cedric Benson. Benson has been pretty much a bust since he held out on his first contract after his own draft. He’s been plagued with injuries, and just hasn’t lived up to the hype. Holding onto Benson while trading Thomas Jones was probably the biggest mistake of last year’s offseason.

There’s been a lot of buzz about the fact that the Bears did not draft a quarterback this year. The Bears have already committed to giving Rex Grossman one last shot at regaining the brilliance he showed flashes of two years ago. I think that’s the right move, especially when you consider that there just weren’t that many stand-out QBs available in the draft this year. I doubt that there is any position in football that has a more difficult transition from college to the professional level, and there are just too many intangibles to accurately assess which players have what it takes make it in the NFL. I think it’s safe to say, however, that if we don’t at least make the first round of playoffs then this will be the last we see of both Grossman and Kyle Orton in Bears jerseys.

There won’t be much more football news until it gets closer to the start of preseason, so we shall just have to content ourselves with the fact that right now both of our baseball teams are still at the top of their respective divisions. (Well, as of last night the Cubs are tied at the top of theirs, but the Sox are 2.5 games up! Awesome!)

Bear Down!

1 Comment so far

  1. Draft Weekend | GOT COLTS (pingback) on April 30th, 2008 @ 10:47 am

    […] The NFL draft was last weekend. If you ever wanted to learn about the subtle intricacies of the game of football, don’t watch the games themselves.http://chicago.metblogs.com/2008/04/30/dra… […]

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