More Scrutiny on Angelo

Following the release of his top two draft picks from just one year ago, defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert and wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias, further scrutiny should be placed on GM Jerry Angelo’s draft record.

Angelo has now run nine drafts for the Bears.  He has hit on some players, yes, including LB Lance Briggs (3/2003), CB Charles Tillman (2/2003), and kick returner Devin Hester (2/2006).  DT Tommie Harris (1/2004) was a star for two years before flaming out, but potential remains.  TE Greg Olsen (1/2007) has been solid if not spectacular.  CB Zack Bowman (5/2008) has a lot of potential if he can remain healthy, and we’re going to see if WR Johnny Knox (5/2009) can continue the promise he showed in his rookie season.  The jury remains out on Chris Williams and Matt Forte (1-2/2008), Danieal Manning (2/2006), Chris Harris (6/2005, traded then re-acquired) and Mark Anderson (5/2006).

I just named 12 players.  Not including the 5 picks from 2010 as it’s too early to say anything about any of them, Angelo has made 72 selections in his tenure.  Granted I’m leaving out a few players that are still around but haven’t done anything notable such as Garrett Wolfe, Lance Louis, etc. (eight players in total).  Adding this up, out of Angelo’s 72 picks in nine years, 12 have or may still make an impact, and eight more are still with the team.  Several more are still in the league as non-factors, and Bernard Berrian (3/2004) played well for the Bears and landed a superstar deal in Minnesota.

I would also not fault Angelo for Rex Grossman (1/2003), who ultimately didn’t work out in Chicago but played well enough to shephard the Bear offense to 15 wins and a Super Bowl in 2006.

Other than this, Angelo made around 46 picks that never did anything.  He deserves major credit for finding guys like Harris, Anderson, Bowman and Louis in the late rounds.  But he should be scrutinized for the absolutely blown picks of Roosevelt Williams (3/2002), Michael Haynes (1/2003), Cedric Benson and Mark Bradley (1-2/2005), Dan Bazuin (2/2007), and to a lesser degree Gilbert (3/2007).  He also had plain bad luck when Marc Colombo (1/2002) was injured when with the Bears but recovered to play well late in his career.

I won’t even mention Angelo trading a 2010 second-round pick for deceased DE Gaines Adams, who never made an impact in his half year as a Bear.

As if that’s not enough to question Angelo’s ability to draft, consider this.  It was widely rumored that Jerry Angelo coveted Ohio safety Mike Mitchell in the second round of the 2009 draft.  Mitchell was projected as a sixth or seventh round pick until bizarre owner Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders took him three spots ahead of Angelo.  The Bears then traded out of the second round entirely, missing the chance to take the guy I would have liked to see (Vikings starting right tackle Phil Loadholt).  They ended up with Gilbert (cut) and Henry Melton (backup defensive lineman).

Now it was reported that Oakland would have cut Mitchell this year if not for the intervention of Davis.

Moral of the story, if the 2010 season goes up in flames, we all know that Lovie Smith will probably be dismissed.  If Smith goes but Angelo and his 20% success rate in drafts remains, it will be another in a series of catastrophic decisions for the Chicago Bears organization.

6 Responses to “More Scrutiny on Angelo”

  1. I’d be curious to see what the average drafting success rate is, specifically what the success rates are for teams like the Colts, Patriots, Steelers, etc. I think Brad Biggs did a write up of that some time last year…but I could be wrong.

  2. Jerry Angelo is a disaster! Not that I think the Cutler trade was horrible,but that wasn’t the answer. Who does he have to throw to? We dealt 2 first round picks which could have went on a WR or DT or CB or S… etc. I obviously hope not, but I think it’s gonna be a long season. Lovie will probably be gone, Angelo will still be around and God help that fool if he drafts one more player or signs a FA from Florida(thankfully Tebow was out of Angelo’s reach) PLEASE GOD SAY IT ISN’T SO, but Martz will probably be the HC… assuming there isn’t a lockout in 2011. Here’s what I think is the problem, I think JA(Jerry Angelo) isn’t in the business of winning football games, I think he is trying to keep the moola rolling in. Papa Bear passed a long time ago and I’m sorry to say but, I think the McCaskeys just want to keep the money rolling in. Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor signings look like football moves, but I think it was window dressing to sell season tickets. I don’t have season ticket sales numbers to back any of this up, just a hunch. We should’ve made a serious run at Gruden or Cowher, YOU KNOW THOSE TWO DON’T BS AROUND! Someone look me in the eye and tell me Cowher wouldn’t kick some asses in gear and get things right. I love the Bears and hopefully always will! This team has disaster written all over it, I hope to God I’m wrong.

  3. I checked out “draft success rate nfl” and found this guy’s data: There’s a draft compilation for 2004-2008.
    Although the bears rank 11th for draftees still on roster and 10th in pro-bowler percentage, they rank 29th for starting their draftees. SO it looks like we like to keep them, typically getting on the one hand, pro-bowlers and on the other hand, non-starters. Compared to other teams, it’s like home-runs or strike-outs exclusively.

    If we say that drafting well translates into having lots of wins with lots of draftees on the roster, then take “% still on roster” times “winning %” and find that we would rank 11th. That makes Angelo look decent.
    If we say that drafting well translates into having lots of wins with lots of draftees starting, then take “% of starters” times “winning %” and find that we would rank 21th. That makes Angelo look “well below average”.
    It’s probably a bit of both, making Angelo just about “average” in his “high-risk/high-reward” philosophy.

  4. Great comments guys, and nice work on that link Sven. I realize NO NFL ORGANIZATION IS PERFECT AT DRAFTING. I know this. Most great organizations may hit on 40% of their picks, that’s just the way it goes. But after this season it’s going to be time to judge the entire organization on their record, not maintain the status quo. And I’m sure most stopping by here will agree with that.

  5. I’m sure you didn’t expect this to be an exhaustive post on the subject, but you can credit Angelo for Alex Brown, as well.

    And FWIW, while the rumor about Mitchell was out there, Angelo and the Bears denied it after it came out. IIRC they said they were interested in Mitchell but in a much later round.

    I feel like Angelo has had some success drafting, but I have to question his general team-making strategy in the last 3 years or so. Too often we’ve been taking guys who need to develop when we don’t have room to develop them. Take Iglesias; WRs are almost never ready their first year; they need time. But the time and patience that Iglesias needed was also needed by Devin Hester and Earl Bennett (not to mention Johnny Knox, who admittedly was added later in the draft). A similar problem emerged with the drafting of Dan LeFevour. There’s only so much developing a team can do; adding guys when you don’t have the ability to wait out their growth cycle is really unproductive.

  6. Nice post Kenneth. And you’re right, I totally whiffed on Alex Brown-he deserves credit there for sure. I hope Alex nails him some Favre tonight.

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