Top Pick Down, Out-Familiar?

If I were a texting teenage girl, I guess my reaction would be “OMG!” As in, oh…my…God.

Tackle Chris Williams from Vanderbilt was the exact player I wanted the Bears to select in April’s draft. So it’s not as if I’m reversing what my position was at that time. I followed all the pre-draft evaluation closely, and heard most notably NFL Network’s Mike Mayock comment that Williams had fallen off some team’s boards due to health issues. Health issues including back problems. So I was relying on the facts that Chicago’s doctors examined him as closely as any other team did, the results of which I wasn’t privy to, of course.

Williams signed a $16 million deal with $9.2 million guaranteed on the eve of camp. Reported to practice on time, and promptly went down in a heap and couldn’t practice with alleged back spasms. Returning from the game last night, I learned what others did before the game-that Williams just had surgery to repair a disc problem in his lower back. While the Bears say publicly he will remain on the 53-man roster and be back this season, the major skeptic in me doubts that.

As a matter of fact, according to Mike Mulligan who surveyed other team’s scouts at last night’s game, this is not a minor injury. To quote one of the scouts: “That is a very serious injury for a lineman-I would be more worried about his career than this season.”

This is a disaster. On the heels of cutting Cedric Benson, who along with second-round pick Mark Bradley from 2005 are making the draft from three years ago look laughable, Jerry Angelo and his staff should have known better. I preferred Williams to Jeff Otah and potential tackle Branden Albert, but again I didn’t know the extent of his medical conditions. Conditions that other teams felt were pre-existing, while the Bears don’t.

Angelo used to preach of drafting players that had a stronger floor than ceiling. His latest pick looks as though he fell on the floor before he became a Bear. Wonderful.

3 Responses to “Top Pick Down, Out-Familiar?”

  1. I almost threw up when I heard this last night.

  2. $1000 MRI vs. $9.2 million guaranteed!

  3. Last year, Ryan Harris in Denver had the same surgery and came back in the sixth game of the season, but he had it early in training camp, not the day of the first preseason game. Still, when he comes back he will have to practice before he actually gets a start. This is very disheartening, especially since our defense wasn’t looking as good as we all hoped it would.

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