With the 2017 NFL Draft in the books, many media outlet draft analysts have given their expert opinions on the winners and losers of the draft. But only a handful of teams have drafted well and set themselves up for future success. While teams like the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons have had success drafting, many teams have spent years drafting without any success — the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Washington Redskins to name a few.
Out of 32 NFL teams, which have had good drafts from 2012-2016? Which organizations can we trust to make the right decisions when evaluating talent to rebuild a franchise? Let’s begin with the NFC North. The Chicago Bears are on the clock.
Round 1: No. 19 Shea McClellin (DE), Boise State
Round 2: No. 45 Alshon Jeffery (WR), South Carolina
Round 3: No. 79 Brandon Hardin (FS), Oregon State
Round 4: No. 111 Evan Rodriguez (TE), Temple
Round 6: No. 184 Isaiah Frey (CB), Nevada-Reno
Round 7: No. 220 Greg McCoy (CB), Texas Christian
The Bears swung and missed in this year’s draft. Alshon Jeffery was the saving grace, but the star wide receiver is no longer with the Bears after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles this past offseason. Shea McClellin has declined each year since entering the league, and is now a member of the New England Patriots, but is a minimal contributor. The 2012 draft was a very forgettable one for the Chicago Bears.
Round 1: No. 20 Kyle Long (OG), Oregon
Round 2: No. 50 Jon Bostic (ILB), Florida
Round 4: No.117 Khaseem Greene (OLB), Rutgers
Round 5: No. 163 Jordan Mills (OT), Louisiana Tech
Round 6: No. 188 Cornelius Washington (DE), Georgia
Round 7: No. 236 Marquess Wilson (WR), Washington State
Similar to the 2012 draft, the Bears had a very underwhelming 2013 draft. Kyle Long is a very talented guard who is ranked among the best in the league, but suffered major injuries last season. Despite a full recovery, it’s unclear what form he’ll be in next season. The rest of this draft class was a bust for the Bears.
Round 1: No. 14 Kyle Fuller (CB), Virginia Tech
Round 2: No. 51 Ego Ferguson (DT), LSU
Round 3: No. 82 Will Sutton (DT), Arizona State
Round 4: No. 117 Ka'Deem Carey (RB), Arizona
Round 4: No. 131 Brock Vereen (SS), Minnesota
Round 6: No. 183 David Fales (QB), San Jose State
Round 6: No. 191 Pat O'Donnell (P) Miami (Fla.)
Round 7: No. 246 Charles Leno (OT), Boise State
Charles Leno has room for improvement, but the Bears have shown they believe he can develop into a capable starter. Pat O’Donnell has become a reliable punter, and Kyle Fuller has shown great potential at cornerback when healthy. The 2014 draft hasn’t produced great results for the Bears, but Fuller’s potential may be worth it.
Round 1: No. 7 Kevin White (WR), West Virginia
Round 2: No. 39 Eddie Goldman (DT), Florida State
Round 3: No. 71 Hroniss Grasu (C), Oregon
Round 4: No. 106 Jeremy Langford (RB), Michigan State
Round 5: No. 142 Adrian Amos (S), Penn State
Round 6: No. 183 Tayo Fabuluje (OT), Texas Christian
This will be a huge year for Kevin White. White has missed 28-of-32 games since entering the league due to a fractured left tibia, fibular spiral fracture, and severe ankle ligament damage. White had one of the most impressive combines out of anyone in the draft class, solidifying his top 10 draft status. He needs to have a very productive year to live up to the no. 7 pick overall, or the Bears will have to look elsewhere for production at the wide receiver position. Adrian Amos served as a capable starter last year, but he isn’t a lock for a starting role. Jeremy Langford had opened the season as the starter, but had an underwhelming couple of weeks before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Hroniss Grasu played inconsistently before suffering a torn ACL at training camp, and Eddie Goldman played very well before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. The talent from this class is there, but none of these players can seem to stay healthy on the field. If the players can put together healthy, productive seasons, this could end up being a great draft class for the Bears.
Round 1: No. 9 Leonard Floyd (LB), Georgia
Round 2: No. 56 Cody Whitehair (C), Kansas State
Round 3: No. 72 Jonathan Bullard (DE), Florida
Round 4: No. 113 Nick Kwiatkoski (LB), West Virginia
Round 4: No. 124 Deon Bush (S), Miami (Fla.)
Round 4: No. 127 Deiondre' Hall (S), Northern Iowa
Round 5: No. 150 Jordan Howard (RB), Indiana
Round 6: No. 185 DeAndre Houston-Carson (S), William & Mary
Round 7: No. 230 Daniel Braverman (WR), Western Michigan
The Bears traded up to the No. 9 pick to select Leonard Floyd, who looked terrific as a pass-rusher in his rookie year. Unfortunately like many previous Bears’ draft picks, Floyd was plagued by injuries. He was concussed twice in his rookie year, limiting his production toward the end of the season. Cody Whitehair played well as the starting center, unexpectedly taking the spot from Ted Larsen. Both Jonathan Bullard and Nick Kwiatkoski worked their way into the defensive rotation, and running back Jordan Howard set the Bears' rookie rushing record, finishing the year with 252 carries for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns. If the Bears can get this high level of production from Floyd, Whitehair and Howard moving forward, it’ll be considered a fantastic draft class.