By Abe Munch
1st- Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
2nd- Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
3rd- Chris Conte, S/CB, California
5th- Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho
6th- J.T. Thomas, LB, West Virginia
Synopsis: The Bears needed to add a player that could hold up in pass protection for Jay Cutler, who was one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL last year. They also needed a replacement for the recently released Tommie Harris on the defensive line. Chicago solved both problems early with their first two picks of Gabe Carimi and Stephen Paea.
Best Selection: Gabe Carimi. Carimi was one of the strongest run defenders I’d ever seen at the college level- a true road grader. His pass protection isn’t completely refined yet, but I believe he’s very capable of playing the left side. A very confident and tough player, he should fit in well in Chicago.
Biggest Risk: Not selecting any skill players. The Bears were 30th in total offense last year and were bottom of the league running and passing. Jay Cutler needs a big, physical receiver outside, and Matt Forte needs a reliable change-of-pace runner behind him.
Sleeper: J.T. Thomas. Thomas has marginal size but he was drafted by the right team and right defensive scheme. His athleticism and agility are only adequate but he has a good motor and plays the game extremely physical with standout aggressiveness. He could develop into a reliable depth player on the weak side and should be an immediate contributor on special teams.
General manager Jerry Angelo didn’t have a full set of draft picks but he hit on his first two selections of Gabe Carimi and Stephen Paea. Chris Conte is an intriguing player who played both safety and cornerback. Nathan Enderle gives Mike Martz a developmental quarterback with NFL qualities. They still should’ve found a way to give Jay Cutler an extra weapon or two.