2011 was a fascinating year for Chicago’s pro sports teams on their respective draft days. The Bulls hit a home run with Jimmy Butler, the Hawks struck gold with both Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw. The Cubs are waiting to see how Javy Baez plays out and the White Sox… well, yeah.
As we turn our attention to the final team in our five year rear view mirror series, it’s time to take out your Zoloft.
The 2011 NFL Draft wasn’t a good one for the Chicago Bears.
The 2011 NFL Draft started with the two centerpieces from the most recent Super Bowl: Carolina quarterback Cam Newton went number one and Denver linebacker Von Miller went number two. The picks that followed included stars AJ Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones and JJ Watt. The Bears weren’t on the clock until the 29th pick.
- With the 29th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected offensive tackle Gabe Carimi.
The two picks that immediately followed Carimi? Defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Cameron Heyward. The third and fourth picks of the second round: quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick. Linebackers Akeem Ayers and Bruce Carter, tight end Kyle Rudolph and defensive back Rahim Moore all came off the board before the Bears’ next pick.
- With the 53rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected defensive tackle Stephen Paea.
Paea had a nice stay with the Bears before moving on. But, again the list of players who came off the board between Paea and the Bears’ next pick is painful to read. Included in that list are: Torrey Smith, Randall Cobb, Justin Houston and DeMarco Murray.
Chicago didn’t have a pick in the fourth round, so they needed to make their third round selection matter.
- With the 93rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected safety Chris Conte.
Still on the board when the Bears took Conte: KJ Wright, Sam Acho, Jordan Cameron, Cecil Shorts, Julius Thomas and Denarious Moore. If the Bears wanted to address their secondary, they could have taken Richard Sherman, who fell all the way to the 154th pick. But no. They took Conte.
- With the 160th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected quarterback Nathan Enderle.
Five picks later, the Ravens selected Pernell McPhee. Also still available: Charles Clay, Bryon Maxwell, Tyord Taylor and Jason Kelce.
- With the 195th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected linebacker JT Thomas.
The pathetic part about this draft is Thomas, the Bears’ last pick, might have the brightest future. He has started 21 games over the last two years for Jacksonville and the New York Giants and has two interceptions. But he only appeared in 16 games over one season with the Bears, starting zero and piling up three total tackles.