I was still pissed about the Bears drafting a punter when the news broke that the Bears signed Florida St LB Christian Jones. If the Bears had drafted Jones with their second 6th round pick instead of a punter I would be ecstatic, so I guess I have nothing to complain about anymore. This was such a deep draft that there were 46 players I had ranked with a draftable grade still available in the UFA round. Unfortunately the Bears only ended up with three of those players, but at least they got Jones who I had ranked as the #1 ranked UFA available.
Some fans don’t pay attention to the UFA portion of the draft and think none of these players have a chance to make the team much less contribute, but there are plenty of examples of other teams finding Pro Bowl talent after the draft including recent players like Arian Foster, Wes Welker, Vontaze Burfict, Priest Holmes, Kurt Warner, Jeff Saturday, and Antonio Gates, Here is a breakdown of the players the Bears added in the UFA round:
1.) OLB Christian Jones, Florida St (6’3, 240) – Great athlete with good size and speed who is still developing as a football player and needs to improve his technique and play recognition skills. Despite his raw technique, he was very effective at FSU as an OLB and DE on passing downs. Jones shows natural ability to shed blocks, rush the passer, and cover both tight ends and running backs. There isn’t much Jones can’t do athletically and he could help the Bears at any linebacker spot. Personally I think his best spot would be at strong side linebacker, but he could fill in wherever needed. Why would a guy this talented be available after the draft? Jones failed a drug test at the combine but that is the only off-field red flag I’ve heard off. Draft Grade: 3rd Round
2.) OG Ryan Groy, Wisconsin (6’5, 316): Groy is a massive guard with good power, but limited mobility. He is a dominant run blocker when asked to handle the man in front of him, but struggles when asked to move laterally. Classic phone-booth mauler who is decent in pass pro but struggles with elite speed rushers. Groy could eventually become an solid run-blocker, but will always struggle a little in pass pro. Draft Grade: 5th-6th Round