Stale Draft Bears: Top 5 Draft Mistakes of the Last 10 Years

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In the midst of all the mock drafts and draft build up, I thought that we’d take a break and reminisce on the last 10 years of Bears draft picks. In the first of 2 pieces, I will break down the worst Bears picks of last 10 years in something I call Stale Draft Bears (thanks – I’ll be here all week). With being so many, it was not as easy as I thought and it was a little disturbing to say the least.

There are many factors to consider when adding a player to this list which include: the pick that was given up for the player, the player’s production for the Bears, injuries, how much of a reach was the pick and finally, the team’s need for the player’s position at the time of the pick. If you are one of those people that believe that an injury cannot give a player a “bust” label…’re wrong.

Phil Emery, if you’re reading this, which you are probably not, please take notes:

#5- Brandon Hardin 2012, 3rd Rd #16, S – Shea McClellin 2012, 1st Rd #19, DE/LB

Aug 18, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen (82) is tackled by Chicago Bears free safety Brandon Hardin (35) during the second half at Soldier Field. Hardin was injured on the play. The Bears won 33-31. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

I couldn’t decide what was worse here, so I included both. The inaugural draft for GM Phil Emery, aside from Alshon Jeffrey, was a forgettable one to say the least. Hardin, who was considered a reach at the time, was projected to be drafted in the 4th round by many mock drafts. Phil Emery drafted Hardin who missed the whole 2011 college season due to injury and guess what? He got injured again in 2012. He was released by the Bears without ever playing a regular season snap before the 2013 season. How do you not even make the team when your competition is Chris Conte, Craig Steltz and Major Wright? If you pick a safety in round 3, he should be starting by year #3. Not only did he go in the other direction, he couldn’t even earn a roster spot on a team with arguably the worst safety group in the NFL. I understand that he was injured, but he would have not made the team even if he was healthy.

Dec 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Shea McClellin (99) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Many probably think I’m jumping the gun on Shea. However, when the team is switching your position after 2 seasons and you are a long shot to start, this is called “getting desperate.” Coming out of college, according to many scouts, McClellin was best suited for a 3-4 defensive scheme and was noted as a speed rusher. He has not proven to have the pass rushing ability and the Bears do not run a 3-4, further raising questions about this inaugural pick for the Bears’ new GM. Having only 6.5 sacks and 44 tackles in 2 full seasons is unacceptable. I’m not sure how poor run stopping skills, poor ability to get off of a block and inconsistent pass rushing abilities translates into a successful NFL linebacker either? I hope he proves me wrong. It’s safe to say at this point that these are picks that Phil Emery would love to have back.