How did the Chicago Bears fare in the 2012 NFL Draft?
To spark up the offseason we are going to go back in time and regrade the Bears drafts of the past decade. Some will be a lot easier to grade than others but it will be a good exercise to look at recent history and compare it to what the team has and has not learned over its hits and misses. This edition, we will focus on the 2012 NFL draft.
1. Shea McClellin, LB, Boise State
McClellin was a mid-round prospect who shot up the first round thanks to his combine performance. Unfortunately for the Bears, this was one of the combine warriors who did not see it translate onto the field. The biggest issue with the progression on McLellin was that the Bears did not know how to use him. Some saw him as a defensive end, others as a linebacker. The Bears started him out at defensive end, but he hardly saw the field as a rookie.
Then, the Bears changed head coaches. This brought in an entirely new defensive scheme. From a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 linebacker, McClellin saw his play pick up a bit. However, he recorded four sacks that season, and three them came in one game. McClellin moved around from outside linebacker to inside linebacker and by his fourth season in the league, it was clear he was just a role player. The Bears let him walk after his rookie contract, where the New England Patriots signed him to a three-year deal. Fortunately for Bears fans, even the Patriots could not figure out a way to bring out the best in McClellin, although he did play in 380 snaps last season.
2. Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Unlike most of their draft trades in the past, the Bears actually won this draft trade. The Bears targeted Alshon Jeffery and they moved up five spots and threw in a fifth round pick to make sure they got their guy. The trade turned out to be Isaiah Pead and Rokevious Watkins for Jeffery, a clear win for Chicago.
We all should know how the story of Jeffery has gone so far. Jeffery had an average rookie year before exploding onto the scene with two huge seasons that saw 17 combined touchdowns. Unfortunately, injury struck and of the next 32 games, he was only able to participate in 20 of them. Jeffery had two touchdowns in 12 games for the Bears before a PED suspension took him out for four games, and the Bears ultimately decided to let him walk. Jeffery has recently signed with the Eagles. Still, the trade was a win and the two huge year’s of Jeffery were worth the selection.