NFL Draft 2011 Day Three: Chicago Bears With Surprising Addition Of Little Known QB In Round Five

The Bears trade away controversial fourth round pick to get strongman DT Stephen Paea

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Chicago Bears 2011 NFL Draft Concludes With Round 6 Selection Of West Virginia LB James Thomas

The 2011 NFL Draft has come to an end. For the Chicago Bears, it was a very nice three-day affair from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Not spectacular, but a very solid haul for a team that needed to acquire some important pieces in order to take the next step forward and keep up with the Green Bay Packers. We’ll have a full recap of the Bears’ draft selections, but before we get to that, a quick update on the Bears’ final pick of the weekend. With the 30th pick in the sixth round (195th overall), the Bears snagged their fifth defensive prospect, linebacker James Thomas from the University of West Virginia.

Thomas is 6’1" and 245 pounds, not the fastest guy in the world, but a competent tackler with solid instincts in the middle of the field. Thomas has the chance to be a good fit in the Tampa-2 defense deployed by Rod Marinelli, as his best attributes are his closing speed and sure-tackling ability in pass coverage. I imagine he’ll have a chance to be a viable reserve in Marinelli’s defense perhaps as soon as this coming season. If not, he’ll have an opportunity to make a name for himself as a head hunter on special teams.

The athletic Thomas, whose father also played for the Mountaineers in college, was West Virginia’s MVP on defense during his senior season. And from the sound of it, he’s excited to be heading to Chicago where he can be an understudy to two of the game’s premier linebackers.

“I’m definitely looking forward to playing on the same team with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs,” Thomas told the media shortly after being selected. "Also, Josh Moore one of my best friends from high school is there. He told me ‘If you love football you’ll love playing for the Bears.’”


2011 NFL Draft Results: Chicago Bears Select Idaho QB Nathan Enderle In Round 5

Round five of the 2011 NFL Draft is just about in the books. The Chicago Bears, who traded away their fourth round selection in order to move up in round two, have made an interesting move with their first pick on day three. The Bears drafted Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle with 160th overall pick near the end of Round 5. I’m not sure I quite understand the rationale with the pick.

Obviously the Bears have their starting quarterback in place with Jay Cutler. While veteran reserve Todd Collins should definitely not be a part of the team’s plans for much, if any, longer, rookie third stringer Caleb Hanie flashed some promise in the Bears’ NFC Championship Game loss to the Green Bay Packers. Chicago had talked about possibly adding a developmental project at quarterback at some point in this year’s draft, it’s hard to understand why Chicago would use a fifth rounder on a guy that showed very little during his pre-draft workouts. Undrafted free agent rookies with similar promise are available each year, and though there’s teams around the league with bigger holes on their roster, Chicago is not exactly so stacked on both sides of the ball where they can take a luxury pick like that in round five. Then again, perhaps Jerry Angelo and the Bears’ coaching staff sees something in Enderle that the rest of us don’t.

For more fan reaction to the Bears’ fifth round pick, head on over to Windy City Gridiron for more commentary and discussion.


2011 NFL Draft Results: Chicago Bears Draft Chris Conte In Third Round

The first two days of the 2011 NFL Draft are in the books. After selecting blue chip offensive tackle Gabe Carimi in the first round on Thursday night, the Chicago Bears added two more players in rounds two and three on Friday. Bears fans will likely be quite pleased with the pick in round two — Stephen Paea, a defensive tackle from Stanford that is strong as an ox and a great replacement for Tommie Harris. As for Chicago’s pick in round three, I’m not so sure folks in the Windy City will be quite as enamored with the pick.

With the 93rd overall pick, Chicago drafted Chris Conte, a converted free safety from Cal. Conte was a reserve corner at Cal for his first three seasons in Berekley, only to have a breakout year as a senior after being converted to free safety. During his senior year, Conte proved to be quite reliable as an open field tackler and last line of defense. And at Cal’s Pro Day, the Los Angeles native ran a 4.55 40-yard dash, plenty fast for his position.

I suppose Bears fans might be nervous that Conte will be the next coming of Adam Archuleta, a mistake machine during his tenure in Chicago. We’ll just have to wait and see I suppose. But he has the physical tools, I don’t think experience will be an issue for the young man, and the Bears certainly will have plenty of talent playing in front of him on defense.

All in all, a very productive first two days for the defending NFC North champion Bears. For more fan reaction to the picks, analysis of Days 1 and 2, and what to expect on Saturday during the final four rounds, head on over to Windy City Gridiron.


Video: Bears Second Round Draft Pick Stephen Paea Bench Press At 2011 Combine

The Chicago Bears have made their second round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. Atfter taking Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi in Round 1 on Thursday night, the Bears stayed in the trenches, but on the other side of the ball, by taking Stanford NT Stephen Paea.

Paea was never really thought to be a threat to break into the first round, but considering his herculean strength, most projected Paea to be taken somewhere in the middle of the second round. What do you know? That's where he went after the Bears traded with the Washington Redskins in order to move up to No. 53 and take Paea. At this year's combine, Paea made a name for himself by breaking the bench press record. A mere 225 pounds on the bar, Paea did 49 reps, a combine record. Check out the video of Paea's impressive display of strength in Indianapolis this past February.


2011 NFL Draft Second Round Results: Chicago Bears Trade Up To Select Stephen Paea

The second round of the 2011 NFL Draft is moving along at a nice clip. Fans of the Chicago Bears got a little surprise when their team moved up from No. 62 to No. 53 in order to select Stephen Paea, the insanely strong defensive tackle out of Stanford. In order to move up into the early 50s, Jerry Angelo had to surrender the Bears’ fourth round pick (127th overall) on Saturday afternoon. 

As for Paea, the DT made a name for himself with his record-setting bench press performance at this year’s scouting combine. Paea threw up 225 pounds a mind-boggling 49 times. The Cardinal grad isn’t just a one-trick pony. For a guy that big and bulky, he’s fairly fleet of foot. But make no mistake about it, he’ll be expected to clog holes in the middle of the Bears’ defense.

We’ll have more commentary and reaction to the selection a bit later this evening, but for more immediate analysis and conversation, head on over to Windy City Gridiron to read what Bears’ fans think of the team’s newest addition.


2011 NFL Draft Round 2 Results: Chicago Bears Have Options With Second Round Pick

The second round of the 2011 NFL Draft is underway from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Chicago Bears had to have been thrilled with their pick in round one, offensive tackle Gabe Carimi out of the University of Wisconsin. There was nearly unanimous agreement about the Bears’ need to draft an offensive lineman, particularly a tackle. Not only did they fill a need, they got a player that many thought was the second best offensive tackle in this year’s crop.

So what will the Bears do in rounds two and three? Well, plenty of folks still believe that the Bears need to acquire another offensive lineman in round two, perhaps guards Orlando Franklin or Rodney Hudson. Here’s who’s come off the board so far through the first

33. New England Patriots — Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
34. Buffalo Bills — Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
35. Cincinnati Bengals — Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
36. San Francisco 49ers — Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
37. Cleveland Browns — Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
38. Arizona Cardinals — Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
39. Tennessee Titans — Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
40. Dallas Cowboys — Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina
41. Washington Redskins — Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson


NFL Draft 2011: Ravens May Seek Compensation From Bears For Failed Trade

Via our SB Nation draft site, Mocking The Draft, they link to this Peter King story in which he states that the Baltimore Ravens may seek compensation from the Bears for Jerry Angelo’s trade snafu of last night, which has (apparently) cost the Ravens a fourth-round pick:

Under NFL rules, each team has to report the trade to NFL draft headquarters at Radio City Music Hall. The Ravens called it in. They assumed Chicago called it in, but due to a miscommunication in the Bears’ draft room, no one from Chicago ever called the league.

For the first round, it didn’t matter, as both teams got the player they wanted (Gabe Carimi to the Bears, Jimmy Smith to the Ravens). But the Ravens thought they had a deal, and Jerry Angelo admits it was his fault:

“Whatever you hear, Baltimore did everything the right way,” Bears GM Jerry Angelo told Chicago media. “There were a lot of things happening in the draft room. We were getting a lot of calls, we just … dropped the ball. I dropped the ball. I can’t say anything more than that.”

All’s well that ends well, you say? Not so fast. Angelo called Baltimore owner Steve Bisciotti to apologize, but Bisciotti wanted the fourth-round pick anyway, claiming it was part of the deal they’d agreed to. In fact, I’m told Bisciotti today will push to get the fourth-round pick, or to make the situation right in some way.

King says he thinks the league will be asked to do something before the draft resumes at 5 p.m. CDT today. We’ll see. It’s amazing that the Bears couldn’t have done a simple thing like make a phone call.


NFL Draft 2011: Roger Goodell Pleads, Cam Newton Collects, Jerry Angelo Whiffs

Roger the dodger: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has had a tough week. The NFL ownership was confounded at every turn in the courtroom, ordered not once but twice, to open training facilities and get back to business. All of the league's coy, 'Aw shucks, we just don't know how comply with this decision' foot-dragging was met unsympathetically by Judge Susan Richard Nelson. Of course the NFL is appealing the ruling, but their actions and their words this week leave little doubt as to who to blame if there's no football in 2011.

And last night, on the big stage, football fans let Goodell know how they felt. He went ahead and orchestrated a gala event, that was bound to be fraught with awkward moments, such as him introducing and hugging draftees who were part of the class-action suit against him. The very idea of making such a public spectacle out of a draft where new players and owners became adversaries immediately after the ballcap-and-handshake picture is ludicrous and indicative of ownerships potentially fatal hubris.

Fans booed Goodell and chanted,"We want football" and they weren't mollified when the commissioner offered a weak, "I hear you" in response. The boos continued quietly, every time Roger addressed the microphone. Goodelltried to garner sympathy by referring to tornado victims in Alabama, and by brining out members of the armed forces for various announcements.

Call me cynical, but I was reminded of founding father Samuel Jackson's famous line, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." We ALL love America, Mr. Goodell. If you want to show how much you do, bring back football.

Rookie salary Cam:One thing I think most fans agree with, is that rookie salaries are way out of whack. We all have our favorite example of a rookie bust who collected millions (Ryan Leaf). It would have been smart for the league to address the issue before being forced to resume operations. That they didn't is good news for quarterback Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers number one draft pick. He stands to become a very rich young man, very soon. 

And that's going to be a very interesting story to follow. There's a lot of 'experts' who don't think Newton is worth the money.They question his ability and his work ethic. Some have gone so far as to say, he'll take the money, and coast. It seems like a harsh assessment, but who knows? It seems to me to be a very illogical practice, to guarantee millions of dollars to a young man. For some, it may be the beginning of a great career, but for many it must seem like the conclusion of having to struggle to compete.

Welcome to Chicago:Without ever having played a down for the Bears, first round draft pick Gabe Carimi can depend on feeling a lot of love from Chicago fans, at least for now. Carimi an offensive tackle from the University of Wisconsin,wasn't expected to still be on the board at number 29. In fact the Bears started to trade their fourth round pick to the Baltimore Ravens to move up three spots to grab him early.

However, Jerry Angelo made some sort of procedural blunder, and the trade never went through. Although both teams ended up with the player they wanted, the Ravens are crying foul and saying they should still get Chicago's fourth round pick. The league is said to be 'looking into the situation'.

Jerry Angelo has taken tremendous amounts of heat for past draft missteps. If he loses the fourth round pick on an error, even if he had already planned to trade it away, the screaming for his head will double in intensity.

The second and third round of the draft take place tonight, beginning at 5:00 Central. Stay with SB Nation Chicago for news and updates.


Chicago Bears Draft Gabe Carimi, Succeed In Acquiring Offensive Line Help In First Round Of 2011 NFL Draft

The first of seven rounds in the 2011 NFL Draft is in the books, with action resuming tomorrow night at 6 pm eastern time from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Heading into this year’s draft, fans and pundits alike believed that the Chicago Bears’ top priority was upgrading the offensive line, particularly at the tackle positions. Well, the Bears did just that on Thursday night by selecting Gabe Carimi with the No. 29 pick.

Carimi, a Wisconsin graduate, was projected to go as high as the early teens, and no later really than the mid 20s throughout the mock draft season. So when his name was still on the board when Chicago was on the clock late in round one, Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith must have been enormously pleased and quick to pull the trigger on announcing their selection of Carimi. Bears fans were equally ecstatic, going so far as to say that they felt Chicago got the very best ‘steal’ of the first round.

With the team’s biggest need (partially) taken care of after round one, it will be interesting to see which direction the Bears go next in round two. There’s plenty of outstanding talent still to be had on both sides of the ball, that’s for sure. But so far so good for the Bears as they try to bolster their roster and build on the positive momentum established during last season’s run to the NFC Championship Game.

Stay tuned here and at Windy City Gridiron throughout the day tomorrow and all weekend as we continue to bring fans up-to-the-minute coverage and analysis of the 2011 NFL Draft.


2011 NFL Draft: Bears Apparently Balk At Last Second In Trade With Baltimore

The first 28 picks of the 2011 NFL Draft are in, meaning the Chicago Bears selection at No. 29 is just around the corner. A quick note though about what appeared to be trade talks between the Bears and the Baltimore Ravens while Baltimore was on the clock at No. 26. I will be interested to read more about this, but from the sound of it, the Bears and Ravens were in negotiations to make a deal, however when the time expired and a selection had to be made, neither a trade nor a selection for the Ravens was announced. Instead, Baltimore was forced to forfeit its selection and swap spots with the Kansas City Chiefs, who were next in line to pick at No. 27.

Most likely, the Bears balked at the last minute, opting to stay put at No. 29 rather than executing the trade with Baltimore. The Ravens in turn must have not been prepared to make their pick in whatever short amount of time they had left. In the end, it all seemed to work out as the Ravens were expected to draft a cornerback, which they were able to do when Jimmy Smith’s name was announced following the Chiefs’ selection of wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin.

Stay tuned here and at Windy City Gridiron for more updates on this, and on the Bears’ selection here in just a few short minutes.


2011 NFL Draft: Several Offensive Tackles Still On Board As Chicago Bears' Pick At No. 29 Approaches

It’s no mystery that the Chicago Bears will be looking to improve their offensive line in the 2011 NFL Draft. Particularly at the two tackle positions, the Bears were woeful in 2010. And though this year’s crop of OTs wasn’t considered to be historically good, there were several prospects that draftniks thought might be good fits for Chicago and also available when the Bears picked at No. 29.

Nate Solder went off the board at No. 17 when the New England Patriots selected the hulking Colorado Buffaloes grad. Then at No. 22, the Indianapolis Colts got the pass protection upgrade at T for Peyton Manning that they needed by acquiring Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo. Still left on the board are Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi, a talent that most believed would be taken in the teens. There’s also Derek Sherrod, a solid pass blocking tackle out of Mississippi State. There’s also the possibility that Chicago views James Carpenter out of Alabama as a better long term option than Sherrod.

We’ll see. With Danny Watkins just coming off the board to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 23, we can scratch the 27-year old former firefighter off the list as a potential draft pick by the Bears here near the end of the first round.

Stay tuned here and at Windy City Gridiron for more NFL Draft updates and fan reaction as we wait for the Bears to select a bit later in the evening.


2011 NFL Draft: Illinois' Corey Liuget Taken By San Diego Chargers With No. 18 Pick

We’re still a dozen picks away from the Chicago Bears’ turn to pick at No. 29 in the 2011 NFL Draft, but a quick note on the No. 18th pick of the first round — Corey Liuget, the talented young defensive line prospect who played his college ball at the University of Illinois. The San Diego Chargers have to be pleased to have seen Liuget fall to them, as many believed that he would be off the board by the time the first 15 picks had been announced. A Miami native, Liuget has lots of growth still in him, as he’s just 21 years old. The Chargers would have liked to have improved their woeful special teams in this year’s draft, but there’s still plenty of time to find players who can contribute in the third phase of the game. For the time being, San Diego welcomes in a bigtime talent with lots of upside even if he’s not going to contribute anything on ST outside of potentially being a wedge buster. Congratulations to Liuget on the accomplishment!

Stay tuned here and at Windy City Gridiron for more NFL Draft updates and fan reaction as we wait for the Bears to select a bit later in the evening.


Surprise, Surprise: Major Shockers In First Round Of 2011 NFL Draft

We’re just about half way through the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Though the first few picks were as expected, a number of significant surprises followed. The first major move of the night came when the Atlanta Falcons jumped all the way up from No. 27 in a trade with Cleveland at No. 6. The Falcons drafted a stud wide receiver in A.J. Green, a move that signaled they believe they’re ready to win now. In exchange, the Falcons gave up their second round pick, their fourth round pick, plus a first and a fourth in the 2012 Draft. Bold move.

The real shockers came though at No. 8 and No. 12, when Jake Locker and Christian Ponder were taken respectively. Chicago Bears fans will either love this pick by the Vikings, or be nervous that Minnesota found themselves a franchise quarterback for years to come. For the time being though, most believe that Ponder wasn’t worthy of such a high pick.

1) Carolina PanthersCam Newton, QB, Auburn
2) Denver Broncos — Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
3) Buffalo Bills — Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
4) Cincinnati Bengals — AJ Green, WR, Georgia
5) Arizona Cardinals — Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
6) Atlanta Falcons (via Cleveland) — Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
7) San Francisco 49ers — Aldon Smith, LB, Missouri
8) Tennessee Titans — Jake Locker, QB, Washington
9) Dallas Cowboys — Tyron Smith, OT, USC
10) Jacksonville Jaguars (via Washington) — Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
11) Houston Texans — JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin
12) Minnesota Vikings — Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
13) Detroit Lions — Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
14) St. Louis Rams — Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
15) Miami Dolphins — Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida

Be sure to stay tuned for more updates here and at Windy City Gridiron while we wait to see who the Chicago Bears will select with the No. 30 pick later this evening.


SB Nation Submits Its Final Mock Draft, As The NFL Draft Begins

The SB Nation final Draft Picks have been posted here. Check their picks against yours, as the NFL draft finally begins in earnest.


NFL Draft 2011: Bears Are Counting Down The Hours Until First-Round Pick

The Chicago Bears are currently preparing for their pick in Thursday evening’s 2011 NFL Draft by, well, hoping the player they covet the most is still sitting in the green room when the Draft rolls around to the 29th pick.

It’s pretty tough to say who that pick will exactly be as the NFL mock drafts have been all over the place, but most recent news seems to indicate that the Bears might be interested in taking either offensive tackle Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin or Mississippi State’s Derek Sherrod.

If not those two players, David Miller has a nice little round-up of other guys that the Bears may look to select tonight as the NFL Draft Countdown continues.

If the Bears don’t look offensive tackle or at any of the other players that Miller suggests, one possibility is Texas cornerback Aaron Williams. Williams has been mentioned today by the National Football Post, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.

So, basically, the Bears will probably look to fill out the offensive and defensive lines, but could also look cornerback when their pick rolls around in the NFL Draft. If any of their higher-ranked players fall, however, projecting the Bears’ first round pick of the NFL Draft becomes a whole new ballgame.


NFL Draft 2011: Chicago Bears Begin Restocking Their Roster On Thursday Night

The Chicago Bears and their fans have waited nearly three months since the 2010 NFL season ended with a close loss in the NFC Championship game. That NFL Draft countdown will end on Thursday night, as we'll all finally get another taste of football with the start of the 2011 NFL Draft in Radio City Music Hall.

Provided there isn't a surprise trade, the Bears will have to wait a bit longer than most teams to make their first selection -- the curse of a successful season. Chicago's first draft pick is 29th overall in the first round, and the Bears are slated to make six selections over the three-day affair. The Carolina Panthers have the first overall selection, projected by most NFL Mock Drafts to be quarterback Cam Newton from Auburn. The Minnesota Vikings are the first team from the NFC North scheduled to make a draft selection, picking 12th in the first round.

Here's a rundown of the Bears' NFL Draft Order:

Round 1, Pick 29

Round 2, Pick 30 (62nd overall)

Round 3, Pick 29 (93rd overall)

Round 4, Pick 30 (127th overall)

Round 5, Pick 29 (160th overall)

Round 6, Pick 30 (195th overall)

The Bears used their 2011 seventh-round pick in last year's NFL Supplemental Draft, snagging running back Harvey Unga from BYU. has the complete NFL Draft order and much more coverage of this three-day affair.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 7 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, April 28, and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare: NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports and more. Check it out at SB Nation's NFL Draft page and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking the Draft. Also be sure to visit our friends at Windy City Gridiron.

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