They added some potential contributors in the third and fourth rounds.
Then finished off the final rounds with two cornerbacks, who can help lighten the losses of Corey Graham and Zackary Bowman.
Overall, the 2012 NFL Draft was pretty good for general manager Phil Emery and the Bears.
Here’s how the Chicago Bears picks graded out.
McClellin is a fast defensive end, who is very versatile. He ran the second fastest 40-yard dash (4.63) at the NFL Combine. He has the chance to start this season opposite Julius Peppers. There has been rumblings already that he could be the future replacement for Brian Urlacher, when he decides to hang the cleats up for good. Many are saying McClellin would have been available in the second-round, but Minnesota and Green Bay were very high on him and would have likely scooped him up at the end of the first round. McClellin will wear the #99 uniform for the Bears.
Jeffery is a 6’3″ wide receiver, who put up impressive numbers in his time at South Carolina. He might want to bulk up a bit to bully the stronger corners. He has the ability to catch any pass that comes his way and could be used in goal-line situations with WR Brandon Marshall and TE Kellen Davis. The Bears went from having the shortest wide receiving core in the entire league to one of the tallest ones very fast. This was a great value pick here for the Bears, who swapped second round picks with St. Louis and traded their fifth round pick. Jeffery will wear the #17 uniform for the Bears.
Hardin is a big-bodied defensive back, who spent his collegiate career playing cornerback. He will play strong safety in the Bears cover-2 shell. He missed his senior season with a broken shoulder, but he showed his abilities throughout his collegiate career. He ran an impressive 4.43 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. He provides a lot of potential to the young secondary and should immediately contribute on special teams. He is very similar to current Bears safety Chris Conte, considering he had no experience playing safety coming into the league either. At the worst Hardin will be a reserve for the next couple of seasons. Hardin will wear the #35 uniform for the Bears.
Rodriguez is a kid who has a lot of ability as a tight end or an H-back. He ran into some trouble earlier in his college years with misdemeanor and disorderly conduct. But he says he has matured. He projects as the third tight end in the depth chart and can be used as an H-back similar to the way the Bears used Greg Olsen in his last season in Chicago. He is more of a pass catcher than a blocker. Rodriguez has the potential to be the next Aaron Hernandez if he works hard at getting to that level. The Bears might have reached to draft him in the fourth round, but GM Phil Emery was really high on him.
Frey is a cornerback, who isn’t physical enough, but worked his way up draft charts due to his impressive 18 reps in the bench press on his Pro Day. He is 5’11″, but could be a long shot to make the team considering the depth at cornerback right now for the Bears. He got picked ahead of some better cornerbacks. GM Phil Emery must have viewed him as a developmental kind of player, with lots of potential. We’ll see how this corner pans out.
McCoy is a cornerback and kick returner. He returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. He averaged 28.9 yards per return and reeled in seven interceptions in his four seasons at Texas Christian. He might have a better chance to make the team than Frey due to his kick return abilities. He is undersized, but so is D.J. Moore and Tim Jennings, he could turn out to be a steal if he is coached up by Lovie Smith and Co.
Overall Grade: B-