5 Biggest Draft Busts: Chicago Bears Edition
It’s draft season, people. The MLB amateur draft started on Monday, and the NBA draft is set to take place at the end of the month. Because the Bulls and Blackhawks are on summer vacation, the Cubs straight up suck, and the Bears have yet to start training camp, there’s only one team that truly matters right now, and that’s the White Sox. Unfortunately, it’s only the first week of June, so we’ve got another 4 months of regular season baseball to be played. Therefore, I need something else to keep me busy. Draft season always reminds me of what could have been with some players and how great it has been with others. That being said, I feel it’s a perfect time to break down my five biggest draft busts and steals of our favorite teams, starting with the Chicago Bears.
5 Biggest Draft Busts:
5) Cedric Benson, 4th overall pick in 2005, Running Back, University of Texas: Of all the players on this list, I probably hate Cedric Benson the most. He missed the entire Bears training camp his rookie year, and he ended up holding out for 36 days before signing a ridiculous 5-year contract worth $35 million. I never understood this pick because I had a lot of confidence in Thomas Jones. Plus, the Bears had other holes to fill. Why did we need another running back? We had no quarterback (don’t give me that Rex Grossman BS), yet Angelo still decided to pass on Aaron Rodgers, who everyone thought was more than worthy of a top 5 pick. Somehow, he ended up falling all the way to 24, and the rest is history. Unbelievable.
Anyways, according to Jay Glazer, many of the Bears players hated Benson so much because of his holdout and absurd cockiness that some of them even attempted to intentionally injure him during drills. He was such a baby, always unhappy with his role on offense and always stirring up some controversy. Who knows if those Jay Glazer reports were actually true, but it definitely wouldn’t surprise me. Through three seasons with the Bears, Benson totaled 1,543 yards, averaged a measly 3.67 yards per carry and scored only 10 touchdowns.
In 2008, after Benson’s second alcohol-related arrest in five weeks, Jerry Angelo finally grew a pair and released his sorry ass. Since then, he found a home in Cincinnati, amassing 1,000 rushing yards three straight seasons. Go figure. However, he has still maintained only 3.8 yards per carry throughout his career and has never been able to improve his ability to catch the football out of the backfield. That makes me happy. Also, Benson is currently a free agent and has yet to attract interest from any NFL team. For all we know, his career as a starting running back could be over. That makes me even happier.
4) David Terrell, 8th overall pick in 2001, Wide Receiver, University of Michigan: After 2001, David Terrell may have very likely been the reason for Jerry Angelo’s refusal to draft wide receivers in the first round. Then again, Angelo’s ability to evaluate talent was, for the most part, an embarrassment to society, so who knows what his thought process was. But Terrell was, without a doubt, a horrendous professional football player. In four seasons with the Bears, he caught 128 passes for 1602 yards and 9 touchdowns. Just to put into perspective for you how truly bad that is (remember, Terrell was the 8th overall pick in 2001), Calvin Johnson finished this season alone with 96 receptions, 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns. So yeah, Terrell was bad – real bad. He never attempted to learn the offense, dropped way too many passes and constantly complained about his role on offense. He was released by the Bears in 2004, and by 2005, he was out of the league altogether.
This past April, he was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery for allegedly grabbing his ex-girlfriend during an argument inside his high-rise apartment and threatened to throw her off a balcony. Sounds like he’s living a good, healthy life. Good for him.
Oh, and just to rub a little salt on our wounds, the Bears drafted Terrell ahead of players like Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Drew Brees and Chad Ochocinco (Steve Smith also went in the 3rd round). No big deal.
3) Michael Haynes, 14th overall pick in 2003, Defensive End, Penn State University: Troy Polamalu. Two. Picks. Later. The Bears drafted Michael Haynes ahead of Troy Polamalu just nine years ago, and boy – what a mistake. Jerry Angelo decided to go with the one-year wonder out of Penn State because he racked up 15 sacks his senior year. After that, Haynes failed to make a single start during his rookie season. When Lovie Smith was hired in 2004, he brought the Tampa 2 defense with him, forcing Haynes to move to defensive tackle. That clearly failed. After three full seasons, Haynes managed to start four games and recorded only 5.5 sacks. The Bears traded him to the Saints, who declared him inactive for one game before being released. And that’s all she wrote.
Apparently, Haynes is now a high school football and soccer coach in Crowley, Texas. Compared to his draft day counterpart’s (Polamalu) two Super Bowl rings and Hall of Fame career, I’d say he deserves the major “bust” label that he has received.
2) Cade McNown, 12th overall pick in 1999, Quarterback, UCLA: I was 10 years old when the Bears selected Cade McNown, and I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing (just finished a basketball lesson at the Multiplex/some basketball facility). It’s one thing to remember where you were during an incredible game. That’s normal. It’s another thing to remember where you were during a draft. That’s not so normal (although most people know I have a crazy sports memory, so I’ll give myself a pass). But that’s how excited I was when the Bears selected McNown. No more Erik Kramer – he left for the Chargers. No more Steve Stenstrom – he was awful. McNown was going to be our savior. So we thought.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. At all. Not only was McNown a miserable quarterback (16 TD, 19 INT, 3,111 yards, 67.7 QB Rating in two NFL seasons), but he was also a miserable human being. He hated the fans, he hated the media, and he hated his teammates. He blamed the line and the receivers whenever he messed up. In other words, the guy was a straight douche bag. Because of him, the Bears went through 10 different quarterbacks in eight seasons before finally trading for Jay Cutler in 2009. And for that, we thank him. Good times.
1) Curtis Enis, 5th overall pick in 1998, Running Back, Penn State University: The man, the myth, the worthless bum. As crazy as it sounds, Enis was the consensus fifth best player in the 1998 draft. Every football person at the time agreed, so no one in their right mind saw him as a soon-to-be bust before the draft. Then, this happened:
After being drafted by the Bears, Enis admitted, according to a Sports Illustrated story, that he was a womanizer and abuser of alcohol, turned to Christian fundamentalism, married his three-months pregnant girlfriend (a former stripper), admonished his siblings for having out-of-wedlock children, fired his agent, ran up $500,000 in debt — all that before training camp started.
Sadly enough, Enis was drafted ahead of stars Fred Taylor and Randy Moss that season. Three years and only 18 starts later, he was out of football forever. I’d look into what he’s up to these days and let you know, but to be honest, I couldn’t care less. Sorry, I’m not sorry.
Dishonorable Mentions: Stan Thomas, Left Tackle; Rashaan Salaam, Running Back; Alonzo Spellman, Defensive Lineman; Rex Grossman, Quarterback; John Thierry, Defensive End
Stay tuned tomorrow for the 5 Biggest Draft Steals: Chicago Bears Edition.