Whenever a reader takes the time to comment, however insulting or whatever, I do try to give an answer, particularly if it’ll give a better understanding of why the story said what it did. You take the trouble to write, it’s worth the “trouble” to reply.
Because one this week involved the Bears’ offensive line in general and J’Marcus Webb in particular, consider this a P.S. for the reader who thought I was an idiot for terming Webb a draft “hit.”
Looking ahead to free agency in the next week, with the Bears looking for OL help, and to draft coming in another seven weeks:
Anytime a seventh-round pick even makes the opening-day roster, it qualifies as a mini-hit, even if it’s as a backup who contributes on special teams. For that matter, if you get a special-teamer in the fifth round, you’re happy. In the seventh round, you get a franchise attaboy.
If that individual starts as a rookie, that’s an actual hit; good or bad, he was better than whatever else you had at the position.
If that pick develops into a serviceable-or-better NFL player, that’s a hit-plus. Given that half the first-round picks are busts, whatever you get in the seventh round is found money. Like Lance Louis. Like Webb.
There’s Webb, who showed enough in a sub-standard 2011 that Phil Emery considered Gabe Carimi and him to have enough promise that Emery didn’t use any draft choices on the offensive line.
That doesn’t make Webb “good,” or Emery’s draft calls right; nor does the fact that Webb had the highest Pro Football Focus grade of all Bears linemen last season. Every one of them, Webb included, rated a “negative.”
But here’s a perspective on Webb:
He was thrown in as a rookie starter at right tackle in 2010; went to left tackle with zero offseason (lockout) in 2011; and came out of 2012 with a better PFF rating than Jeff Backus in Detroit and any of the Green Bay tackles, Don Barclay, Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse.
Using the PFF ratings for apple-to-apple purposes, Webb was a woeful minus-29.1 rating as a rookie. He bumbled through 2011 at a minus-16.2 that included hefty downgrades for penalties. And last year the same rating scale set him at minus-0.8.
The trend line says Emery was right about Webb, maybe not so right about Carimi. But if Webb winds up no more than a swing tackle, that’s a hit in my draft room.