If the sign of a great football team was how many former first-round draft picks a team could accumulate, the Bears would be having one of the best offseasons of any team in the league. But as the old saying goes, paper doesn’t play football.
Still, the addition of three former first-round draft picks who haven’t lived up to expectations has the potential to give the Bears an extra push they could have used in last year’s playoffs.
At worst, it can’t hurt.
In addition to wide receiver Roy Williams and defensive end Vernon Gholston, the Bears agreed to terms with Amobi Okoye, a 24-year-old defensive tackle drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft.
Okoye came into the league at a young age and is already entering his fifth season in the league. While not as disappointing as Gholston, it’s safe to say he did not achieve what the Houston Texans were hoping he’d accomplish. He picked up 11 sacks in four seasons and never finished with more than 44 tackles in a season, although numbers for a defensive tackle are never fully indicative of the impact that player has on his defense’s success.
Similar to Gholston, the Bears are hoping defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli can use his defensive line expertise to help salvage Okoye’s athleticism and make him a productive player.
Although there might be discouraged Bears fans wondering why the Bears are taking chances on players who have had unfulfilling careers, it’s important to remember that all three of these players signed one-year contracts and are all low-risk, high-reward athletes.