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Zuba: Angelo’s Top Picks – How’d They Do?

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Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo

Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo (Photo Credit: Getty Images, By Jonathan Daniel)

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By Sam Zuba-

(CBS) Bears fans, you can rejoice.

Never again will you be forced to sit in front of your TV on Draft Day and say, “I can’t believe Jerry Angelo drafted ______.” You can fill in the blank with just about any of Angelo’s top draft picks over the 10 drafts he oversaw as Bears general manager.

Angelo was named Bears GM in 2001 and orchestrated his first draft in 2002.

Before we move forward and completely forget about the fiasco otherwise known as Jerry Angelo on Draft Day, let’s recap his top selections over the years.

2002 – OT Marc Colombo

The 2002 Draft was Chicago’s first look at the new GM of the Bears. This was his chance — his shot to win over the city. With 29th-overall pick, Angelo selected Marc Colombo, an offensive tackle out of Boston College.

Colombo became the first of many Angelo top picks to spend more time in the trainer’s room than on the field. The 6-foot-7-inch offensive tackle spent four seasons in Chicago, playing in just 19 games.

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He was placed on injured reserve 10 games into the 2002 season before missing the entire 2003 season with a host of injuries. Colombo appeared in eight games during the 2004 season, but was released one game into the 2005 season.

2003 – DE Michael Haynes

Can you say bust?

Angelo and the Bears drafted Haynes out of Penn State with 14th pick in the 2003 draft.

His time with the Bears — as was the case with most first-round picks by Angelo — was rather insignificant. Haynes played three seasons in Chicago, registering 5.5 sacks and 49 tackles in 42 games. He was released during his third season and never appeared in another NFL game.

Here’s a little perspective on the 2003 Draft —  Troy Polamalu, Willis McGahee, Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, Nick Barnett and Nnamdi Asomugha were all chosen in the first round after the Bears selected Haynes.

But who would want those guys, anyway?

2004 – DT Tommie Harris

Alas, a quick breath of fresh air.

Harris — the 14th-overall pick out of Oklahoma — was arguably one of Angelo’s best first-round selections. He spent seven seasons in Chicago, registering 28.5 sacks.

The 6-foot-3-inch defensive tackle was an integral piece of the Bears’ defense that topped the league in 2006, ultimately leading the team to its first Super Bowl appearance in more than 20 years.

Harri was a three-time Pro Bowl selection in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and was an All-Pro selection in 2005.

2005 – RB Cedric Benson

Ah, good ‘ol Cedric Benson.

One of the only people I’ve ever seen get a DUI on both land and sea in a five-week span.

Infamously known for putting his head down and running right into the center’s butt, Benson is the prototypical Jerry Angelo first-round selection.

When college prospects are evaluated, players are often labeled as “Red-Flag players.” Scouts were cautious of Benson due to his off-the-field history, but that didn’t stop Angelo from using the fourth-overall selection on the running back out of Texas.

Benson was arrested twice in college — once for possession of marijuana and the once for criminal trespass. The marijuana case was dropped after a friend came forward and claimed ownership. But he did receive eight days in jail for the trespass conviction.

Not surprisingly, Benson’s criminal record followed him to Chicago. He was the No. 2 back to Thomas Jones, but after Jones was traded to the Jets, Benson took over.

That’s when that criminal past began to creep up.

Before the start of the 2008, Benson was arrested for allegedly operating a boat while intoxicated and resisting arrest. He didn’t stop there, though, as he was arrested for driving while intoxicated less than five weeks later. Benson was released shortly after his second arrest.

Oh, and just for good measure, Benson was arrested in 2010 and 2011 for assault.

Nice work, Jerry.

2006 – DB/Return Specialist Danieal Manning

The Bears didn’t have a first-round draft pick in the 2006 Draft, so Angelo and Co. selected Danieal Manning out of Abilene Christian with 42nd overall pick.

Manning was one of Angelo’s better picks. He played five seasons in Chicago, grabbing seven interceptions.

In 2008, Manning developed into a nice addition to Devin Hester in the return game.

2007 – TE Greg Olsen

Selected with the 31st pick in the 2007 Draft, Olsen turned out to be a nice tight end for the Bears.

Once the Bears acquired quarterback Jay Cutler, the two developed a rapport that resulted in 13 touchdowns over two seasons.

Olsen’s downfall was his inability to block for the run and hold onto the ball.

In four seasons with the Bears, Olsen caught 194 passes for 1,982 yards and 20 touchdowns before being traded to the Panthers at the start of the 2011 season.

2008 – OT Chris Williams

When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the Bears had selected Chris Williams with 14th pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the city of Chicago scratched its collective head.

Most draft boards had the OT Jeff Otah — who was selected five picks later by the Panthers — ranked much higher than Williams.

The word on Williams was that he was injury prone, and that word was right. He missed the first week of training camp during his rookie season after sustaining a minor back injury. Williams was later diagnosed with separate injury, a herniated disc, which required minor surgery to repair.

After missing a total of seven games during his rookie season, Williams was serviceable in 2009 and 2010 before being placed on injured reserved mid-way through the 2011 season.

2009 – DE Jarron Gilbert

You remember Jarron, right?

He’s the guy that could jump out of a swimming pool. If only jumping out of a pool meant something in the NFL.

The Bears traded away their first-round picks in 2009 and 2010 to acquire Jay Cutler, so with their first pick in the 2009 Draft, they selected Gilbert out of San Jose State.

Gilbert played in four games with Bears, registering one tackle.

He was released after one season.

2010 – SS Major Wright

With 75th pick in the 2010 Draft, the Bears selected strong safety Major Wright out of Florida.

While the jury is still out on Wright, he’s been OK during his two seasons with the Bears.

He started 10 games in 2011, recording three interceptions.

2011 – OT Gabe Carimi

It’s too soon to tell whether Carimi will be a bust or not, but his first season leads me to believe he’ll end up like Colombo and Williams.

Selected with 29th-overall pick, Carimi was placed on injured reserve after making just his second start in the NFL.

For more information, follow Sam on Twitter @SamZuba

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