With the Chicago Bears terminating the contract of 2008 first-round pick Chris Williams on Tuesday, count 2011 29th overall selection Gabe Carimi as the last of the club’s first-round choices made by former general manager Jerry Angelo, who was fired back in January, still with the team.
Of the eight first-round picks made by Angelo from 2011-12, just four (Rex Grossman, Cedric Benson, Greg Olsen and Carimi) are currently on NFL rosters with former Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris representing the group’s only three Pro Bowl appearances.
So the record speaks for itself in terms of Angelo’s eye for finding NFL talent.
The 14th overall pick of the ’08 draft, Williams was tabbed the club’s left tackle of the future but never really made a mark at the position the Bears intended for him to play. Williams’ most productive seasons came in 2010 and 2011, when he made the majority of his starts at left guard. In fact, of the 38 starts Williams made as a Bear, 20 came at left guard, 11 at right tackle and just seven at the left tackle spot.
Before this season the Bears thrust Williams into a training camp competition with 2010 seventh-round pick J'Marcus Webb, but Williams lost out on that derby and the club relegated the veteran to a backup role. The acquisition of Chilo Rachal lessened Williams’ chances to contribute at guard, where the Bears already possessed plenty of depth with Edwin Williams and Chris Spencer.
The team’s decision to finally cut ties with Williams came about primarily because other players on the roster -- namely recent acquisition Jonathan Scott -- had impressed the staff enough to earn a shot at playing while assuming the role as the swing tackle. Williams doesn’t leave the team on bad terms, though.
Within the organization, Williams was regarded as “a good guy” that deserves at least an opportunity to play elsewhere, if not for the Bears.
Still, on some level the organization is likely wondering how much Angelo’s first-round selections set the club back, considering only one remains a Bear while eight more are either out of the league or on the rosters of other teams because they weren’t deemed valuable enough to keep.