For the record, I'll never grade a draft class as soon as the draft ends. There's just no way to know about possible injuries, potential coaching changes altering scheme or a players desire to outwork someone above him on the depth chart. You want to grade the 2016 NFL Draft class of the Chicago Bears, then peek back at them in three years.
With that being said, it's still interesting to see how the national pundits feel about each teams draft haul. I prefer to just write about teams having good or bad classes, but I'll admit to getting a little more excited for the Bears prospects when they are almost unanimously celebrated. I recently looked at the Bears' grade point average as accumulated by Football Outsiders, NFL Draft Grades Recap: The Chicago Bears are the Salutatorians of the 2016 Class. The Bears checked in at #2 in that exercise, and they are also 2nd in the recent NFL Draft Class Power Ranking over at NFL.com.
They took the Gil Brandt Hot 100 prospect rankings and assigned points to each player based on where he was selected in the draft. So the #1 player was worth 100 points, #2 was 99 points and so on.
The Bears were second to the Tennessee Titans. Here's what NFL.com had to say.
2. Chicago Bears
Score: 260 points (6 players)
The lowdown: The Titans might have toasted the Bears in terms of total points, but Chicago scored the largest haul of Hot 100 prospects of any team in the league. Whitehair figures to help anchor the Bears' offensive line for years to come.
The players (points):
No. 12: Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia (89)
No. 43: Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State (58)
No. 47: Jonathan Bullard, DT, Florida (54)
No. 71: Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana (30)
No. 83: DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, William & Mary (18)
No. 90: Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, West Virginia (11)
For those keeping score at home, the Bears snagged the 12th, 43rd, 47th, 71st, 83rd and 90th players on Brandt's Hot 100 with the 9th, 56th, 72nd, 150th, 185th and 113th selections. Not bad value if you go by his Hot 100.
Even Kwiatkoski, who some say was a reach in the 4th round, was good value according to Brandt's board. He went 113th overall, but was still in the Hot 100. We'll never know where other teams in the NFL valued him, so perhaps the Bears made the right move.
The good thing about the rookie class now is that all that draft status is out the window. Chicago opens rookie mini camp today and the UDFAs have as much a chance to impress as the 4th rounders.