When it comes to a draft philosophy, teams can take things in different directions. They can go with a best player available (BPA), regardless of position. They can go with the highest player on their board based off of team need. They can weigh need and BPA to come up with a system all their own. Some teams look to gather as many picks as possible, thinking quantity over (potential) quality. While other teams aggressively look to trade up. Some teams change philosophy based on players available in each round.
There’s no one right way to draft players.
You can scout game after game, watch countless hours of film, and put prospects through private workouts, but ultimately, there’s a lot of luck that goes into finding the right guy for your team.
SB Nation recently looked at the smartest pick for every NFL team in the last five years. They aren’t saying these are the best picks, but just that the teams, “made the savvy choice drafting him when and where it did.”
For the Chicago Bears, they only had to go back to last year.
Jordan Howard, RB
The Bears got Howard in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, and he was one bright spot in Chicago’s offense last season. Howard finished his rookie year with 1,313 rushing yards and six touchdowns, filling the void left by the team’s decision to let Matt Forte move on to the Jets in free agency last year.
It took Howard a few weeks (and an injury to Jeremy Langford) to really get going, but once he did, fans quickly forgot about their Matt Forte decision.
I really wish there were more Chicago candidates for this pick, but in looking back through the last 5 drafts, Howard is really the only guy that made sense.