To the frustration of many, the Bears just had a strange draft. They made a numerically irrational gamble to move up and grab their quarterback. Then over half of their remaining picks were spent on players from non-FBS schools. These decisions can be explained by remembering Pace spent more than a decade with the Saints.
The first unexpected move was a trade up to grab a quarterback. Let's go back to 2006. Drew Brees was coming off of his best pro-career year, but he had just broken his labrum trying to recover a fumble. Two teams emerged in the bidding for Brees, the Dolphins and the Saints. The Dolphins, spooked by Brees' recent injury and the fact he may have failed the 'phins physical, were unwilling to give many guaranteed years to Drew. Meanwhile the Saints were willing to give a guy with the third highest QB rating the previous season, but coming off a very serious injury, a 6 year, 60 million dollar contract. To put that contract into perspective, that made Brees the second highest player in the league in 2006. Taking a huge gamble on a quarterback isn't new to Ryan Pace, and he appears to be doing it again with Mitch Trubisky.
The next seemingly unexpected move that Pace made is he went heavy on players from small schools, taking three of them. A little research on the Saints shows that they have nine D2 players on their roster, the most of any team. Why would someone expect rookies to make the leap from playing against small colleges to playing against the best football athletes in the world? Because New Orleans doesn't expect much from rookies. The Saints think of rookie production as a bonus, but don't expect much from first year players. Pace appears to be taking the same approach and has stated that Glennon will be the 2017 starting QB, not his prized rookie.
Finally, lets take a look at the offensive playmakers that made the Saints' offense so great. There was Jimmy Graham, a 6'7" receiving tight end that played college basketball. The Bears just drafted a 1" shorter version from a small school. There was Darren Sproles, a 5'6", 170 pound running back known for his agility that ran a 4.4 40. The Bears just got one of those too (really, their size and weight out of college are identical). A couple of tall, if not fast receivers? The Bears have a couple guys at 6'3" on the outside. It really looks like Pace is trying to recreate the offense he had in The Crescent City. If nothing else, there appears to be a Saints-ian shape to the mockdraftable chart that our GM likes for his offensive skill position guys.
Aspects of the Saints' draft strategy are being tweaked by the Bears. For one, Pace didn't go defense early as the Saints have done in round 1 every year but two since 2008. Still, Pace is certainly using the Saints as his template. Let's hope the draft formula worked this year, because if it failed Halas Hall will be picking a new GM.