NFL pundits and pod-casters all seem to be giving the Bears at least a B+ in the way-too-early grading of off season moves. It's hard not to agree, though, that the incoming play makers have greatly improved the team's over all roster, at the very least. And best case scenario, the Bears can potentially field a scary offense filled with unpredictability and match-up nightmares.
With a true #1 WR in Robinson, and a deep threat burner (Gabriel) and two match-up nightmares at TE, the days of eight and nine in the box may be over. It's hard to imagine how opposing defenses will cope with trying to corral Howard and Cohen now. If Trubisky can elevate from reading defenses to dictating to defenses, the Bears may be able to crack, at the least, the top 15 in offense.
Not enough credit has been given to the defensive signings. Bringing back both starting corners and Callahan (along with cutting bait with Mr. Cooper) gives hope that the #7 pass defense in the league can be even better in 18. And they added another pass rusher who Fangio likes. Should the offense and Trubisky progress by just baby steps, let's say by being better on third downs, thereby increasing time-of-possession, and turning a few more drives into points (hello Mr. Parkey) the defense will improve by simply being on the field less.
But there is still important work ahead. There are a few spots to fill with veterans that are still unsigned or yet to be released. A pro O-lineman, some corner depth and maybe Lamar Houston could be a start. The NFL Draft, however, is the culmination of the team building period. The Bears problem in this years draft is having only two picks in the top 100 (at eight and 40). So, hopefully, Ryan Pace has some cards up his sleeve that can at least double the number of picks.
There are those that feel that you just don't get rid of a shot at a top ten draft pick. And in many years, that is true. That doesn't seem to be the case in 2018. With the exception of the over-valued QBs, there are very few players that don't come with at least one question or concern. I'd say Nelson, Chubb and Fitzpatrick are those guys. Most "experts" seem certain that Chubb will be gone. Likely for the other two, but there's a possibility one or both drop.
But the question is, would you rather draft any of those three, or trade down (at least once) to pick up another 2nd round pick?
Nelson may indeed be god's gift to football. But he's a guard. If he were the second coming of Marshall Yanda, would he make your team measurably better than say a Tom Thayer that you got in the fourth round? Chubb certainly measures out the part, but he had only 20 sacks in three years as starter against ACC tackles. Fitzpatrick is very interesting, as should be all Alabama DBs, but tight hips will likely keep him from being a CB, the more valuable position in the defensive backfield. Don't get me wrong, I'd love any of these three in Navy and Orange, but not with pick 8.
There is a ton of depth at CB, safety, WR and interior OL in this year's draft. Rounds 2 and 3 are full of depth guys, starting caliber players, and probably at least a couple All-Pro caliber talents, which is the case nearly every year. That is the reason that a trade of pick 8 to go lower in the first round and add a second may be the wisest route to go. Then trade down with one of the second round picks in order to pick up a third rounder.
But if they're stuck at eight, the QBs and Barkley are all gone and no one wants to trade, what then? Given that Chubb and Fitzpatrick will likely be gone, you have to look at Tremaine Edmunds. Perhaps Fangio can mold him into a terror of an edge rusher. Worst case, you have a bigger-than-Urlacher sized monster of a linebacker. Can a generational guard improve your team markedly? History says, probably not. But a generational LB? Well, they're inducting two on the first ballot in this year's Hall of Fame ceremony, so you tell me.