I don’t know about you, but there comes a point in the off-season where it gets to be too much. We’re here because we love the Bears, that much is certain. However, there are some folks that are more into the player acquisition periods than others. The key to it all is being able to pace yourself and trying not to burn yourself out. The excitement generated by this off-season did that.
Draftniks are a special breed of person. I have to hand it to people like our E.J. Snyder and Jacob Infante who dive into the draft and live for it. For the casual fan, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for. The moment where we can finally put down the speculation, misdirection, thought exercises, and the mystery. We can finally get to what we want to know: who is going to be the newest member of the Bears?
While I freely admit that this is my opinion and it is fraught with speculation, I am trying to take a look at what would be the most beneficial for the Bears. This is conjecture, and we have no idea how the draft is going to shake out, but there are three scenarios that I think could make the most sense for the present and future of the organization.
Without further ado.
This is the best case scenario for the Bears. I know we say that every year, and it doesn’t look like there are great options for doing this. I get all of that, but the draft surprises us. What if UCLA’s Josh Rosen is somehow sitting there at No. 8 overall? What if by some miracle, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley slides? You had better believe that general manager Ryan Pace, pro scouting lead Mark Sadowski, and head coach Matt Nagy will be prepared for these scenarios to play out tonight.
Pace has mentioned that there are eight players in his draft cloud that he is comfortable taking at various points. Let’s not dismiss the fact that he has likely removed players like NC State’s Bradley Chubb and Barkley: who do not project to be there when the Bears are on the clock. Let’s also consider that Pace would likely prefer to trade down, which means that at least a few of those players are projected to be there later on.
If the Bears were to trade back into the teens, then could we see him look at players like Boston College’s Harold Landry, Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey, Colorado’s Isaiah Oliver, Louisville’s Jaire Alexander, UTSA’s Marcus Davenport, among options. My guess is that more than one of those players is in the bubble. The true value in this year’s draft is in the second and third rounds. Acquiring more picks in that area would be a massive boon for the Bears and do wonders in bolstering the roster.
“But Andrew, you just said they should trade down, not up!”
This is true, the Bears should trade down, but history tells us that Pace is a gambling man. He isn’t afraid to go up and get “his guy.” Of course the Bears don’t necessarily have the ammo to pull off a trade into the top-five but they might be able to leapfrog the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and grab a player.
There is only one player that I think is worth trading up for and no, Quenton Nelson is not worth the expenditure of picks it would require. That player is Chubb. While he might not be a perfect fit for the scheme, he is hands down the most complete pass rusher in this draft. His size, strength, and length also make him a perfect companion to play opposite of Leonard Floyd.
As noted, Pace has not shied away from targeting a player and making sure that player becomes a Bear. With the amount of talent at interior offensive line, wide receiver, cornerback, and running back in this draft, I would feel comfortable grabbing the best edge rusher and waiting for value at those spots. Should the Bears move up for Chubb, I would not hesitate to set my pencil down instead of throwing it.
This has always been, and still is, the most likely scenario to play out. The Bears can hope that a player they didn’t expect falls to them at No. 8: Nelson would be a good get in that case. I believe that he ends up going before the Bears are on the board, however.
Where does that leave Chicago? It leaves us with the never-ending debate that we’ve been having for the past three months. We know the names, positions, pros and cons, and who is rising and falling. We’ve seen endless speculation about who is part of the mysterious “Pace Eight.” At some point though, we have to pick a lane and stick with it.
Since prior to last year’s draft, I’ve been pounding the table for edge help. Aaron Lynch is a nice addition, but he’s a wildcard. As mentioned earlier, you can get good players at other positions of need in the middle rounds. Drafting the “Best Player Available” is a myth. You have to fill needs sometimes in the draft and edge is the biggest need, hands down. If the Bears want to take a player that has sneaky-good instincts, a premier NFL body, the ability to grow into an excellent pass rusher of whom also has the ability to play assignment-sound football, then they should pick Davenport.
That may not be popular, and may induce many pencils to fly from fingers, but the fact is that he is the most complete edge player outside of Chubb. It fills a need and fits many of the “Pace-isms” that we have learned over the past three drafts. I’m saying it: the Bears should draft Davenport if they stay at their slot.
Like most drafts, this one has been interesting and intriguing to the last moment. Unlike many in recent history, there is no clear cut No. 1 overall pick. The Browns aren’t helping out much either. This off-season already feels strange by the sheer number of trades that have taken place. I have a feeling that we’re in for a crazy ride over the next three days. If nothing else, we’ll likely be surprised by the outcome.
I love the draft as much as anyone but Tom Petty said it best: “the waiting is the hardest part.” Truer words have never been spoken. I’m glad that we are within several hours of the draft going live, and I couldn’t be happier.