No one can ever say Bears general manager Ryan Pace doesn’t have conviction to get his guys. After selecting James Daniels earlier, the Bears traded back into the second round to select Anthony Miller at No. 51 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
At a glance, the trade looks like a hefty value for Chicago. The Bears gave up No. 105 overall and their 2019 second rounder to the New England Patriots for the opportunity to get Miller. Like Leonard Floyd and Mitchell Trubisky before him, Pace saw Miller and clearly couldn’t let him slip through his grasp. The Bears had a need at receiver and elected to go all in with that offensive diversity.
In the theme of this off-season the moves of Daniels and Miller signify the philosophy to put Trubisky in as advantageous of a position as possible. All the eggs are in the quarterback’s basket, and rightfully so. Don’t for one second think that head coach Matt Nagy didn’t have a preference for Miller and what he could do in his offense as well. At the very least the Bears have an identity.
Let’s grade the trade up and subsequent selection of Miller at No. 51 overall.
Miller was one of my favorite receivers in the 2018 draft. I always thought he fit what the Bears’ wanted to do offensively under Nagy perfectly. He certainly adhered to their athletic profile for the position. They’re going to get him into space. He’s going to bully defensive backs and make them look silly on a regular basis. Everyone is going to have a good time.
If they had somehow selected Miller at No. 39 or done so without giving up a future second rounder, this evaluation sits at a higher spot. Instead, the loss of that asset is disconcerting, especially with edge rusher still being such a prominent need. If the Bears are planning on just outscoring everybody that’s fine. If they think their offense with Trubisky and Nagy is going to be that prolific, that’s cool. That’s not a sound thought process though, that’s for sure.
I’ve never seen a championship contender winning with one (if that with apologies to Leonard Floyd) reliable edge rusher. I certainly hope the Bears address it soon and put these fears to rest. You don’t have bodies on the outside and now you don’t have enough draft capital to address it either: in either draft chips this year or next.
Miller is another player that is going to make an immediate impact for the Bears’ offense. He’s the ideal complement to the size and jump ball ability of Allen Robinson. He’s quick, athletic, a natural route runner, and has one of the most fantastic compete levels I’ve seen from a prospect at any position. Independently, he’s a good player and I’m sure the Halas Hall brass pounded the table for this addition. You can’t fault how he factors in in the slightest.
In the end, moving aggressively on Miller is a win-now move. You don’t give up what Chicago does without having that mindset. The Bears want to contend and contend right now. I don’t knock the player they selected. He’s more than fine. I knock how they did it, without a greater construct in mind.
Now it’s your turn. Grade the Bears’ trade up and selection of Miller in this year’s draft.
What grade do you give the Bears’ trade up and pick of Anthony Miller at No. 51 overall?
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Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.