Draft grades are subjective, but that doesn’t stop Chicago Bears’ fans from getting pissed off when an analyst brings low marks to the table. Those subjective grades that don’t matter also brings fans much joy when they are universally high.
I never grade a draft class immediately after the fact, but I sure do consume them as much as possible. Today I’ll run through a bunch of popular grades, but before I get into what they think, I’ll recap what you guys think.
After each selection the Bears made, we asked you guys to grade the pick. Here’s how you guys voted so far.
First Round: Roquan Smith has 84% of you guys voting A.
Second Round: James Daniels has received 50% of the A vote.
Second Round: Anthony Miller’s WCG vote is 43% going A.
Fourth Round: Joel Iyiegbuniwe is at 30% for C.
Fourth Round: Bilal Nichols is a solid B at 52% of the vote.
Sixth Round: Kylie Fitts is at an A so far according to 44% of you.
Seventh Round: Javon Wims is currently at 44% voting B.
That’s four A’s, two B’s, and a C coming out to an overall A, according to you guys.
2018 Bears’ Draft class grade: A
Your new class of Bears from 2018, are ideally the last pieces of a contending team in the NFC. Pace filled in positions of need, and took worthy chances on players that can help the team in due time. Now we know the power of friendship with Smith and Floyd, competition with Miller, and realizing dreams with Daniels.
SB Nation’s Dan Kadar had it like this.
The Bears used the draft to fill needs, and they got a few starters, beginning with linebacker Roquan Smith with the eighth pick. Smith is going to be a star in the NFL. He’s the definition of the modern NFL linebacker because he’s quick to diagnose, and he can make plays all over the field.
The Bears needed to get a guard in this draft, and that’s where Iowa’s James Daniels will line up. It’s a little bit of a risk because it’s a position change, but like new teammate Kyle Long, Daniels is a really good athlete and he can handle himself in the middle. Then to secure a starting wide receiver, the Bears gave up a second-round pick to select Anthony Miller of Memphis at No. 51. Along with Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, the Bears have now revamped their entire passing game for Mitchell Trubisky.
The grade would have been higher but the Bears didn’t address cornerback.
While their UDFA class isn’t official, the Bears did add corners Michael Joseph from Dubuque, LSU’s Kevin Toliver, and Rashard Fant from Indiana according to our Tracker.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Bears a B+.
Let’s face it: Mitchell Trubisky didn’t have a great rookie year. There’s a reason John Fox is out and Matt Nagy is in. Nagy, who coached under Andy Reid in Kansas City, is an innovative offensive mind, and his first job is to get the best out of Trubisky. That means adapting the offense to his strengths. For GM Ryan Pace, the best way to help Trubisky is to get him some weapons, and that’s clearly what was addressed this offseason with free-agent deals for pass-catchers Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel. Pace even brought in kicker Cody Parkey to get some points on the board. I believe in Trubisky’s talent -- if he’s put in the right situation. And now the situation is much better for him to have a productive 2018.
To continue the theme of helping Trubisky, the Bears added James Daniels (pick 39), my second-ranked center who could play guard next to Cody Whitehair, and moved up to grab the draft’s most underrated receiver in Anthony Miller (51). It was a lot to give up -- a 2019 second-round pick and a fourth-rounder this year -- but Miller will play early and often. The former walk-on had 96 catches and 18 touchdowns in 2017.
Like I said after Thursday night, I didn’t expect Roquan Smith to be on the board at No. 8, and he’s going to become the face of the Bears’ defense. He’s not built like Brian Urlacher, but he’s a sure tackler and sideline-to-sideline linebacker. He’s also going to be a leader on an improving -- and young -- defense. Joel Iyiegbuniwe (115) is a hybrid defender who will make an impact on special teams. Kylie Fitts (181) had trouble with injuries at Utah, but he can play a role as a situational edge rusher.
This isn’t a perfect class -- and that 2019 second-round pick sure could have come in handy for a rebuilding team -- but I like the players, and the biggest needs were all filled. You can’t ask for much more than that.
In regards to that “rebuild,” I tweeted this out yesterday.
With the way Ryan Pace attacked free agency this offseason, and with the way he went after immediate impact players on the first two days of the draft, I think he believes the #Bears rebuild is over, and he expects to compete this year.— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) April 30, 2018
And in regards to Mel’s concern about that 2019 second round pick, I suggest he reads this article from our guy Josh Sunderbruch.
Pete Prisco from CBS Sports gave the Bears an A.
The Bears knocked it out of the park with their first three picks. They landed linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round, and he will immediately become a big part of their defense. In the second round, they hit on interior lineman James Daniels, who will play left guard for them, and then hit big on receiver Anthony Miller, who has star potential. He might end up being the best receiver in this class. If they get a little out of the rest of the class, it’s a bonus. They had an impressive first two days.
The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer gave the Bears a B+.
Ryan Pace kept up his excellent offseason with Matt Nagy and Vic Fangio in mind, from Bulldog to Bulldog. For offense, Daniels will find a starting spot inside. Miller and Wims are good additional pieces to flank new No. 1 wideout Allen Robinson. Defensively, Smith will start and wreak havoc, and Fitts can be a beast of a situational edge rusher. Iylegbuniwe and Nichols will boost the depth in the middle.
The USA Today gave the Bears an A.
At No. 8, they may have gotten the draft’s best linebacker, Georgia’s Roquan Smith, who’s plenty capable of expanding on a proud Chicago tradition. At No. 39, they may have gotten the draft’s best center in Iowa’s James Daniels. And, after trading up to No. 51, yes, they just may wind up getting the most impactful receiver with Memphis’ Anthony Miller. Bravo, Ryan Pace.
Yahoo had it like this.
The Bears spent free agency fixing their offensive skill positions, so it made sense to invest in a defensive difference maker in the first round. Roquan Smith will make an impact from Week 1 on. Then it was back to the offense. Center James Daniels was a borderline first-round talent. Receiver Anthony Miller was highly productive at Memphis and will be another target for Mitchell Trubisky. That could turn out to be a great pick. The Bears did very well with those three picks in the first two rounds.
NFL.com broke it down by day before giving their overall grade.
Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: A
Day 3 grade: B+
Overall grade: A
The skinny: The Bears found much-needed speed and talent for their defense with the addition of Smith. He is not a physical specimen in the Brian Urlacher mold but still a force to be reckoned with. The Georgia star was the best player on the board at the eighth pick. Daniels will fit into the Bears’ offensive line wherever coaches can stick him. If his knees are fine, he’ll start in the league for a long time. They paid a 2019 second-round and 2018 fourth-round pick to get an outstanding receiver in Miller. He’ll take over Cam Meredith’s spot and could be a long-time starter due to his competitive nature. Iyiegbuniwe will be an active linebacker for the Bears, who might have gone a bit early. Nichols is an athletic big man that will fit into their rotation right away, and Fitts fits well as an edge rusher in the 3-4 scheme; only injuries have limited his success in college. A riser as a senior, Wims can win downfield for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com went with a B+ for the Bears.
It is appropriate that the year legendary linebacker Brian Urlacher will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the Bears found their next star in the middle with Georgia’s Roquan Smith, who possesses the instincts and elite athleticism to live up to this legacy. The expensive trade up a year ago for Mitchell Trubisky left the Bears shorthanded but general manager Ryan Pace turned that into three potential starters in Smith, highly athletic interior offensive lineman James Daniels and wideout Anthony Miller, one of the savviest route-runners and most reliable pass-catchers in this draft. Like Miller (Memphis), relative small-schoolers like inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (Western Kentucky) and defensive end Bilal Nichols (Delaware) face a steep jump in competition but are potential diamonds in the rough.
Edge rusher Kylie Fitts and wide receiver Javon Wims flashed playmaking ability but injury (Fitts) and a lack of opportunities (Wims) kept them from reaching their potential in college. Each, however, has the raw talent to potentially be more successful in the NFL than they were in college.
Evan Silva of Rotoworld had to keep up his anti-Pace sentiment by giving the Bears a B-.
Overview: Smith was arguably a top-three non-quarterback prospect in this draft and an easy pick at No. 8 for GM Ryan Pace, shoring up a need and giftwrapping for DC Vic Fangio his next Navorro Bowman. Iowa offensive linemen usually have high floors and pro-ready games, and Daniels fits the bill. Although he mostly played center at Iowa, Daniels will compete at left guard as a rookie. The Bears were extremely aggressive targeting Miller, sending the Patriots their 2019 second-round pick to climb from pick No. 105 to 51.
Iyiegbuniwe is an undersized probable special teamer. Pace sees Nichols as a five-technique defensive end who can rush from the interior on passing downs. Fitts would have been drafted higher if not for bad injury luck. Wims offers some possession-receiver potential. A solid class, but I would have liked to see the Bears emerge from this draft with pass-rush help.
You grade the 2018 Chicago Bears Draft Class.
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B- or lower
If you go with a B- or lower then please explain your Evan Silvaesque reasoning in the comment section below.