All this praise being heaped on our Chicago Bears’ 2018 draft class is getting old. I mean, we get it, Ryan Pace nailed it. Big deal. Instant upgrades, plug and play, building a winner, yada, yada, yada. Enough already.
Now that the dust has settled on the Draft and rookie minicamp is underway, I’m even more fired up to get the 2018 season started. I can’t wait to see how the new faces are incorporated into the Matt Nagy version of the Bears. The top three picks have the potential to be day one difference makers, but their other four draft picks all bring something different to the team.
The latest publication hyped up on the Bears’ draft is Pro Football Focus. If you remember, they actually called the draft “below average,” which prompted our own Patti Curl to call them out. PFF saw her criticism and immediately said, ‘Whoops, our bad!’ Claiming it was an error in editing.
It’s okay, we forgive you...
PFF recently picked their top five choices to win defensive rookie of the year, and look who they had at number one.
Roquan Smith was one of the best prospects in this draft, coming in at No. 7 on our final Big Board, and most importantly his skill set makes him the perfect linebacker for today’s league. Smith’s coverage skills are elite when it comes to college prospects and he has the ability to make plays in coverage that few NFL linebackers can. Crucially, he also has the range and instincts to make stops all over the field even if he isn’t a 250-pound player. He had the second most defensive stops (74) in all of college football last season and saw his PFF grade get better each season of his college career.
In Chicago’s defense, Smith should have the freedom to impact all areas of the field and the coverage skills to make plays in front of a much improved secondary. If the big plays fall the right way he could make a big case for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
That bold was mine, but necessary...
In another recent article they doubled down and had nice things to say about all of Chicago’s picks. They called Western Kentucky’s Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Chicago’s fourth round selection, another inside linebacking upgrade. Kylie Fitts (6th round) and Bilal Nichols (5th round) received just a passing mention, but they went into a little more detail on seventh rounder Javon Wims, and second rounders James Daniels and Anthony Miller.
About Miller, the PFF metrics had him leading “the nation in passer rating generated on slot targets.” Miller figures to play plenty from the slot, but I think he ends up starting at the Z receiver position in Nagy’s offense.
I’ve seen a few internet scouts say Wims isn’t much of a run after catch threat, but PFF said he “forced 11 missed tackles after receptions.”
And they had Daniels as their highest graded run blocking center in the entire draft class.
They go into more depth in the following video, so give it a whirl!