Today I (Sam) asked the staff which of the picks they think will have the biggest impact on the team this year, right away, starting in week one and if they thought one of the other picks have the best longterm prospects for being a star.
Which draft pick(s) do you think will be day one contributors?
Sam: The obvious answer is David Montgomery. It’s the position that the Bears addressed that had the least amount of depth and the biggest need. Once the trade up to secure Montgomery was made, it was solidified. Montgomery is going to be a key cog in the backfield from Bourbonasis, all the way to the postseason.
Lester: I think the only one that will make a day one impact is Montgomery. He might not start immediately, but his talent and fit in the offense is too great not to utilize. If Whyte makes the 53-man roster it’ll because he showed out on special teams as a gunner. Ridley will be too far down the depth chart, and the two defensive backs will probably never see the field on defense as rookies.
Josh: It has to be Montgomery. He’s a system fit, they went after him, and there was a hole.
Aaron: I think the most obvious answer here is both David Montgomery and Riley Ridley. Montgomery will see quite a bit of playing time, even on a rotation. But even Ridley should see immediate time, even as a part time player, due to his route running and polished ability.
Keep an eye on Kerrith Whyte (if he makes the roster). He’s got home run ability as both as runner and a kick returner.
Jeff: Montgomery is the obvious answer. He’ll be on the field taking at least a few carries on opening night. I’d like to think we’ll see Stephen Denmark on special teams opening night - let that dude run down and cover kicks and punts.
Erik: It’ll be David Montgomery. And, all things considered, he’s likely the only one out of this draft right now. Ryan Pace flat out wanted to draft a starter with his first pick, and he got his guy in Montgomery.
Ken: David Montgomery will be a day one guy. I think the other day one guy will be Kerrith Whyte as punt returner. Other than that, the rooks are going to be worked in.
David: As many have said, David Montgomery is the one and only real choice here. Montgomery fills an immediate need as our lead inside zone back and provides the every-down flexibility that Matt Nagy wants all over his offense. He flashed solid pass blocking in college, so I have a feeling he’ll win the starting job sooner than some may think. Considering that I think Riley Ridley will start the year as WR5, Montgomery is the only guy from this class I see impacting Week One.
Jacob: Surprise! It’s David Montgomery here. A well-rounded back who has the elusiveness, vision, contact balance and passing-down versatility to fit in right at home in Chicago’s scheme, he has the potential to be a valuable asset for their offense. While the third-rounder is an obvious option to have an immediate impact, I believe that two rookies will be starters by the end of the year, with the other being Duke Shelley.
WhiskeyRanger: I mean, the obvious choice here is David Montgomery. Dude’s likely to be stepping into a featured back role day one, and is a great fit for this offense. He’s the exact kind of back many of us were hoping the Bears would draft. Honorable mention goes out to Duke Shelley who could challenge 30-year-old Buster Skrine for the slot corner spot, as well as speedy Kerrith Whyte who should see plenty of special teams work on top of the handful of gadget plays Matt Nagy is sure to work up with him per game.
Which draft pick or UDFA do you think has the best longterm potential to be a star?
Sam: With the way the running back position is treated now; with multiple backs each having a role and the players are used until they’re out of the NFL by age 30, I can’t see Montgomery having a crazy long career, even to the point that he approaches Matt Forte territory as a star. For that reason I am going with Ridley. I think a solid route runner like him can develop a role and be a solid receiver for the Bears for years to come.
Lester: It depends on how the Bears value a running back that fits the system like Montgomery does versus paying him a second contract if he has a productive four years. Ryan Pace might view running backs as expendable, in which case Montgomery’s star run will be a short one. I honestly don’t see a star among the rest of the rookie group, but rather a bunch of guys that will be valuable contributors with some having starting potential.
Josh: Whichever kicker makes it through Thunderdome. The team needs to get it right, and special teamers are loved in Chicago.
Aaron: I’m not sure I truly see a “star” in this class but I think in terms of who they landed this past weekend, it would have to be Montgomery. Not only do I think he’ll challenge for serious playing time right off the bat, I think he has more than enough ability to become a Kareem Hunt type player and be more a featured running back than Matt Nagy had intended him to be. I expect Ridley to have a good career but I’m not sure I see him profiling as a receiver that will ever see over 1,000 yards per year in this type of offense.
Jeff: I’m not sure there’s a “star” in the group as the dust settles, but I’m loving what I’m seeing from Duke Shelley so far. If he can develop behind Buster Skrine and play some slot corner, that pick could pay big dividends. I have some confidence that Alex Bars makes the squad as a backup guard and learns behind Long and Whitehair. If he can turn into a starter by year three, that could be another huge win.
Erik: Again, I think it’ll be David Montgomery. He’s everything Matt Nagy wants in a three-down player at running back. Riley Ridley and Emmanuel Hall also have an opportunity if they can gain separation from their competition.
Ken: Star? Montgomery but I also think that Riley Ridley can become a pro-bowl type receiver.
Robert: There are a couple guys worth mentioning here, but all of them have a tough path to “stardom.” Montgomery will need to prove that his foot speed isn’t an issue while continuing to make NFL tacklers miss if he wants to become a “star,” and Emanuel Hall will need to demonstrate that he can stay healthy for 12+ games and run more than three routes. With this in mind, I’ll go outside the box for my answer: Stephen Denmark.
The NFL and its fans love violent hitters, and Denmark is nothing if not violent. A charter member of the “Really Big and Really Fast” club, Denmark’s play at Valdosta St. shows him bully pass-catchers in press coverage while also blanketing receivers down the sidelines. Obviously his seventh round status casts doubt on his potential stardom, I could see him learning under Pagano for a year before getting a shot at a starting CB or SS spot in 2020. And if his ferocity translates from college? He’ll be on highlight reels all year long.
Jacob: It’s a boring choice, but I’ll have to go with Montgomery here. Assuming Mike Davis is a short-term option for their committee, I could see the rookie taking a majority of the snaps at running back for most of the season. Ultimately, I see four potential starters out of this draft class: Montgomery, Riley Ridley, Shelley and undrafted free agent Alex Bars. While Emanuel Hall has the talent to become a starter down the line, the stacked nature of the Bears’ receiver room might make it tough for him to be more than a reliable role player with the team.
WhiskeyRanger: Yeah, well, David Montgomery, again, is the obvious choice (and I think he will be). But I’m going to say Riley Ridley. It may take a few years, and a few contract expirations for players above him on the depth chart, but Ridley can play. He’s got good size, and is a precise route runner. He may not be the most explosive receiver on the roster, but you give Matt Nagy a guy who runs good routes, catches the ball well and has excellent body control, and he’ll scheme him open.
What do you think? Is there a star in this draft class?