We all remember the tweet from Matt Miller almost immediately following the 2017 NFL Draft. If you don’t here it is:
Said a high-level executive, "(Ryan Pace) just got fired with this draft."— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 30, 2017
If you’re on Twitter at all and you want to go even deeper with it, go ahead and scroll through the replies. Lots of April 2018 replies calling it a Freezing Cold Take and ‘this aged poorly,’ etc.
Those tweets have aged just as poorly.
Here we are, just shy of three years later and we have a ton more information and it appears that the nameless executive source of Miller may have actually been closer to right than wrong.
Ryan Pace hasn’t been fired, but his seat is awfully warm.
On the eve of the draft, three years later, Pace is trying to correct the course of the mistakes made in 2017.
Pace needs to find immediate impact players this weekend, particularly at the positions he missed on so vitally in ‘17; Tight end and quarterback.
In case you need a refresher, here’s what the 2017 Bears draft class looked like (screenshot from pro-football-reference.com)
Now obviously Pace didn’t miss on all of his picks, Tarik Cohen has been a nice player for the Bears, especially given his original round of selection and Eddie Jackson has been an All-Pro selection and earlier this offseason signed a deal to become the highest-paid safety in the league.
But this is about the all-important picks, those first and second rounders that shape general managers’ legacies. That’s what they’re remembered for. While you might recall former GM Jerry Angelo’s hits like Lance Briggs, Alex Brown and Matt Forte, you also remember Michael Haynes, Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi.
Pace is going to get credit for the Khalil Mack deal and for getting Eddie Jackson, Eddie Goldman and Roquan Smith but equally and perhaps more notably he’s going to be tied to Kevin White, Leonard Floyd and, naturally, Mitchell Trubisky.
However, like Angelo and unlike the guy between Pace and Angelo, Phil Emery, Pace has a shot to correct his course and that comes this weekend.
Find a tight end that fits Matt Nagy’s system and can be healthy and make us forget about Shaheen. He’s already brought in Nick Foles, but that is a band aid on a deep cut. Will he take a swing to try and correct the mistake of Trubisky? Can he find a more permanent fix to the Bears’ longest held roster issue?
The 2017 Draft hasn’t gotten Pace fired...yet. And it ultimately might not, but the 2020 Draft can get him his walking papers. But these two drafts will perhaps be most closely tied together for Ryan Pace. He can still get fired for 2017, unless he makes up for in 2020.