I would have loved to have seen Ryan Pace trade back, grab a few more good football players, then get his top tight end somewhere in the fifty's.
That’s the exact scenario I had in my last mock draft.
In that I moved back from 43 and grabbed Cole Kmet with the 53rd overall pick after getting Lloyd Cushenberry III at 50. Funny thing about the simulators and the internet draft boards is they all had Cushenberry being drafted in this general range, but the real draft saw him fall to the third round and 83 overall.
It’s almost like the draft boards from the 32 NFL teams are much different than the boards from ESPN, The Draft Network, SB Nation, the fans, etc...
About half of the mock draft simulations I ran had Kmet dropping past the Bears second round picks and the other half had him going earlier. Some mock gurus around the web had Kmet being drafted in first round while others had him in the second round.
But the same thing could be said for several prospects. For example, five of the mock drafters over at CBS Sports had Jaylon Johnson going in the first round. The same Jaylon Johnson the Bears tabbed at 50 overall.
I think a lot of us were hoping the Chicago Bears would have traded back off of one of those two second round picks, but Pace decided to stay put and draft a player that he had high on his board. It would have been awesome for Pace to move back and draft Grant Delpit (who went at 44) or Antoine Winfield Jr. (who went at 45), then grabbed Kmet (who Pace apparently had rated higher than those two safeties) somewhere further down the board, but what if another team sensed Pace’s plan to get his tight end later and then jumped him to steal Kmet away?
There are a lot of scenarios teams have to run through before the draft happens, but once it starts they have seven minutes between each pick in the second round to make their decision.
Pace said at his post draft presser that he had some opportunities to trade back at both 43 and 50, “but once we knew those players (Kmet and Johnson) were going to be there we were excited to select them at those points.”
Chicago’s draft board lined up differently than yours or mine, or Sports Illustrated’s, or the one at Pro Football Focus, or even the one we had from our Lead Draft Analyst Jacob Infante. Although Jacob’s did have Kmet as his 45th rated prospect. And Pace has no way of knowing how the other 31 teams are operating during the draft so he had to go with his gut and get his guy.
Why dick around with trading back in hopes you can get your highly rated player later when you can get your highly rated player at your current selection?
The only thing guaranteed to a general manager in the draft is the pick in front of him, so Pace trusted his board. I understand the ‘value of a Y tight end’ argument, but in Matt Nagy’s scheme he values both tight end spots higher than some other teams do. To him, Kmet was the right pick at the right time.
Kmet’s true value will be determined when he gets on the field and starts to play in real NFL games. The Bears feel he’s a classic Y tight end in their scheme, and that he has the all-around skill set to thrive. Some Bears fans are gun shy over the last Y that Ryan Pace drafted, Adam Shaheen, but one player has nothing to do with the other.
In a few years when analysts start to do their re-drafts, and if Kmet ends up higher than 43, then we’ll know the true value of the Notre Dame tight end to the Bears.