Last weekend was the 2020 NFL Draft and it was a time for all 32 teams to ready themselves for the upcoming season with fresh faces and renewed hope. The Chicago Bears may have begun the event with two picks in the second-round, one in the fifth, two in the sixth, and two in the seventh, but general manager Ryan Pace maneuvered around the draft board on day three to net a triple dip the fifth-round, while still maintaining a a couple picks in the seventh.
It was exciting to see how the Bears balanced the needs on their roster with the value of their board, and while it seems like they may have reached with their first selection, the boards of the 32 NFL teams rarely jibes with the mock drafts and big boards we’re privy to leading up to the real event.
This weeks round-table question posed to the Windy City Gridiron staff is a two-parter, with the first part being about the Bears and the second being more NFL Draft in general.
What was your favorite draft pick by the Bears and your favorite non-Bears draft pick?
I’ll share what a bunch of our teammates had to say and throw my thoughts in at the end. Spoiler alert; you’re going to hearing a lot of praise about Bears’ rookie Jaylon Johnson.
I was a big fan of the selection of Jaylon Johnson at No. 50. Had it not been for his shoulder issues, he would have very likely ended up being a first-round selection. He is essentially the perfect replacement for Prince Amukamara in Chicago’s defensive scheme: he’s physical, he’s lengthy, he’s intelligent, and he has very good ball skills. For a 20-year-old prospect, he’s incredibly polished, and he should be able to fit in as a Day 1 starter on the boundary who could potentially develop into a Pro Bowl talent.
As far as my favorite non-Bears pick goes, I was totally shocked that the Cardinals were able to select Josh Jones at No. 70 overall. I was really excited to see Isaiah Simmons in Arizona’s defense, but I figured at the time that they were missing out on getting some much-needed protection for Kyler Murray. Little did I know that they would somehow end up with a first-round offensive tackle in Round 3. Jones is a nimble, lengthy and high-effort tackle who has all the tools to be an anchor at either tackle position for years to come, and I think that he was nothing short of highway robbery that late in the draft.
Jaylon Johnson was a player I’d targeted fairly early in the process as a very solid fit at a position of need for Chicago. As the process wore on my worry became that he was getting to much attention and would not be on the board when the Bears first pick rolled around. In the end he was there and I think he has every chance to be an excellent corner in Pagano’s defense.
My favorite non-Bears pick is extremely difficult to narrow down. There were so may excellent choices that look like near-perfect fits. I’ll pick two: Clyde Edwards-Helaire to the Chiefs is something that should make all other AFC teams shake in their cleats a little. KC’s offense was already high-powered and CE-H will make them a whole lot better. That’s a frightening thought. The other example is much less high-profile pick: Brandon Jones (S, Texas) to the Dolphins in Round 3. I’d been shouting at whoever would listen for about month that Jones was an excellent safety and I had no idea why so many analysts had him rated so low (usually 5th round or below) in this class. It was very gratifying as an analyst to know that at least one team saw the same things in his game that I did and chose to invest a Day-2 pick to acquire him.
I’m with everyone else that it’s Jaylon Johnson. I can’t pretend that I knew anything about him going into the draft, but everything I’ve read has me excited that they could have a future long term starter at the position. I wasn’t able to follow the lead up for the draft as closely as I do usually since I have a new baby to take care of, but I am tantalized by the prospect of seeing what Andy Reid can do adding Clyde Edwards-Helaire to that offense.
This is the easiest question by far and the answer is Jaylon Johnson. Johnson fits perfectly into Chuck Pagano’s scheme, he’s shown plenty of ability to jump routes and has great leaping ability to win jump balls. He’s also a really smart football player and is a student of the game. If he didn’t have any injury concerns, he would have been a top 20 pick in the draft. I think Johnson has a chance to start week one and could develop into an elite corner.
For non-Bears favorite draft pick, how about the Texans selection of Ross Blacklock in the second round at 40? This guy has special athleticism that you don’t see very often in a defensive lineman. He’s inconsistent at times and had an Achilles injury in 2018, but he’s the type of talent that could elevate a front seven.
My favorite draft pick was Jaylon Johnson, but rather than go on and on about why I like the pick (he’s who I was hoping for at 43) I’m going to say I do in fact like the Cole Kmet pick (if not the spot he was picked at). The kid has a very high floor. Chicago needed two starters out of this round, and if not this year, Kmet should be one of those starters. What they cannot... CANNOT... afford is misses. Pace had to do a conservative draft at the top end, and he did.
My favorite non-Bears draft pick (other than of course the really questionable picks by Green Bay and Detroit) is Tyler Biadasz, C, Dallas Cowboys. This years Rimington award winner, out of Wisconsin (a school that knows a thing or two about sending pro-ready linemen into the league), and they got the young man with the 146th pick. An absolute steal at a position of need for them.
Considering he makes an already good defense special again, Jaylon Johnson was the best selection the Bears made. When it’s all said and done, hyperbole not withstanding, he might be remembered as one of Ryan Pace’s best overall draft picks (even with the low bar). Johnson should be a Day 1 starter on the opposite boundary of Kyle Fuller. And he should help cement the NFC’s best defense as playoff caliber (especially with seven eligible teams).
CB Jaylon Johnson was far and away my favorite pick from general manager Ryan Pace. Not only was he widely viewed as a first-round talent, he fills a big need and provides even more competition to a relatively young group. Going into the draft, the Bears needed a pair of Week 1 contributors and I absolutely believe Johnson will be one of those.
As far as favorite non-Bears draft pick, I’ll go with Cleveland’s pick of LSU safety Grant Delpit at No. 43. Excellent value, especially into the second right like that.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter
Jaylon Johnson was easily the best pick out of Ryan Pace’s haul for 2020. Johnson was a solid first round pick who fell to the Bears’ lap at 50th overall. He’ll prove to be the perfect DB to pair with Kyle Fuller at Corner. Oh, and how fun is it going to be for Johnson to just play ball with such a nasty front seven ruining QBs lives?
As far as my favorite “non-Bears” draft pick goes, I have to tip my hat to John Elway for letting Jerry Jeudy fall to him. Jeudy was the single best player at receiver this year, period. Quite frankly, it’s an embarrassment that he wasn’t the first receiver taken off the board.
My runner up for favorite “non-Bears” draft is when Green Bay moved up to pick Jordan Love. Not because I think it’s a good pick, but because of all the panic it has caused in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is (likely) PISSED.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
Like my WCG cohorts, I also am a fan of the Bears grabbing Johnson with the 50th pick. The “experts” all predicted he’d go in the first round, and when you watch him play you can understand why. Considering he played through it the last two years, I’m not concerned about his shoulder injury. He had surgery in March and should be ready to go around camp.
My favorite non-Chicago draft pick was Devin Duvernay to the Ravens in the third round. He was a player I was hoping the Bears would have figured out a way to draft. He’s a deep threat that also thrives with yards after the catch, so I’m curious to watch his career develop with Lamar Jackson throwing him the ball.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know your favorite Bears draft pick and your fav non-Bears pickup too.