Yesterday we shared the first of our seven-part post-NFL Draft round tables where several of us gave our choice for our favorite Chicago Bears draft pick, while also giving our choice for our favorite non-Chicago Bears draft pick. We all went with the same Bears player as our fav, but we had some variance in our pick for favorite league wide choice.
Today’s round-table question posed to the Windy City Gridiron staff is another two-parter, and I’m sure you can guess the direction we’re taking today...
What was your least favorite draft pick by the Bears and your least favorite non-Bears draft pick?
I’ll share what a bunch of my WCG colleagues had to say before adding my two-cents in.
At the time of the selection, I was not a very big fan of the Cole Kmet selection. I liked him as a prospect, but I didn’t think his upside was high enough to warrant taking him over some of the players who were available at the time, such as Grant Delpit, Antoine Winfield Jr. and KJ Hamler. While I’ve come to terms with the pick and appreciate the possibility that the Bears may have found their long-term answer at tight end, an important position in Matt Nagy’s offense, I’m still not as pumped up about that pick as I am with the others.
I’m going to break the rules a little bit and go with two selections for my least favorite non-Bears pick: the two tight ends the Patriots selected in the end of the third round. Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene aren’t bad players, but they were bad values at that stage of the draft. Asiasi isn’t athletic enough or as good of a route runner as the NFL requires to be a true receiving threat, and Keene has some athletic tools and can block, but he’s still quite raw as both a pass-catcher and a blocker. Keene will fill in the role of recently retired fullback James Develin, but using a third-round pick on a fullback is just dumb (sorry, Packers). Bill Belichick knows way more about football than I do, and both of those tight ends will probably end up being All-Pros given they went to New England, but taking both of those guys over superior tight ends like Adam Trautman, Harrison Bryant and Brycen Hopkins is just puzzling to me.
I’m solid with the Bears first 5 picks and I didn’t scout the final two, so “least favorite” doesn’t really apply. If I had to pick one that confused me a little it would be Kindle Vildor at (presumably) nickel corner. The Bears have Buster Skrine there and he played very well last year. They also invested a (low-round) draft pick in Duke Shelley who showed some real promise in the role both in camp and during the pre-season. That being said, I’m not sure Vildor has a clean path to playing time (other than special teams where he will excel) in 2021... but as he was a 5th -round choice that’s fine.
There were none that had me throwing fits really, but I think the Kindle Vildor pick seemed a little unnecessary considering they added a CB in round two and still have last year’s seventh round pick Stephen Denmark, plus Kevin Toliver, Artie Burns, Duke Shelley, Buster Skrine and Tre Roberson. That’s an awful lot of CB competition when you consider that Skrine and Fuller are established starters and Shelley, Johnson and Denmark are all young guys with upside.
I thought it was funny how Vegas went for Henry Ruggs III when it seemed to my amateur eyes that CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy were slightly better prospects. It was like the ghost of Al Davis swept back into the room and handed in the note-card (or made the phone call whatever) for the guy with the best 40 time.
My least favorite selection was Cole Kmet. No, I don’t hate Cole Kmet, I just don’t think his ceiling is that high and I thought there were prospects at other positions that would have been a better value at 43 than Kmet. Yes, that means the Bears might not have been able to address tight end until very late in the draft and yes, I do know how important the tight end position is to Matt Nagy’s offense, but I’m a firm believer in best player available and I don’t believe that was Kmet at 43.
My least favorite non-Bears pick has to be Henry Ruggs to the Raiders at 12. He’s a fine prospect and he has blazing speed which clearly Jon Gruden wanted, but there’s no reason to take him in front of Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb. In my eyes, both those players were superior prospects to Ruggs.
My least favorite pick of the draft was CB Kindle Vildor, not because of Vildor at all but because when he was selected at 163 in the 5th round, Georgia QB Jake Fromm was still on the board. I think at that point in time when you see a guy who’s been as successful as Fromm, and who projects out to be a good backup QB in the NFL, you make the move. We can’t afford to keep paying backup QB’s big money moving forward, bring in a guy like Fromm every 3-4 years, and either they work out or you bring in somebody else.
My least favorite draft pick has more to do with the process than the selection itself. By all accounts, Trevis Gipson appears to be a fine talent for a fifth-round pick. The make-up of Chicago’s current edge rusher room means he’ll likely find a way to contribute.
But why on earth must Pace and his cohort continually insist on giving away valuable top-four-round selections for players they’re evidently obsessed with? There’s something to be said with “getting your guy” and making certain they don’t slip through your fingers. That’s admirable. And there’s also something to be said about living to fight another day. “Getting your guy” applies more to the franchise-changing cornerstones at the top, like Aaron Donald as many love to cite. Why even peruse the hundreds of prospects that come through the pipeline year after year if all you’re going to zero in on a few players through every round and sell out the farm for them and them alone? Give yourself more darts to throw instead of picking a few you adore. Eventually, some don’t stick. But the more darts you have, the more chance that some do log themselves into the wall.
This kind of haphazard capital management will be parsed out as one of the main reasons for Pace’s Chicago career demise if the Bears never succeed under his watch. I shouldn’t have to dictate what, or who, the other is.
My least favorite pick for the Bears is probably the obvious one, but it’s tight end Cole Kmet. It’s not that I think Kmet is, or will be a bad player, but with players like Delpit, Winfield, and Hamler on the board, the value just didn’t seem to add up. Mentally, I’m pretending like Jaylon Johnson was the pick at No. 43 and Kmet went No. 50.
As far as my least favorite pick overall that was non-Bears related, I’ll go with the Packers pick of running back A.J. Dillon out of Boston College. Simply put, I don’t understand it. Taking Jordan Love in Round 1 wasn’t egregious to me but refusing to help out Aaron Rodgers again in the second round with some receiving help with a weapon like Antonio Gipson on the board is something I’ll never understand.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter
I understand that Kindle Vildor was selected in the 5th round, and that most 5th rounders turn into non-consequential picks in the NFL. But with that being said, I really didn’t like this move for the Bears. I felt better talent at receiver and especially O-Line were available, and with Johnson’s arrival why draft another corner? Vildor just doesn’t look to be a player with a role outside of special teams.
For the worst “non-Bears” pick, it has to be the Las Vegas Raiders picking Henry Ruggs at 7th overall. I mean... just why? Forget that he wasn’t even the 3rd best receiver in this year’s class. Al Davis literally returned from the dead and picked the fastest receiver instead of the best receiver. I don’t think Ruggs will be as big of a bust that Darrius Heyward-Bay was. But it’s also approaching that territory thanks to allowing a division rival to have their pick of the two best receivers in this year’s class.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
With their final pick they grabbed Lachavious Simmons, an offensive lineman from Tennessee State, and while he seems like a raw prospect I do like his demeanor on the football field. He could very well become a contributor for the Bears at some point, but it’s not that I don’t like the pick, it’s more that I felt they could have snagged the small school product as an undrafted free agent and plucked a quarterback with the 227th pick.
I get the odds of a 7th-round QB making a difference are slim, but at some point you need to get a kid in camp to to see how he responds to NFL coaching.
As for my least fav non-Bears pick, that has to be Nick Harris, the center from Washington going to the Browns. He went three picks before the Bears grabbed Vildor in the 5th-round and I was hoping he’d be there for Chicago. So I suppose this isn’t my least favorite as much as it’s my ‘Damn the Bears almost had him!’ pick.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know your least favorite Bears draft pick and your least favorite non-Bears pick too.