The usual offseason NFL content can go in several different directions, but re-drafts have become one of those yearly staples that everyone seems to do. We even did one with the other SB Nation sites as we re-drafted the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. These hindsight exercises are neat to see just how different things end up being once these guys get on the field.
ESPN recently took the re-draft in an interesting direction by wiping the entire slate clean and making every player in the league available in a four-round draft. They had their beat writers pick for the team they cover with only a few rules. Each fantasy general manager had to take a quarterback, an offensive player that wasn’t a QB, a defensive player, and their other pick could be anything they wanted.
There were three Chicago Bears among the 128 drafted players.
Khalil Mack went in the first-round at 24 overall to the New Orleans Saints, Eddie Jackson went with pick 110 in the 4th-round to the Bears, and Allen Robinson came of the board with pick 125 in the 4th to the New York Giants.
Here’s how Bears’ beat writer Jeff Dickerson did it for Chicago.
Round 1 (19): Jimmy Garoppolo, QB
Round 2 (46): Derrick Henry, RB
Round 3 (83): Jerry Jeudy, WR
Round 4 (110): Eddie Jackson, S
I was determined to draft a quarterback in Round 1 and felt fortunate that Garoppolo was available. At 28 years old, he tied for fifth in touchdown passes (27) and took his team to the Super Bowl last year. And Henry, the NFL’s rushing champion, was a no-brainer for me in the second round.
I wanted another offensive weapon, so I used my wild-card pick on Jeudy. My only regret is that I took Jeudy over Amari Cooper, who went four spots later. Hindsight is 20/20, but there’s no time to second-guess in my war room. I wrapped up the draft by addressing defense with ascending Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson. Translation: 12 victories and a berth in the conference championship game, at minimum. — Dickerson
Dickerson’s pick of Garoppolo could have raised some eyebrows, but he is an ascending talent with his best football still ahead of him. Plus that pick coupled with Henry in the second round plays into ESPN’s statistical nugget.
Stat to know: Which two teams led the NFL in play-action passing yards last year? Henry’s Titans (1,694) and Garoppolo’s 49ers (1,614). There might be a play-action pass or two in this Chicago playbook.
A run heavy, play action based offense would be exactly what some Bears fans are hoping to see, and the upside of Jeudy would be a boon for this “what if” offense.
Mike Clay’s draft grade: Tier 4. Garoppolo appears legit, and getting him at 19th overall is a nice value. Henry doesn’t catch enough balls to go at No. 46, and as Dickerson acknowledged, it was risky to go Jeudy over proven commodities. I would’ve looked elsewhere on defense, too, but Jackson is solid.
Clay giving this imaginary Chicago draft haul his bottom tiered grade just seems on brand with how most pundits have viewed anything the Bears have done recently. I wasn’t on board with Dickerson having his mind set on getting a QB in the first round, but with the way the board fell — 14 quarterbacks off the board — it almost had to be a QB.
He probably could have had Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas, or Mack in the first round then came around to his BPA QB in the second, but there would have been no guarantees he would have been able to tab a quality guy to run the offense.
At least he didn’t wait until the 4th-round to address the most important position in sports like the beat writers for the Kansas City Chiefs with Tyrod Taylor, or the Saints’ in getting Philip Rivers.