The draft is in the rear view mirror and we’re entering a real dead period of the NFL season, especially with pandemic restrictions putting minicamps and in-person portions of the offseason in jeopardy.
But there’s still plenty to talk about coming out of the draft, especially one filled with so many good surprises for the Bears.
The praise is more or less universal for Chicago’s draft haul and fans are once again hopeful and happy when just weeks ago it was a lot of resignation and negativity.
That’s what the NFL Draft is; hope for a better future for our favorite team.
But not everyone wins in the draft. Whether it’s the front office, other players on the depth chart or future opponents, there are winners and losers in every draft.
This year, it seems like there’s a lot of clear-cut winners and losers for the Chicago Bears.
Ryan Pace, general manager - Look, is all forgiven? No way, many fans still doubt that Pace should even hold his job and few seem to want to give credit to him for wheeling and dealing the Bears into a position for two first-round talents in the first two rounds. I can’t say that I blame them, but Pace is a winner in all of this. He’s possibly bought himself more time, without giving up a ton in terms of future draft capital. As of today, he’s made the team better, although it will still be a long time before we know that his evaluations were correct.
David Montgomery, running back - His protection just got a heck of a lot better. Montgomery should see an improved offensive line with the addition of Teven Jenkins. I personally think that Montgomery’s 1,000 yard season in 2020 was one of the most impressive offensive performance’s I’ve seen from a Bears running back just because of how bad the OL was and how few yards he had halfway through the season (in case you forgot, after missing the week 10 game again Minnesota, Montgomery had 472 yards, giving him just six games to amass 598 yards). Plus with Khalil Herbert, Montgomery should be able to stay fresh with another good change of pace back.
Matt Nagy, head coach - This was an offensive heavy draft for the Bears, perhaps correctly, considering where the units were last year. Nagy gets his quarterback, the one he got say in picking, plus some offensive line help, as well as a couple of extra weapons later on. Nagy was in the same boat as Pace, coming into the draft on the hot seat, but he too now has to silence fans’ doubts about his abilities with a lot more young help coming in. He has to develop Fields, make good play calls for Dalton and call balanced games.
Starting offensive line - Germain Ifedi and Charles Leno were put on notice by Pace following the selection of Teven Jenkins on Friday, and then on Monday the Bears decided to part ways with Leno, which could indicate that Jenkins is in line to be the left tackle.
Then again, it’s possible the Bears look for a cheaper starting caliber veteran in the post-draft wave of free agency.
Pace wouldn’t commit to Jenkins fitting in at one spot on the OL, suggesting that it may be a case of the best man shall win. Ifedi can play a lot of different spots, Jenkins too, fifth-round pick Larry Borom could be in the mix, and they also have a couple of starting-caliber centers, so the OL battle should be one to watch come training camp.
Andy Dalton, quarterback - The Bears once again appear to have talked out of both sides of their mouth to the free agent quarterback. This one feels different though; Fields should need a little more seasoning before he’s ready and Andy Dalton has a much better track record than Mike Glennon. That said though, any sort of three or four game losing streak or stagnant offense and the city will be pounding the table for Fields.
Anthony Miller, wide receiver - It’s a poorly-kept secret that the Bears are finished with their former second-round pick following his ejection from the team’s playoff loss to New Orleans. But the selection of Dazz Newsome sent a clear message. Newsome has return ability, he fits into the slot mold and between him and Marquise Goodwin, Miller suddenly appears to be the odd man out. Now, can Pace recoup a late pick for the once-promising player or will he be handed his walking papers?
Ryan Nall, running back - Dare I write this about the revered spell back? The addition of Khalil Herbert though poses a serious threat to whatever role Nall has. There’s also Damien Williams and Artavis Pierce competing for totes. I just don’t see how he fits on this roster anymore.