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The Ryan Pace Bracket Challenge

It’s the offseason and the Bears’ GM is probably either the best ever or the worst ever. It’s time for some fun in looking at the offseason wins and losses of the man from Flower Mound, Texas.

Why did the Bears draft Mitch Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson? Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

It’s the offseason and actual football is months away. The Chicago Bears are a team in transition (as they always seem to be, really). If the 2021 draft class breaks his way, Ryan Pace has a chance to turn around his legacy as a general manager. On the other hand, if Chicago can’t turn things around with Justin Fields and the crew assembled around him, then it should be clear to everyone (except maybe the McCaskeys) that it’s time for a change. Therefore, in the spirit of rampant speculation and armchair GMing, it’s time to talk about Pace’s best and worst moves. However, the same old arguments are cumbersome, and this is about distraction and fun.

Gone is the tired analysis and thoughtful commentary. Gone is the statistical comparison between outcomes. Instead, I’m hosting elimination brackets—and in the interest of the worst instincts toward pseudo-parity fairness, each installment will include a “best” and a “worst” move. Here’s how it works:

Each day will see a pair of seeded “best” moves face off in terms of fan vote, and each day will see a pair of seeded “worst” moves face off in terms of fan vote. The move with the most votes in each category moves on.

Just like there’s an AFC and an NFC, there are two sides of GMing—draft moves and operational (or management) moves.

For example, on the draft side, Pace’s best eight victories include Justin Fields, Teven Jenkins, Cody Whitehair, Eddie Goldman, Roquan Smith, Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos, and Tarik Cohen. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, his worst draft failures include Mitchell Trubisky, Adam Shaheen, Kevin White, Anthony Miller, Hroniss Grasu, Riley Ridley, Leonard Floyd, and Jonathan Bullard.

While commentary on each phase will include some context (like other draft picks given up to move around, like other opportunities that were missed, other failures that were avoided, and the like), it is ultimately up to each fan to argue in the comments and to vote in the poll. In each case, I will take the poll results from 48 hours after the article launches as the official tally.

To kick things off, we’re going to start with 1 vs 8 on both the best draft moves and the worst draft moves made by Ryan Pace.

Best

#1: Justin Fields - the future savior of the franchise hasn’t played a single snap yet, but he is a top QB prospect that Pace managed to secure after convincing David Gettleman to trade down. Pace gave up a lot, but he got his man.

#8: Tarik Cohen - Cohen is arguably a gadget player, but he’s an All-Pro return man and a mismatch problem, and he added excitement to the field for the Bears’ offense for the first time in what felt like forever.

Worst

#1: Mitchell Trubisky - the former future savior of the franchise has played a lot of snaps and couldn’t find a single team willing to give him a chance to start, so he’s playing for mid-level backup money. Pace gave up a lot to get his man.

#8: Jonathan Bullard - after getting some buzz heading into the draft, Bullard dropped like a rock during the draft itself. It turns out there might have been a reason, because Bullard’s on his fourth team and only has 3.5 more sacks in his career than I do.

Poll

Which was the better draft move?

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    #1 Justin Fields
    (721 votes)
  • 8%
    #8 Tarik Cohen
    (64 votes)
785 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which was the worse draft move?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    #1: Mitchell Trubisky
    (594 votes)
  • 25%
    #8: Jonathan Bullard
    (199 votes)
793 votes total Vote Now