The 2017 NFL Draft is over, and there is a lot to say about every teams’ draft choices. As for right now, for the Chicago Bears, this seems to be the worst since the arrival of Ryan Pace as the franchise’s general manager. Of course, only time will tell if this is truly the worst ever. But, under the circumstances in which Pace and the rest of the Bears’ brass went about making these selections easily makes this a head-scratcher for all fans in the Windy City.
Chicago did grasp the attention of the football world when they decided to trade up with the San Francisco 49ers from the third overall pick to the second overall pick (also surrendering their 2017 third- and fourth-round picks and 2018 third-round pick). Then the Bears flipped the football world upside down by selecting North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Obviously, Chicago has been in search for their quarterback of the future for quite some time, but was it worth going after in such dramatic fashion? And why would they pick a QB with limited college experience?
It’s been a while since the Bears had such a high overall pick. So why not invest that selection into a player that is more of a can’t-miss? There were plenty of defensive players available that could’ve contributed right off the bat for Chicago. LSU safety Jamal Adams, Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore, or even Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas (who the 49ers drafted right after the trade with the Bears) would have made perfect sense. And considering that the Bears ended the 2016 season with their run defense ranking 27th in the league, defense should have been a higher priority.
Going back to the trade with San Francisco, it appeared that the Bears could have gotten what they wanted without moving up in the first round. According to the San Francisco Bay Area News, the 49ers were going to select Thomas regardless. So it looks like San Francisco came out as the top dog in this trade. Now if Chicago made the trade in an effort to steal Thomas away from the 49ers, then that would have left most fans more satisfied. They would have selected arguably the best available player, and filled a need on the roster at the same time. Let’s not forget that Chicago recently released defensive lineman Ego Ferguson.
More from Chicago Bears News
- Franchise tag and transition tag windows open for Chicago Bears and NFL
- How the Chicago Bears can control the running back market in 2023
- The Chicago Bears can own the city of Chicago moving forward
- Chicago Bears NFL Combine Preview: Quarterback
- 7 best free agent tackle options for Chicago Bears
Now, let’s focus on the quarterback position. Prior to the draft, the Bears invested a three-year, $45 million contract in Mike Glennon. An investment such as this pretty much guarantees that Glennon will be the Week 1 starter under center. But the selection of Trubisky makes you wonder if Pace has faith in Glennon even living up to his contract. No one trades away multiple draft picks and selects a quarterback this high with the intentions of having him ride the bench for a long time. And this brings up my other concern. As mentioned earlier, Trubisky has had limited experience as a quarterback on the collegiate level (only 13 starts). On paper, Trubisky looks the part (6-foot-2, 222 pounds), and his 30 touchdown passes while in Chapel Hill, NC would attract any scout’s attention. But why would you reach for such a player when someone like Deshaun Watson was available?
Unlike Trubisky, Watson has a much more impressive resume. Watson has two full seasons as a starter under his belt, and led his Clemson Tigers to the National Championship two years in a row, with Clemson winning this past season over a team that could been seen as the 33rd team of NFL in the Alabama Crimson Tide. Personally, I feel Watson should have been the choice as “future quarterback.” Seeing the Bears draft Trubisky kind of reminds me of the Cincinnati Bengals drafting a QB in 1999 with similar limited experience on the Division I level, Akili Smith.
As for the rest of the draft, you would have thought that the Bears were going to focus more on need rather than picking the best player available. And when I say “need,” I mean defense. Yes, Chicago did sign some defensive free agents this offseason, and they should have some significant contribution to the 2017 season. Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper will add much-needed depth to the cornerback position. However, Amukamara’s career has been plagued with injuries, and there is no telling if he’ll hold up. In addition, the release of Tracy Porter and the declining of the fifth-year option on Kyle Fuller’s contract gives more of a reason why the Bears should have drafted a cornerback.
Eddie Jackson, a safety out of Alabama, was the only defensive player Chicago drafted this year. Unfortunately, Jackson comes with a red flag due to a history of injuries. In 2014, Jackson suffered a torn ACL, and his 2016 season was cut short after breaking his leg.
All in all, after trading away those picks to the 49ers, Pace and the Bears should have thrown away their philosophy of drafting the best player available. With limited picks, selections for needed positions should have been made. Now, I’m not putting Pace in the category of being one of the worst GMs in the league simply for the decisions he made for this year’s draft. Overall, Pace has done a good job at evaluating and bringing in talent for the Bears. What I am saying is that their approach to this year’s draft has been unusual, to say the least. Maybe everything will work out, maybe it won’t. But I feel confident in saying that Bears fans would feel much better had Pace used that first-round pick more wisely, and decided to keep those other draft picks.