Draft time has come and passed for the Chicago Bears. The three-day whirlwind made fans cheer, boo, cry, rage, and much more. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, let’s break down and grade the Bears’ 2017 draft.
The Chicago Bears faced a pivotal draft. Despite two solid drafts by general manager Ryan Pace, the Bears still lack talent in a number of key spots. Chicago entered the draft with roster holes at safety, cornerback, tight end, quarterback, and at tackle. By Saturday’s end, the Bears went home with 5 new players, but how will they fill the Bears’ needs? Let’s break it down!
Round 1 (2nd overall): Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
This pick split fans down the middle. The Chicago Bears dealt two third round picks and a fourth round pick to move up a spot and secure their quarterback. Whether the Bears were “duped” into trading up or not is a moot point. If Trubisky is the franchise quarterback that Pace sees him as, those picks won’t amount to a drop in the bucket. However, Pace unquestionably pushed his chips to the middle of the table with this pick. If Trubisky doesn’t show early promise, it will certainly come at the price of Pace’s job.
Trubsiky was by no means the consensus QB1 of this draft class. He bounced between the second and third ranked quarterback on my board. However, he possesses the talent to become a franchise quarterback in the NFL. He will need to adapt his footwork, decision-making, and taking snaps under center (he played exclusively in the gun at North Carolina) to become a successful NFL signal caller.
That being said, the Bears invested in a first round quarterback for the first time since 2003. The pick also marks the first time that the Bears spent more than a 4th round pick on a QB since 2005. Trubisky wasn’t my QB1 on the board, but this is more about Pace picking his quarterback. Grade: B
Round 2 (45th overall): Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland College
Trading down in the second round didn’t come as a surprise to many. Ryan Pace managed to recover a few picks he gave up in the Trubisky trade. However, the surprise came with the player he traded down to select.
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Tight end certainly presented itself as a position of need, but most expected the Bears to address that later with names like Jake Butt or Jeremy Sprinkle in the later rounds. Instead, Pace picked a raw Division II prospect out of Ashland College. The good news, Shaheen towers over most defenders, even at the NFL level. Also, Shaheen possesses great speed for his 6’6, 278 pound frame. The bad news, it’s impossible to know how he’ll adapt to the NFL. Watching just a minute of his highlight tape shows that Shaheen truly was a man amongst boys in Division II. Things like blocking and creating separation can’t truly be evaluated till training camp and preseason.
Shaheen could be the next Jimmy Graham, or he could be the latest second round pick to fail with the Bears. Either way, the Bears passed on a lot of talent to reach for this raw prospect. Grade: C
Round 4 (112th overall): Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
Welcome back to the FBS. After passing on a lot of talent in the secondary, the Chicago Bears addressed their hole at safety. Jackson played a premiere role for the Crimson Tide when he was on the field. He can pair up well with a box safety like Amos and provide support in the pass game.
His 6 interceptions in 8 games last season shows his ballhawking ability.
Unfortunately, Jackson carries an injury history into the NFL. He broke his leg on a punt return last season. However, that brings up another positive about Jackson’s game, the return game. He housed two punts last season. If anything, this frees up the Bears more than ever to cut ties with Eddie Royal. His punt return skills make him even more dangerous if he snags an interception.
The injury history warrants caution, but Jackson carries enough talent that he’s worth the risk. Grade: B+
Round 4 (119th overall): Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina A&T
I hope you enjoyed your time in the FBS, because we won’t return for the rest of the draft.
Cohen dominated the FCS where he piled up more than 5,600 yards over for four seasons. He made a name for himself by creating explosive plays out of nothing (Four touchdowns of 80+ yards). He bounces the majority of his runs to the outside which can likely be explained by his meager 5’6, 180 pound frame. Tarik can also create mismatches as a receiver, and even pitch in with the return game. Yes, he’s essentially a Darren Sproles clone.
The problem? The Bears didn’t need help at running back. They already own the NFL’s second leading rusher from last season. While Jordan Howard doesn’t go outside the tackles much, his counterpart Jeremy Langford does. Hard to justify picking another running back when players like Desmond King (CB, Iowa) were still on the board. Grade: D
Round 5 (147th overall): Jordan Morgan, G, Kutztown
We are back to Division II football. However, much like Shahenn, Morgan looked like a man amongst boys.
At 6’4, 313 pounds, Morgan manhandled the majority of his competition. He received widespread recognition, and was even a finalist for the Gene Upshaw award. While he’s listed as a guard, he started all 4 years at Kuntztown as a left tackle.
Much like Shaheen, Morgan will be forced to adapt to a much higher level of competition. Couple that with his tendency to lean into blocks, and Morgan looks to be more of a multi-year development project than an instant impact. Grade: C-
The 2017 NFL Draft boasted one of the deepest secondary classes in recent memory. The Bears left Philadelphia with only one defensive back. They also drafted as many Division II players as they did FBS players. That’s not to say Division II players can’t make a difference in the NFL, but with so much at stake, it seems like an odd time for Pace to be rolling the dice the way he is.
At the end of the day, the Bears found their quarterback of the future, a potential starting safety, and three extremely raw prospects with boom or bust value. With such a deep draft class, Pace could have definitely walked away with more day 1 starters than he did. Instead, he will have to hope his gambles pay off in the very near future. Overall draft grade: C-