Round 7 | Pick 221 | Zane Gonzalez, K, Arizona St.
Current kicker Connor Barth just isn’t cutting it. Hitting on only 78% of the kicks is unimpressive to say the least. It’s worse considering the minimal number of opportunities the Chicago Bears had to score. The Bears need more from their kicker, and Gonzalez is the player to help.
Gonzalez made 23 of 25 field goals last year. He also holds the record for most field goals in FBS history with 96.
What can a kicker do to help the team? Aside from scoring, which Gonzalez has clearly been able to do, kickoffs are a key component to success. Zane Gonzalez has increased his kickoff depth, showing a devotion to the craft and an increase in strength. The Bears are in the bottom three in the league when it comes to kickoff touchbacks. That’s a perfect pairing.
The seventh round is where teams either take risks to find gems, or throw away picks on guys with 7th round talent. Drafting a kicker is often criticized, but Gonzalez deserves to be drafted. In fact, he was thought by some to be worthy of a mid-round selection.
When all is said and done, the Chicago Bears come out of this hypothetical, trade down draft, with at least four starters, if not more. Further, the Bears would have multiple players primed to take over their position in 2018. Last but not least, there would be consideration for current roster strength and cap implications.
Some may love the Ryan Pace 2017 NFL Draft, but the preceding scenario would have helped the franchise more.