How did the Bears fare in the 2016 NFL Draft?
To spark up the offseason we are going to go back in time and regrade the Bears drafts of the past decade. Some will be a lot easier to grade than others but it will be a good exercise to look at recent history and compare it to what the team has and has not learned over its hits and misses. This edition, we will focus on the 2016 NFL draft.
1. Leonard Floyd, Pass Rusher, Georgia
Reports surrounding Leonard Floyd pre-draft were rampant. There was essentially a guarantee that the Giants were going to take him at pick ten, and a couple of other teams were jockeying to get ahead of them. The Bears were able to do that with their acquisition of the ninth pick, and eventually Leonard Floyd.
The Bears move up just two spots, and it cost them the 106 pick in the 2016 draft. With the 11th pick, the Bucs took Vernon Hargreaves. With the added pick from the Bears, the Bucs were able to build a package that turned into Robert Aguayo. Aguayo may get cut this offseason. With pick 106, the Chiefs wound up with cornerback Eric Murray. Murray did not take a defensive snap last season. This will likely be a win if the Bears ended up trading Floyd for Hargreaves straight up. Hargreaves has been fine and has a ceiling still to hit. However, Floyd looks like he is capable of being the real.
2. Cody Whitehair, Offensive Line, Kansas State
After trading up for Floyd, the Bears ended up trading back twice before taking Cody Whitehair. With that, the team picked up the 117th pick which they used to trade up for Nick Kwiatkowski, and they landed Deon Bush. The picks that the Bears traded out of turned into Reggie Ragland, who missed the entire 2016 season, and Jarran Reed who earned a rotational role on the Seahawks defensive line last season.
Whitehair started as a backup guard but an ACL injury to Hroniss Grasu has pushed him to center. Since stepping in at center Whitehair has almost easily won the long term starter spot and was one of the bright spots on the entire team last season. In terms of value Whitehair has the chance to be one of the better Bears selections of the past decade. Especially if he can progress as he enters year two.