Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace Evolution: Defensive Line
How has the defensive line evolved since Ryan Pace has taken over as the Chicago Bears General Manager
Ryan Pace is now entering year four as the General Manager of the Chicago Bears. He now has had his hands on every roster decision for every position possible. With that said, it is a good time to look back at his evolution of the positions.
We have looked at the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, tackles, guards, and centers. Today, we will look into the defensive line.
Jarvis Jenkins, Ego Ferguson, Eddie Goldman, Will Sutton, Mitch Unrein, Jay Ratliff, Cornelius Washington
Ferguson, Sutton, Ratliff, and Washington were the players in which Pace inherited and started to build from. Pace was changing schemes as well with the addition of Vic Fangio, so these names were not long for the roster, either.
In the second round, he drafted Goldman. To date, that would be looked at as a hit. He got on the field as a rookie and for the most part has been a healthy contributor. Jarvis Jenkins was not quite the same hit, but the team was not nearly as committed.
To make up for that miss, a great eye of scouting saw Mitch Unrein released after training camp in San Diego. The Bears were quick to swoop up a player who would turn into a starter and depth helper for three seasons.
Akiem Hicks, Jonathan Bullard, Eddie Goldman, Will Sutton, C.J. Wilson, Mitch Unrein, Cornelius Washington, Roy Robertson-Harris
Akiem Hicks is likely the signing that has Pace fans clinging to his every move to date. It was a major hit and one that was not expected when it was made. Still, the impact was instant and he grew as he got more comfortable in his role as well.
Bullard was added via the draft and Robertson-Harris as a UDFA.
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Akiem Hicks, Jonathan Bullard, Eddie Goldman, John Jenkins, Mitch Unrein, Roy Robertson-Harris
After 2016, the fat was ready to be cut. Sutton, Wilson, and Washington. All gone. The team added John Jenkins via free agency to assure depth. However, this team was confident in the free agent hit of Hicks, the draft hit of Goldman and that the depth additions of Unrein, Robertson-Harris, and Bullard were enough to carry this bunch.
Akiem Hicks, Jonathan Bullard, Eddie Goldman, John Jenkins, Bilal Nichols, Roy Robertson-Harris
Unrein was a great signing when looking at how he was acquired. The Bears just took a shot on a player and got starter snaps. However, when it was time to dish over anything of serious value in terms of the salary cap, it was time to let Unrein go.
The Chicago Bears went to the 2018 NFL draft to add depth with the addition of Bilal Nichols. However, he will slide in as the sixth rotational lineman. The team is expecting a step forward from Bullard and Robertson-Harris again in 2018.
If they can get that, this should be the team strength in 2018 and all six linemen will be Pace acquisitions.