Chicago Bears: 2020 NFL Draft is most important for Ryan Pace

Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Ryan Pace
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Pace doesn’t have the best track record drafting players, and the upcoming draft may decide his fate

When Ryan Pace became the new Chicago Bears‘ General Manager in January 2015, it was a fresh breath of air as his predecessor, Phil Emery, lasted just three years at the position. Emery had previous ties to the organization, and, before him, Jerry Angelo’s 11-year stint from 2001-2011 resulted in just five winning seasons.

Pace had been with the New Orleans Saints franchise since 2001, working his way up from an operations assistant to the director of player personnel. But he’s had just one winning season in his first five years.

Granted, he inherited an aging roster, but 2018 looked like the Bears were on the cusp of something special. Highlighted by the progression of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the third-best defense in the league, the Bears finished with a 12-4 record. A loss to the Philadelphia Eagles felt like a premature ending to a special season, but the arrow was trending up for the franchise.

But that was short-lived after a disastrous 2019, in which Trubisky took a massive step backward as did the defense. Approaching next month’s draft, the pressure is on Pace to select players that are going to contribute. He cannot have another draft where only one or two guys pan out, or it could cost not only his job but head coach Matt Nagy’s.

Let’s look at several draft picks that Pace has both hit and missed on that’s led to this point.