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, Roquan Smith
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Adrian Amos highlighted Pace’s debut draft

2015 Class: Adrian Amos, Eddie Goldman

Selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Amos started all 16 games of his rookie year and became a permanent fixture in the Chicago Bears’ secondary. In 2018, he and Eddie Jackson were a dynamic duo at the top of the defense. Amos recorded 73 total tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, nine pass deflections, and a sack.

Eddie Goldman has been a one-man wrecking crew since he entered the league. He’s been a regular on the Bears defensive line and has recorded 12.5 sacks to go along with 153 total tackles, including 17 tackles for loss.

2016 Class: Cody Whitehair, Nick Kwiatkoski, Jordan Howard

Whitehair has been an invaluable draft pick, starting all 64 games mostly at center on the Bears offensive line. The former second-round pick out of Kansas State has been responsible for just seven sacks allowed in his career, per PFF. He regressed a bit last year, but so did the entire offensive line.

A standout at West Virginia, Nick Kwiatkoski, was the team’s fourth-round pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. He mostly played in a backup capacity but filled in admirably after the Bears lost Danny Trevathan last year. He tallied 76 total tackles, including eight tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and four pass deflections. Kwiatkoski also recorded the first interception of his career in Week 10 against the Lions last season.

Howard was one of the best gems that Pace drafted, and the Bears were able to grab him in the fifth round. In his rookie year, Howard rushed for over 1,300 yards in 15 games, including 13 starts. He followed that with a 1,122 rushing yard campaign, but his production dropped off in 2018 as he ultimately didn’t align with Nagy’s offensive scheme.

Of the three, only Whitehair remains on the roster.

2017: Eddie Jackson, Tarik Cohen

Had Eddie Jackson not broken his leg at Alabama, he likely would have been drafted much higher. However, the Bears were able to grab both he and Tarik Cohen in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Jackson has posted back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons and has tallied ten interceptions in his first three years.

Cohen came out of North Carolina A&T, and he’s been the Chicago Bears version of Darren Sproles. He’s played in all 48 games through his first three years and has been a dual-threat out of the backfield. His production dropped off last year as he struggled to get anything going behind an inconsistent offensive line.

2018: Roquan Smith

The Chicago Bears badly needed a middle linebacker to replace Brian Urlacher. Roquan Smith was considered to be one of the best in the 2018 class, displaying great instincts and sideline-to-sideline speed. In his first two seasons, he’s led the team in tackles while also tallying 13 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and two interceptions.

2019: David Montgomery

As Jordan Howard’s replacement, David Montgomery had big shoes to fill in his rookie year. Finding a running back who fits Nagy’s offensive scheme was a huge talking point all offseason, and the Iowa State product was tabbed to be that guy. Last year, he rushed for 889 yards on 242 attempts while hauling in 25 receptions for 185 yards as well. Montgomery is going to be a huge piece of the Bears offense going forward.