If you had to grade the Chicago Bears 2020 NFL draft, what would you give it?
The Chicago Bears 2020 NFL draft weekend is officially in the books. After taking a chance to breathe in all of the picks and madness, there is now officially a long summer to reflect on what just happened. After reading the press conferences of Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy and hearing their plans for each pick, how would you grade their draft?
2.1 Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
It seems like a lot of fans are disappointed. Still, we knew tight end was a need. We knew that Kmet was a great fit, and we knew that many saw Kmet as the top tight end on the board. The Bears filled a need, they took a player they are clearly high on, and they took, in their minds, the best tight end in the entire draft. At pick 43, there is no other position that you can say that they were the best at their respective position.
Kmet is 20, athletic, and raw from not playing football his entire career. There is a year one application as a complement to Jimmy Graham, plus long term upside higher than most tight ends. Did fans want them to wait until the fifth tight end was drafted before they took the guy they wanted? This pick is fine.
2.2 Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Say what you want. No, this isn’t an offensive lineman. Heck, it isn’t even offense. Yes, the defense is the strength, and the offense needs help. Yes, this is an account that is higher on Kevin Toliver than most. None of that matters, this pick is a slam dunk.
We have written about Jaylon Johnson often as well. For my money, after Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson, there was no CB better in the 2020 NFL draft. Johnson is young, athletic and can start right away. He is physical and plays a brand of football, similar to Kyle Fuller. The duo is excellent.
The Bears took the best player on the board and got an immediate starter. Sometimes you need to sharpen your strengths as well. This was a great pick.
5.1 Trevis Gipson, EDGE, Tulsa
We wrote about the trade, and how this is a tough year to gauge if trading future picks is worth it due to COVID-19. Ryan Pace may have traded a pick from a watered-down draft class. Nonetheless, he also added an edge rusher who will backup Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack.
Gipson is an excellent fit in that he played with his hand down, similar to Quinn. He is raw but athletic, and a year behind these two will do well for him.
Still, Pace traded surplus assets for a depth defender. Could he have found more offensive help here? Does Gipson help with special teams, at least?
5.2 Kindle Vildor, CB, Georgia Southern
It is clear Ryan Pace stuck to his board with this pick. Vildor is a corner who can play inside and out, but coming from Georgia Souther to the NFL may be too small for the outside. Still, in the slot, the Bears have Buster Skrine and Duke Shelley. Do they see Vildor as eventually being better than one of or both of them? Possibly. Still, Shelley is more athletic, and Vildor is already 22 years old.
He doesn’t have substantial athletic heights; he’s not a young, raw talent, he is just a late-round slot option who may not make the roster. With actual needs on the board, a luxury pick, and a bad one at that is not warranted.
5.3 Darnell Mooney, WR, Tulane
Similarly to Kmet and Johnson, we have talked up Darnell Mooney since before the draft. He has everything you would want from a Taylor Gabriel replacement and may step in right away next year into that role. Getting instant help on offense is nice. The only questions come from the compensation of a trade up. The Eagles traded back, picked up an extra pick, and drafted Quez Watkins, a speed receiver with the Bears pick. We had Watkins, and Mooney rated close, although we preferred Mooney. Still, the question of whether the trade-up was worth Watkins vs. Mooney will settle it.
7.1 Arlington Hambright, OL, Colorado
Hambright played tackle, but the Bears view him as a guard at the next level. It took a while, but at least they threw resources at trying to lock down a starting right guard. Hambright is raw, but Juan Castillo officially has a project to work on.
7.2 Lachavious Simmons, G, Tennessee State
Let’s face it, nobody has heard of Simmons before draft weekend. Still, throwing depth at guard is helpful to a position of need, and Castillo once again gets a new toy.
Overall, the Bears were in a tough spot without a first-round pick. Still, Kmet and Johnson should make impacts of some sort as rookies, and Mooney has a great shot as well. They added depth at guard, although many fans would have liked it to have come earlier. Gipson and Vildor felt a little like luxury picks more than filling holes, and Pace lost a 2021 pick in the process.
Overall it was a fine draft, but nothing to get overly optimistic about
Overall Grade: C+