The Chicago Bears might be ahead of the game within the division.
The Ryan Pace era with the Chicago Bears has been about getting the top players on the teams board each draft instead of trading down to acquire more draft assets. The 2020 NFL season might be the year that pays off for Ryan Pace.
Last season we saw the Chicago Bears draft five players but signed 21 undrafted free agents. The priority last offseason was to acquire the best of the bunch in the undrafted market. This year the Chicago Bears were rocking two second-round draft picks, and the fans were pounding the table for them to trade down to acquire more draft assets.
Ryan Pace stood pat and took what was available to him. Regardless of our feelings about the seven players taking by the Chicago Bears, they lacked behind their divisional opponents in drafted players. The Detriot Lions and the Green Bay Packers choose nine players while the Minnesota Vikings took an astounding 15 players.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 NFL rookie minicamps were canceled. Now the NFL front office has proposed to the NFLPA to cancel all preseason games this season to make sure there is a health plan put in place for the players.
The NFLPA has been trying to reduce and potentially eliminate the preseason all together. Sure four games might not make or break a player, but sometimes the offseason helps a coaching staff see the hidden gems that should be thrust into starting roles sooner rather than later.
We have seen this numerous times for players like Philip Lindsay, Nate Newton, and Arian Foster. The 2020 NFL season is still up in the air, but expect teams to lead the charge towards playoff births to be teams that have a lot of veteran presence on the team that won’t need full offseasons to get up to speed.
The last example of seeing a player not need an offseason to play exceptionally well for the Chicago Bears is Khalil Mack. Mack is a prime example of a veteran player who stays in shape, regardless of the situation happening during the offseason. Mack came in and produced six forced fumbles 12.5 sacks despite holding out waiting for the Las Vegas (then Oakland) Raiders.
Maybe it is dumb luck that Ryan Pace has had plans that have worked in his favor during the Matt Nagy era. Or perhaps he plans things in specific ways. Either way, the advantage goes to the Chicago Bears.