Did Ryan Pace waste two draft picks in 2020?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Two of the Chicago Bears 5th round picks were questionable at the time, and remain that way

Ryan Pace has always been aggressive and never afraid to draft his man, even if that is to a fault. That is why it was no surprise to hear that Pace traded a future draft pick to get into the fifth round. However, what was surprising was when the Chicago Bears drafted Trevis Gipson, outside linebacker from Tulsa. Just a few picks later the team drafted cornerback Kindle Vildor, which made many question what was going on.

It is fair to note that there were serious questions about these picks at the time, and they were not hindsight analysis. The picks were chalked up to the idea that Pace knows defensive talent and cornerback and edge rusher are premium positions.

While that is true, a General Manager has to understand his roster, and drafting defense in a year in which offense was clearly a priority was backward thinking.

This has nothing to do with Gipson and Vildor the prospects or the players. However, it hurts that Gipson has been hit with inactive tags through his rookie year, and Vildor has seen his special teams decrease in recent weeks.

The issue was not investing every possible resource into the offense and providing the group with an adequate depth to get through a season. Fans are mad that they are 5-4 and in the midst of a three-game losing streak, but all offseason questions about the depth and talent of the offensive lingered.

Offensive lineman drafted not long after Vildor and Gipson were Hakeem Adeniji, Netane Muti, Michael Onwenu, Jon Runyan, and Justin Herron.

Again, it is not hindsight analysis as this site wrote about four of the five linemen, missing only Herron pre-draft. Any of the other four would have been smart and expected fifth-round picks that would have added depth to a needy unit. It did not matter in particular which one.

Adeniji has guard and tackle ability and started for the Bengals on short notice against the Titans. Unlike Rashaad Coward, Alex Bars, and Arlington Hambright Adeniji had some success against the pass rush in his first career start at a new position. This is not to say Adeniji is some star, but it was universally clear that he was a better prospect than the three starters in Chicago. We wrote about Adeniji and said just that.

Muti has only played five snaps and may have been passed over due to his medicals. Still, his five special teams snaps on Sunday were more than Trevis Gipson.

Onwenu and Herron have played multiple positions on the Patriots offensive line. The Pats offensive line has not excelled, but Onwenu has been a stud in the run game, which is something Chicago needed. Even Jon Runyan, another player we highlighted for Chicago to the draft has played right and left guard for the Packers.

The Bears quite literally had five offensive line upgrades sitting in the fifth round and took a depth pass rusher and a potential slot cornerback who may replace Buster Skrine next year.

It is clear when they drafted Gipson that they had him potentially taking the Barkevious Mingo role on the defense. Mingo has played well against the run and made Gipson redundant.

However, this draws even more red flags against Ryan Pace, because it signals that from the moment he signed Robert Quinn to a giant extension that he knew that Quinn would only be playing half of the defensive snaps.

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So, Pace overpaid for Quinn in a win-now move which did not work out and will try to explain Gipson and Vildor as down the road draft picks because they have not worked out in his win-now window.

When you are in a hole, and you keep digging, it is not going to get you out of the hole. Ryan Pace is starting to learn that after an offseason of chasing his own tail.