The Chicago Bears should draft only offensive players in 2021
The wait is officially on for the next Chicago Bears game in 11 days. In the meantime, here’s an insane statistic to mull over: in the last 55 years — or, since the Super Bowl era began — Chicago has produced a top-10 offense just six times. And they haven’t logged back-to-back seasons of top-10 finishes since 1990.
By that metric, one can reasonably project the Chicago Bears to field an elite offense once every six years. Considering insanity’s definition, they’ve left themselves susceptible, following day-old traditions and expecting different results. In the first NFL Draft of the 2020s, why not reset the table, and hone in and eliminate the team’s biggest impediment?
Why not go all-offense during the 2020 NFL Draft?
It deserves to be noted how rare of an occurrence it is for a team to enter an NFL Draft and occupy every selection on one side of the ball. Over the past decade, only three teams have taken that extreme leap of faith: the 2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 2016 St. Louis Rams, and the 2020 Carolina Panthers. Here’s a brief look at how it fared for those teams:
2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In Year One as Buccaneers’ head coach, Lovie Smith sought to retool the No. 30-ranked Tampa Bay offense by drafting exclusively on that side of the ball. The highlight of the group was three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans, but they had three others contribute at least 40 games played. Tampa Bay has either been in the top-10 in yards or points scored in all but one year since 2015.
2016 St. Louis / Los Angeles Rams
Dovetailing between their St. Louis and Los Angeles tenures, the Rams went All-Offense in 2016, including nine offensive players between ‘16 and ‘17. Some notable players: Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, Gerald Everett, Pharoh Cooper, and Tyler Higbee. Two seasons later, the Rams had a Super Bowl appearance and two top-two offensive finishes to show for it.
2020 Carolina Panthers
This past summer, the Carolina Panthers opened the Matt Rhule era with an All-Defense draft. They’ve yet to reap the benefits of it, allowing 27.2 points per game. But, they have presumptive cornerstones in Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Derrick Brown and October’s Defensive Rookie of the Month Jeremy Chinn.
As proven, one excellent draft class can change the stratosphere of a franchise. Short story long, Ryan Pace has consistently undervalued the importance of offensive line play. PFF’s updated Top 100 features 10 different offensive tackles, seven interior offensive linemen, and most importantly, seven quarterbacks. Chicago will be coming in with picks in Round 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6.
When Apr. 29, 2021 rolls around, the Chicago Bears would be wise to send a message and become the fourth team, showing that offense is the priority.
At season’s end, they should have more than enough talent boasting reasonable cases for Pro Bowl or even All-Pro nods on defense. There’s an open window to cash in on the primes of Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks, who will be 30 and 32-year-olds respectively during the 2021-22 season.
Of course, little matters if the Chicago Bears don’t address schematic and playcalling weaknesses this summer. You could swing a deal and get Ja’Marr Chase and Trevor Lawrence. But if your philosophy is to run one-yard flat routes behind the line of scrimmage or running every first and second down, or better yet, running Wildcat in 2020, problems will persist.
It’s very likely that just by virtue of the defense alone, Chicago sneaks into the postseason. But if they ever intend on making a Super Bowl run, the need for at least an average offense will remain.
Chicago is incapable of going on the offensive from September to January … maybe, just maybe they’ll find their niche in May.