Chicago Bears: Ryan Pace’s track record of top-50 draft picks

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

Chicago Bears second-round picks

What goes unnoticed are the other top-50 prospects. James Daniels and Roquan Smith were on pace for All-Pro years before sustaining injuries. Availability is essential, but when they are on the field, they both are centerpieces to the success of the Chicago Bears.

Cole Kmet and Jaylon Johnson had terrific rookie seasons. It is still too early to digest them as prospects fully, but it has been all good so far. In my opinion, Kmet had a better year than Jaylon Johnson. Hear me out before you judge that statement. If Allen Robinson has yet to catch a pass from Justin Fields and he is being claimed as the best player to throw the ball to Allen Robinson, guess what that means for Cole Kmet?

Tight end is one of the most challenging skill positions to thrive in as a rookie. Most look at the stats, but as a tight end, there is more to digest. Evan Engram and Noah Fant have had the most commonly known rookie campaigns.

Engram finished his rookie year with 722 yards receiving and six touchdowns on 115 targets. Fant had 562 yards and three touchdowns on 66 targets. Both Fant and Engram started more games than Kmet and outgained him in both yards and touchdowns. So how is Kmet compared to them as a rookie?

Well, 44 targets are one reason why Kmet didn’t outproduce them. Kmet was also brought along slowly. Through Kmet’s first 10 games, Kmet was targeted eight times. If you rewatch the games, that wasn’t due to him not getting open. The opportunities just weren’t there.

Over the next seven games, Kmet was being targeted five times a game. Mind you again, Trubisky was delivering him those passes, and the offensive line was being reworked. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Kmet was the second-best overall tight end between the three.

As limited as the stats show, who would have thought all three would have a similar PFF grade? Fant finished with a 52.0, Kmet had a 58.7, and Engram had a 62.1 overall PFF grade. Kmet also led with the fewest drops, but that is also due to the limited targets. Kmet projects as a blocking tight end who can catch, while the other three tight ends are specifically pass-catchers. The upside Kmet has should continue to excite Chicago Bear fans.

Next. Ryan Pace has the Bears headed straight. dark

As you can see, Ryan Pace has been more successful than many give him credit for. The problem for Pace was missing out on Mitch Trubisky. It’s possible that he corrected his legacy with the Justin Fields selection, only time will tell, but the arrow is definitely pointing up.