Assigning new grades to the Chicago Bears 2016 NFL Draft

Chicago Bears - Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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I recently went through the Chicago Bears 2015 NFL Draft and gave each player a new grade. What I need to make clear here is that while grading a player, the round a player is taken in plays a big part. If a player makes it to the NFL and plays at least four seasons, it’s hard to give that player an F unless that player was a first or second-round pick. Drafted later, the expectations become much less. When a seventh-round pick doesn’t make a final 53-man roster, that doesn’t necessarily make the grade an F. There are other factors at play, including career games played.

The point of this series is to go back through all of Ryan Pace’s drafts. Pace was the general manager of the Chicago Bears for seven years. Unfortunately for him, winning matters most in the NFL, and while overseeing the Bears, the team finished with a 48-65 record, two playoff appearances and no playoff wins. Even if you can see the vision Pace had for this team, the outcome wasn’t good enough.

When I looked into the 2015 NFL Draft, Ryan Pace had six draft picks to work with — including the seventh-overall pick. His results weren’t great though. I gave him one A, a B+, three C- and a D. If we assign a number value based on a 4.0 scale, then Pace averaged a C for that draft. Let’s see how Pace fared in 2016.

The Chicago Bears selected Leonard Floyd with their first-round pick in 2016

With their first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears selected Leonard Floyd, outside linebacker out of Georgia. Floyd was taken with the ninth overall pick in the draft. He was not guaranteed to hit as a prospect and was considered a little raw, but his upside was through the roof. He didn’t disappoint in his rookie season either.

Floyd played in and started 12 games his rookie year. He finished with seven sacks, 33 combined tackles (23 solos), and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Unfortunately, Floyd was not able to build on his sack numbers after his rookie season — at least not here in Chicago. The hope was that in 2018, when Ryan Pace traded for Khalil Mack, Floyd would flourish. He only had four sacks.

Just because Floyd didn’t become a double-digit sack specialist, doesn’t mean he was a bad player. The knock on him though is that he didn’t perform well enough in Chicago to warrant the ninth-overall pick. Well, at least not for the Bears. Since leaving for the Los Angeles Rams in 2020, Floyd has finished with 10.5 and 9.5 sacks over the last two seasons. This isn’t a knock on Floyd at all, but more a knock on the former regime.

NFL Draft Grade: B+