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Bears Fans Should Love Pace’s Aggressiveness

| May 3rd, 2017

“I don’t want to be average around here, I want to be great and these are the moves you have to make.”-Ryan Pace

For the first time in my lifetime, at least the parts I can remember, the Bears have a General Manager who gets it.

They have a GM who doesn’t just want to make the playoffs or compete with the rest of the division.

They have a GM who wants to kick everybody’s ass.

And, for some reason, people are mad about it.

The Bears have been in this position of wanting and needing a QB in the draft twice in my lifetime. The first time, they traded out from the seventh pick in a seven-player draft to go down to 12, where they took Cade McNown. The next time, they were picking fourth and traded with the Jets for the 14th and 22nd picks. They didn’t like a quarterback until pick 22 when they settled for Rex Grossman, the fourth guy in the first round.

If they loved McNown, they would’ve taken him seventh. If they loved Grossman, they would’ve taken him fourth. They didn’t and neither move worked out.

The Bears loved Mitch Trubisky. It wasn’t just Ryan Pace, it was everybody in the room. He was their guy and they got him. As a Bears fan, this is refreshing to see.

Here’s what I think happened…

Bears fans were convinced the team wasn’t going to take a quarterback. Some had even convinced themselves that Mike Glennon was Matt Ryan 2.0 — so, they looked at other positions and decided the Bears had needs that didn’t really exist.

Solomon Thomas was the favorite in the clubhouse. I get it, he’s big and he’s athletic. We also have no idea if he can be a linebacker in the Bears scheme and we know he can’t be a defensive lineman. Jamal Adams has a worse vertical jump than 92 percent of the safeties in the NFL (according to Mockdraftable) and the leadership skills he supposedly has that were going to change the Bears franchise weren’t enough to keep his college coach from getting fired. Jon Allen, Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore all had medical questions that the doctors for several teams weren’t comfortable with.

The Bears were going to take a quarterback because quarterback made the most sense. It was a position of need and a position that was strong in this draft. The most important part is that they got their quarterback.

And, for some reason, people are mad about it.

A Flaw That Isn’t a Flaw

Trubisky was going to be the second pick in the draft. The thought that the 49ers tricked the Bears or whatever it was that people were saying has been mostly debunked. Pace spoke to 15 teams behind him, you don’t think a large number of those teams were interested in quarterbacks? Specifically, the guy most teams had as their top quarterback?

Trubisky’s so-called fatal flaw is that he didn’t play enough. (Although Brad Biggs’ theory that North Carolina thought keeping him on the bench would get them another year with him is interesting.) The simple fact is he threw nearly as many collegiate passes as Aaron Rodgers and Carson Wentz. He played in more games than Rodgers and against much tougher competition than Wentz. And he was better than both.

He’s got everything you could want physically. A strong, accurate arm, great mobility and the kind of build that can take hits.

And, for some reason, people are mad about it.

The Brees Factor

Taking quarterbacks in the top three is a relatively safe bet. From 2000 to 2015, only five quarterbacks taken in the top three have really busted. Out of those busts, you had guys who couldn’t throw (Joey Harrington, Vince Young) a guy who was broken by the teams that drafted him (David Carr) and two who just didn’t want to put the work in (RG3, JaMarcus Russell).

Maybe Trubisky will be one of those guys, but Pace spent a long time with a franchise quarterback. Pace was a part of the pro scouting team that targeted Drew Brees. If you doubt his impact in that signing, consider that the very next year, he was promoted to Director of Professional Scouting. That wasn’t an accident.

With the Saints, he got to know Brees. Saw what makes the guy tick and was in position to understand the traits that franchise quarterbacks have. Drafting quarterbacks is a crapshoot, but Pace is certainly qualified to get to take his shot. Consider this: The last two years, his favorite quarterbacks have been Marcus Mariota and Carson Wentz.

I just don’t understand how people can be mad about it.

Pace’s job isn’t done.

As we learned from Jerry Angelo, finding the quarterback is only half the battle, but I think Pace has a good head start on the rest of the roster.

A general rule of thumb is to add a quarterback as the first piece or the last piece. The plan is for Trubisky to be the last piece. He’ll sit for much of this year and the team will have all of next offseason to address needs in the secondary, along the offensive line and, potentially, wide receiver. He’s already shown the ability to find players at other positions.

Whether or not John Fox is the right guy to develop Trubisky is another question that doesn’t have a short answer. While the rumors of friction between the two are false (I have very few sources in the NFL, but two I have are close to Fox) it’s possible that Pace sees him as a sacrificial lamb, along with Glennon.

Ultimately, Pace will be judged on Trubisky. He knows that and, clearly, he’s comfortable with that.

And I’m comfortable with a GM who can identify the players he wants and makes damn sure he gets them. Fans should be too.

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