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Data Entry: Establishing Ryan Pace’s Draft Profile, Day 2

| April 10th, 2018

Now that Ryan Pace has been here a while, it’s possible to look at his past drafts to see what lessons can be learned from his approach. This can help us cautiously look ahead to the 2018 draft to see what he might be thinking.

With that goal in mind, I’m going to spend three weeks looking at how Pace has approached the three days of the draft, and then applying that approach to 2018 to see what players are likely being considered for the Bears this year. I looked at day 1 last week, so today will be day 2 (rounds 2-3).


Draft History

2015: Eddie Goldman, DT, 39th pick; Hroniss Grasu, C, 71st pick

2016: Cody Whitehair, OL, 56th pick (after 2 trade downs); Jonathan Bullard, DL, 72nd pick

2017: Adam Shaheen, TE, 45th pick (after trading down)

Trend 1: Trade Down

Ryan Pace has been a big fan of trading down for extra picks in round 2. He did it twice before selecting Cody Whitehair in 2016 and once before taking Adam Shaheen in 2017. Given that the Bears are short a third round pick this year, I think he will be working the phones looking to do that again in round 2. 

Trend 2: Think Big

Another trend that sticks out here is Pace likes to draft big guys on day 2. The smallest player out of these 5 draft picks was Adam Shaheen, who weighed in at 278 pounds. The other four picks were all linemen as Pace looked to build the trenches. Looking at the roster this year, it seems likely that this is the spot to address needs at edge rusher and/or on the offensive line.

Trend 3: Athletic Gamble

Just like we saw on day 1, Pace likes to gamble on upside and athleticism with his early picks. All of these players were above-average athletes for their position, and four of the five posted Relative Athletic Scores (RAS) of 7.9 or higher (RAS scales from 0-10, with a 5 being average, 7.5 75th percentile, etc.), meaning that 80% of Pace’s day 2 picks have been in the top 21% of athletes at their positions.

The exception was Eddie Goldman, who had a below-average RAS value because he was compared to all DTs, not just nose tackles. Just like in round 1, we see that Pace is willing to take some risks (Grasu/Bullard were small for their spots, Shaheen was raw and came from a division 2 school) as long as the athleticism gives appropriate upside.


Forecasting 2018

With only one pick currently slated for day 2, it seems likely that Pace will try to trade down at least once from 39. Whether that will net him an extra third round pick is unknown, as all of his round 2 trade downs so far have resulted in extra fourth round picks.

Once he does pick, look for an offensive lineman or edge rusher to be the selection, based on the current roster needs.

  • At outside linebacker, look for an athletic player who has at least 33″ arms (a threshold that has been true in Chicago and with both Fangio and Pace in their prior locations, as Andrew Dannehy has pointed out). Some names who best fit that bill are Lorenzo Carter (perfect 10 RAS), Josh Sweat (9.91 RAS), Sam Hubbard (9.82 RAS), Uchenna Nwosu (8.29 RAS), and Kemoko Turay (8.13 RAS).
  • On the offensive line, guys on the interior seem the most likely target. There are a number of athletic options here who project as possible day 2 targets for the Bears if they don’t land Quenton Nelson in round one, including Isaiah Wynn (no RAS score due to injury, but a very good athlete), Billy Price (same), Will Hernandez (8.31 RAS), Braden Smith (9.65 RAS), Frank Ragnow (9.85 RAS), and James Daniels (8.48 RAS).
  • At offensive tackle, look for players with at least 34″ arms (another conventional positional threshold) and good athleticism. Brian O’Neill (RAS of 9.59), Kolton Miller (9.98 RAS), and Joseph Noteboom (8.53 RAS) are the only three who really fit that bill. All three are better athletes than tackles at this point, but that hasn’t scared Pace away in the past.
  • On the defensive line, options are a bit thinner in terms of projected day two picks. Two guys who could fit the bill are Rasheem Greene (8.93 RAS) or Harrison Phillips (7.94 RAS). Given their needs elsewhere, the lack of options in the draft, and the lack of a 2nd day two pick, this seems unlikely to me.

Stay Tuned

Next Tuesday I’ll have a piece looking at what Pace has done on day 3 (rounds 4-7) in the last three years. I think there are pretty good lessons to be learned about his approach there.

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  • Irish Sweetness

    Adam Shaheen. Yah.

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    • evantonio

      You’ll be eating your words when he goes off for 117/1,674/43 this year

      • SC Dave

        That’s a *lot* of TDs.

        • evantonio

          Especially considering he’ll be sitting every 4th quarter because we’ll be up by 6 TDs every game.

    • SC Dave

      Well, he *did* lead the team in receiving touchdowns last season. On 14 fucking targets.

  • Scharfinator
    • CanadaBear

      If I was a Colts fan (UGH) I’d be very worried.

      • evantonio

        I’m ok with this. They went from Peyton to a full-on suck for Luck. Let them linger in QB hell for a bit.

        • CanadaBear

          100%. No pity party from me!

  • Big Mike

    Before we get emotional about the 39th pick in the draft, last year’s trade down was a huge winner. They got Shaheen, the pick that that they took Tarik Cohen with, the move up to be able to get Eddie Jackson and this year’s extra 4th rounder.

    • SC Dave

      I had no idea they got that many picks for that trade.

      • BenderMcLugh

        swapped 4th’s I believe

    • In order to swap picks in 2nd round, Bears sent Arizona a 7th and ARI sent a 4th and 6th, plus a 4th this year. Those 4th and 6th round picks were used to trade up in the 4th and grab Eddie Jackson.

      The pick used to draft Tarik Cohen came from trading down with the Bills in 2016 before taking Cody Whitehair.

      • CanadaBear

        Stop JW you’re making my head hurt!

        • AlbertInTucson

          Pass the Tylenol, please.

          • CanadaBear

            I was confused when it happened. More confused now! What else is new?

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            you old guys are easily confused…. really surprised you can use a computer sometimes.

          • CanadaBear

            Since I’ve never had a cell phone, you would enjoy the look of horror on my face when people ask me to take their pics. Working in control rooms, I was using a huge mainframe computer back in ’75. As you correctly assumed, I’m hopeless when it comes to anything beyond the basics with computers.

          • AlbertInTucson

            For the record, most days I’m in front of a PC AND a Mac all day long.

            I DO have a cell phone BUT, it’s just a flip phone.

          • CanadaBear

            I’m on my computer quite a bit. I use Word and XL a lot and put out a monthly newsletter using mail chimp, so I’m not completely illiterate. I like that you have a flip phone!

          • AlbertInTucson

            My mantra is “I do not need to carry my life around on my hip or in my pocket. I just need to make a phone call now and then.”.

            The kids got us an IPad Air for an anniversary so we could do FaceTime with the grandkids and I DO enjoy that.

          • SC Dave

            Oh fuck off, Huge “Penisly” Bears Modest!

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            LOL!!! I keed, I keed!

      • So the trade last year basically was Shaheen + Jackson for Budda Baker.

        • If they go edge in round 1 this year, I could see something like 2016 happen in round 2. Bears traded down 2x that year, grabbing 2 extra 4th round picks in 2016 + a 4th in 2017, and still grabbed Whitehair.

          There are a bunch of athletic G/C prospects in day 2 that they could trade down a couple times and still land a good one.

          But the issue is edge. There’s not likely a good value pick at edge in either of the first 2 rounds, but Bears need to grab one.

          • I think Pace is targeting Price in the 2nd. Could never tell how far someone falls due to INJ but it’s usu more than the mocks (remember when Jonathan Allen and Hooker were top #5 picks…)

            Price to me fits the Pace mold.
            Athletic, lenghty, INJ.

            He may even have to go on inj reserve early and comeback after week 7 or whatever

            Think he goes pass rush, then trades down in the 2nd and eventually nabs Price.

        • And it took major robotic balls to draft a S w a metal rod in his leg when Pace’s biggest bust might be due to getting one inserted in White.

          Jackson’s tape was easily 1st rd material, but that metal rod scared off a lot teams majorly.

          At that point Pace calculated risk-reward and may have found a true gem

        • Big Mike

          I don’t think so. What about the 2018 4th rounder?

      • Big Mike

        I looked it up. It was a masterful trade. Highly under rated. Especially to get Jackson.
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        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          It could not be a masterful trade, Pace always gets taken to the cleaners on trades.

          • Scharfinator

            /sarcasm? MHBP?

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Just a little. In reference to Pace’s trade up for Trubs last year that got a lot of posters on here butt hurt.

          • CanadaBear

            GP was royally pissed about the draft. MB was pissed but he was already out the door for the most part. Of the first four picks last year, Shaheen is the only one that disappointed. Really happy with the 4th rounders and the arrow is definitely pointing up for MT.

          • Scharfinator

            Thanks, hard to tell on here sometimes 🙂

          • BenderMcLugh

            and somehow John Lynch was involved….

          • CanadaBear

            I swear if Lynch would have gone to the Fudgies the media would have just given the Lombardi trophy to them and cancelled the season.

          • Big Mike

            If you’re reading about Cam Meredith from a lot of national writers, the take is that Pace did understand the restricted free agent rules.

      • Big Mike

        Per NFL.com
        http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000803153/article/2017-nfl-draft-trade-tracker-details-of-all-the-moves

        Bears recoup picks as Cardinals target a defender

        Cardinals receive:
        » 2017 second-round pick (No. 36): Budda Baker, S, Washington

        Bears receive:
        » 2017 second-round pick (No. 45): Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
        » 2017 fourteenth-round pick (No. 119): Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina
        » 2017 sixth-round pick (No. 197) — traded to Rams
        » 2018 fourth-round pick

        • Per the Sun-Times: “The Bears traded their second-round pick (36th overall) and seventh-round pick (221st) to Arizona for the Cardinals’ picks in the second (45th), fourth (117th) and sixth (197th) rounds this year and a fourth-round pick in 2018.”

          https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/bears-trade-back-take-small-school-te-adam-shaheen/

          • Hmm, I looked it up, and it looks like you were correct. Pick 117 was 10th pick in 4th round, which originally belonged to BUF, so that’s the pick they got trading back for Whitehair.

          • Big Mike

            Who you trust? NFL.com or Sun-Times?

    • Jury is still out on Shaheen IMO. He’s big w good body control and decent hands, but he doesnt look explosive.

      But all was marred by Fox, so maybe this yr Shaheen balls out, but considering Burton is the U TE now…

      Though the Shaheen Sex Machines rocked FF!

      • CanadaBear

        I’m hoping Shaheen looks waaaaaaay better this year. I was definitely disappointed last year. Like you, I won’t make any judgements about offensive players that were in the Foxy/Nathan Lane system. Hopefully Shaheen kills it in the RZ.

        • For athletic as everyone billed Shaheen, he didnt get much seperation like other high end TEs like Kelce, Gronk, Graham, Jordan Reed, or even Giants rook Evans…

          But as a TE you dont necassarily need seperation if you run solid routes and have good hands and body control. Tyler Eifert is sorta like that and he’s been a deadly red zone target, but this ‘baby Gronk’ stuff is waaaay off.

          • CanadaBear

            Maybe he was thinking too much and that slowed him down a little (I hope). otherwise he really wasn’t fast for his size (by NFL TE standards). Totally agree he could post up shorties all day.

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            This is the way I see it. Fox was an idiot. He had 12 catches on 14 targets all year. Through the first 8 games he was targeted ONLY twice. Fox used him mainly as a blocking TE. Fox’s offense put no one in a position to succeed.

          • SC Dave

            I agree. Not a whole hell of a lot you can do with 14 targets.

            Other than lead the team in receiving touchdowns, I mean.

          • Fox turned Shaheen into Matt Spaeth. Let’s hope he becomes more than that.

            But Pace signing Burton kinda confirms my eyes, that perhaps Pace sees him more as a big Witten type as opposed to the electric Kelce type.

            I give Pace credit for being proactive. If he sees a player under-perform, he’s not shy about signing his replacement real fast in FA to at least insure himself.

            He did the same with Amos/Demps

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            And yet, Jordan Howard……

          • leftcoastdave

            “Baby” Gronk should be considered in another manner. The kid was a stud basketball forward who could get up and slam off a dribble drive, left handed. Then he decided to play football and put on fifty pounds eating burritos. Which is to say that the bulk he was carrying was anything but low % body fat, or “baby” fat if you will.
            Remember how Bullard gassed out in ’16? Same issue, imho. Let the kid grow into his body and see what he becomes.

      • Big Mike

        Shaheen is a question mark. But I believe he is going to be very good. TE is a very complex position. He’s going to benefit from HH, a full offseason with the knowledge of what the NFL is about. He had all offseason last year, but you really don’t get a sense of the level of competition until the pre-season and regular season, because contact practices are so limit. When he had an opportunity, he ran good routes and showed good body control. He’s also has good hands. Defenses will not be able to allocate enough fast personnel to account for Burton, Shaheen and Gabriel.

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  • Yo Data, great work in digging up “no names” as possible trade down targets or late rd flyers.
    NONE of us new who the fuck Shaheen or Cohen were, which were like double pimp slaps from many fans still stunned from the Bisky choice.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if he does indeed rely on RAS much like SEA on SPARQ.

    Is RAS and SPARQ more or less the same, or totally diff metrics?

    • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

      Totally different. I mean one is spelled RAS and the other SPARQ, if this were scrabble SPARQ would be better.

      • evantonio

        in a vacuum, yes. but if RAS connects with a large word where the S hits a triple word score for both words, then all gloves are off.

        “hold up,” you’re saying. “SPARQ has an S, too. So why can’t you do the same thing with the S?”

        Great question. It’s a matter of spacing. There’s no room on the board to put down SPARQ.

        • You’re both wrong.

          No acronyms in Scrabble.

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Only losers play by the rules.

          • SC Dave

            Only losers have to ignore the rules.

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Pats have been to SB how many times? How many rules scandals have they been involved in?

    • They’re a bit different. Not entirely sure how the scores line up. Would have to do more research there.

      • SC Dave

        Good thing we’re here to help with your future content.

  • Maybe Billichick has the right idea. Seems like every season he really doesn’t have a stud pass rusher or any 1 guy on D who can take over games. Prolly hasn’t had one since Seymour (who he traded to the Raiders cuz he didn’t want to pay him).

    Pass rushers are great . The Broncos got embarrassed without Von Miller. With Miller, they harassed a red hot Panthers team and pretty much made Cam their bitch.

    Still, looooot of mula…

    NFL.com reports contract-year OLB Khalil Mack is seeking “in excess” of $65 million guaranteed in his new contract.
    That would put Mack just short of Von Miller’s record of $70 million for a defensive player. We would assume Mack will start out hoping to surpass that. Currently slated to make $13.846 million in the final year of his rookie contract, Mack is skipping the voluntary start of the Raiders’ offseason program – Roto

    • BerwynBomber

      But the problem is you need Belichick the ex-brilliant DC as HC to pull it off. Yet I get your point and mostly agree with it.

      I also think teams make mistakes in balancing/prioritizing their strengths and spending their money wisely in terms of said balancing/prioritizing.

      The Cheese are a classic example of that. Before they cut Nelson, they probably had the most expensive group of WRs in the league. (Nelson, Cobb and Adams all made over 10M AAV.) And with the addition of Graham, they’re still dumping a decent amount into Rodgers’ targets.

      Worth it? To a point. But I would be more inclined to invest in a great D and OL around Rodgers. One of the last things I would worry about with an A level franchise QB (Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Wilson) would be the receiving corps (which isn’t to say I wouldn’t, just not the #1 priority).

      Remember when Nelson blew his ACL a couple of years ago. Rodgers “struggled” a bit without his #1 guy and lone deep threat. But guess what happened by season’s end? The Cheese beat WAS at DC in the WC game and damn near beat ARI at ARI in the divisional round with a receiving corps made up of PS/ST-level guys. (IIRC, Cobb and Adams were also out by then.) And that was when ARI was considered one of the top three or four teams in the league.

      Btw, the Caldwell Lions somewhat followed your template regarding D. They let both Suh and Fairley walk. Granted, Slay, Quinn and Anzah probably make decent cash, but none of them got near Suh money.

      Anyway, I think Pace is doing a good job of prioritizing his spending. Yeah, the Glennon experiment was a true ass pimple, but otherwise I think he makes smart choices.

      And a kid like Bisky NEEDS skilled O players. He is probably not going to make O players better or carry an O at this stage of his career. So Pace was smart to go out and get Robinson, Gabriel and Burton.

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