Data Entry: Establishing Ryan Pace’s draft profile, day 3

| April 17th, 2018

The last in a three-part series, breaking down Ryan Pace’s approach to the NFL Draft when it comes to prospects. Today, day three, rounds four through seven.

Draft History

2015: RB Jeremy Langford (R4), S Adrian Amos (R5), T Tayo Fabuluje (R6)

2016: LB Nick Kwiatkoski (R4), S Deon Bush (R4), CB Deiondre’ Hall (R4), RB Jordan Howard (R5), S DeAndre Houston-Carson (R6), WR Daniel Braverman (R7)

2017: S Eddie Jackson (R4), RB Tarik Cohen (R4), OL Jordan Morgan (R5)

Trend 1

Prioritize Rounds 4-5

Under Ryan Pace, the Bears are averaging two round 4 picks per year and are currently slated to have two in 2018. They will potentially have more if Pace trades down in round 2 again, as is he wont.

The Bears also acquired a fifth round pick in the Brandon Marshall deal. These are the rounds where he likes to operate, and he has done quite well, landing five solid contributors in three years: Adrian Amos, Nick Kwiatkoski, Jordan Howard, Eddie Jackson, Tarik Cohen.

On the flip side, Pace doesn’t seem to care much about round 6 or 7, where he has made only three picks total through three years. He’s made several trades sending these picks out.

  • 6th for Khari Lee
  • Throw-ins for a trade on day two that netted extra 4ths
  • 6th to move up for Kwiatkoski
  • Throw-in 7th to get 5th back when trading Brandon Marshall to Jets
  • Conditional 2018 7th for Inman that they kept in 2018.

Don’t be surprised to see one of those traded away, perhaps to help move up for a coveted player in round 4.

Trend 2

Get Your Little Guys

I mentioned that Pace prioritized drafting big guys on day two, which leaves day three as his time to get the little guys.

Nine of twelve day three picks have been spent on skill position players, including seven of nine in round 4-5.

If that continues this year, expect the three picks currently slated in the 4th and 5th rounds to address WR, CB, and maybe RB or TE.

It’s worth noting that Pace’s maniacal focus on athleticism and upside hasn’t really translated to day three of the draft so far. While all of his picks (save Eddie Goldman) on days one and two tested in the top 20% athletically based on Relative Athletic Score (RAS), only Adrian Amos, Nick Kwiatkoski, and Jeremy Langford have been noticeably above average from day three.

The average score for the twelve picks is 5.03, almost a textbook definition of average (5.00 is average).

Trend 3

Try, Try Again

Since Pace largely waits until day three for skill position players, he’s not investing premium picks in them. Appropriately, he then tends to take a quantity over quality approach and drafts the same positions repeatedly. This approach makes sense, as picks in the lower rounds have a lower hit rate, so covering your bases with some redundancy improves your odds of addressing a hole. He’s even been willing to double dip in one draft, taking two safeties (now three with Deiondre’ Hall’s move) in 2016.

In three drafts, Pace has selected three RBs and five safeties.  It’s worth noting that the volume approach hasn’t really applied at WR (only Daniel Braverman) or CB (only Deiondre’ Hall, who is now moved to safety) yet. So we could start to see those positions addressed more in 2018, perhaps with multiple day three picks for one or both of them.

Trend 4

Embrace the Small School

Out of Pace’s eight picks on day one and two, only Adam Shaheen has come from a school that’s not one of the “power five” conferences.

On day three, five of the twelve picks – Tarik Cohen, Deiondre’ Hall, Jordan Morgan, DeAndre Houston-Carson, and Daniel Braverman – have come from small schools, and Jordan Howard spent all but one year of his college career at a small school as well. It appears Pace is not afraid to gamble on a small school player on day three.

Forecasting 2018

The Bears currently have two picks slated for round 4, and that looks like the perfect spot to take a WR and CB.

In round 5 (or if they pick up an extra fourth round pick via trade), I wouldn’t be surprised to see RB, TE, or S addressed. Thankfully, we have a bit of an idea of what the Bears should be looking for at each position.

I have spent a lot of time examining what types of WRs should fit this offseason. I already looked in detail at what WRs in the draft should fit best in the new offense, and names worth monitoring for round 4 include Keke Coutee, Michael Gallup, J’Mon Moore, and Tre’Quan Smith. If Pace looks in the later rounds, keep guys like Jonah Trinnaman, Richie James, and Davon Grayson in mind. Windy City Gridiron’s Andrew Link did a great job breaking down film on Gallup and James.

At CB, Fangio likes players who are good in press man coverage, which tends to be taller CBs with long arms. Some names who could be options in round 4 include Isaac Yiadom, Quenton Meeks, Holton Hill, D’Montre Wade, and Tony Brown, and later day 3 options include Chandon Sullivan, Taron Johnson, and Andre Chechere. Andrew Link did a more in-depth breakdown of what Fangio typically looks for in CBs, including breaking down film on Yiadom.

The Bears could use a well-rounded third running back who can be a threat both on the ground and through the air. With Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen locked in as the top two guys, this player will also have to contribute on special teams, but he will take over as the lead back should Howard get hurt. A few options here include Justin Jackson (my personal favorite as a Northwestern fan, and I think he’d be a great fit in this offense), Nyheim Hines, Royce Freeman, and Chase Edmonds. Andrew Link also looked at the film of some running backs, including Freeman and Hines.

At TE, the Bears have both an in-line guy in Adam Shaheen and a move TE in Trey Burton, so they could really look for any style of player behind those two (although a pick here became less likely when they bizarrely decided to pay Dion Sims $6M to be their 3rd TE). I think a traditional in-line TE is more likely if they draft somebody, and players like Will Dissly and Ryan Izzo are names to watch there as guys who are good blockers but have the potential to develop into more. If they look for another move TE in the mold of Burton, a couple guys who could be options are Ian Thomas and Jaylen Samuels, and I also wonder about Allan Lazard being converted to TE from WR.

If the Bears look to draft another safety, it’s hard to project what they’ll look for. There aren’t any clear patterns I can identify from the five players Pace has already drafted, which makes some sense given that they’re really playing two different positions (SS and FS). I assume they’d be looking more for a SS since Adrian Amos is in the last year of his deal, while Eddie Jackson seems locked in at FS for the next few seasons. A few strong safety prospects projected to go on day 3 include Godwin Igwebuike, Jordan Whitehead, Quin Blanding, Terrell Edmunds, and Marcus Allen.

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  • “It’s worth noting that Pace’s maniacal focus on athleticism and upside
    hasn’t really translated to day three of the draft so far.” – Data

    Makes sense. Pace goes ceiling in the 1st and floor beyond.

    I can almost guarantee he’ll trade down in the 2nd. That’s his thing. Like Angelo whiffing in the 1st rd. Some OG will fall, like always, and Pace will scoop him up later in the 2nd.

    I like his drafting of HBs beyond the 4rth. Just keep bringing them in. Sooner or later, you hit on an Arian Foster type.

    I can’t see him going TE with Burton, Sasheen and Sims (and those two other dudes), but who knows? It’s Pace.

    I haven’t checked out the buzz players from ITT, Devry, and Trump U, but maybe I should so I can be more prepared this time around…

    • yeah, I wrote this before they kept Sims. Had gone to the trouble of researching late-round options, so I left it in. Still can’t believe they paid that doof $6M to play 200 snaps as a blocker.

      • SC Dave

        Could they think Sims is a mentor to Shaheen and Burton (who have 7 and 5 career starts, respectively)? I don’t know how else to explain it.

        Pace does, however, seems more likely to carry *his* guys too long than people already on the roster when he showed up.

        • Cam Meredith >/= Jerry Rice

          The roster was garbage when he showed up.

        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          Every GM puts more value in *his* guys over guys that were already there. Plus the roster sucked when he started.

      • Big Mike

        There has to be another reason, hidden talent? Did he play Special Teams? Is he such a hard worker, great teammate, locker room guy that they over pay him? There is some value he brings that pace believes is worth $6mm. Maybe he’s simple better than he showed last year.

        • There are only 2 possibilities in my mind:

          1) They really don’t trust Shaheen
          2) Nagy thinks Sims is a better fit in this offense than he was in Fox’s offense

          I don’t buy 2, as he was specifically chosen for Fox’s offense last year. That makes me think it’s #1, which worries me.

          • willbest

            #3 they want to do 2TE 33% of the time and are worried about TE injuries.

          • leftcoastdave

            Shaheen needs more schooling up and building up. He never played against good competition and got hurt late last year (broken rib?) on a TD catch. Sure he has the big body, but it is young and unschooled. I too thought Sims was gone but he is the dude with the experience in the trenches. The five guys they have make it a position of great potential with the Nagy scheme.

          • CanadaBear

            The only part of Shaheen’s game that looked good was posting up shorties in the RZ. Other than that, he didn’t exactly wow me. Hope LCD is correct but I’m not convinced.

          • Big Mike

            It’s not 1. Can’t be. (because I need shaheen to work out ) The whole offense was stunted last year. The coaching staff did a shit job of getting players ready. Putting together terrible game plans is the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the surface is a staff that couldn’t develop players. They were brought in to reorganize a rag tag bunch of veterans around Jay Cutler. My theory is Fox et all had no interest in a rebuild. Off season player development was awful. Fangio’s side of the ball players developed. Offensive side of the ball players regressed or left.

            Shaheen is going to come along nicely with Nagy.

          • SC Dave

            I will, for now, hop on this bandwagon. Know, however, that 50+ years of recent Bears history has transpired without a SINGLE STAFF able to develop players on offense.

          • Big Mike

            Mike Tice was a good OL coach. Don’t read much about former Bear Offensive position coaches, Coordinators etc and their success, legacy or coaching trees. Gase might be the only one to move up to a head job. Certainly a forgettable bunch.

            The end.

    • catfish44

      ”maniacal”/ lolol.

  • T.dyon

    Royce Freeman is solid and would fit this offensive system.

  • Irish Sweetness

    We can draft a Marcus Allen!


  • Michael

    Did you mean Allen Lazard?

    • Yes, thank you for pointing that out. It’s now fixed.

      • Michael

        No problem. Love the work you do.

      • Bear Instincts

        Will you put out a bears edition mock draft based on your analysis?

        • That’s my article for next Tuesday.

          • leftcoastdave

            Love your idea for Allen Lazard. He’s a winner and a YUGE target.

          • ’11Hoosier

            This might be more difficult than I realize but a mock draft with multiple options at each pick seems like a beneficial thing to sum up all the work you put in to this analysis. Have you ever considered doing something like:

            #8. Chicago Bears
            Most Likely: 1. Tremaine Edmonds, LB 2. Denzel Ward, CB 3. Roquon Smith, LB
            If They Fall: 1. Saquon Barkley, RB 2. Bradley Chubb, DE
            Reach: Quenton Nelson, G

          • That only really works for round 1. There are just too many options past that point.

            Honestly, I don’t think a mock draft is all that useful, but I needed something to publish for next Tuesday, and anything else would have been ignored in pre-draft hoopla. I look forward to seeing just how wrong my mock is.

          • Irish Sweetness

            How is Nelson a reach? I know he’s a guard, but I’ve only really seen two guys who look to be blue chip drafts – Nelson and Barkley. Nelson wouldn’t be there in round 2 for us so I don’t see how he’s a reach.

          • ’11Hoosier


            It’s just an opinion. People would’ve thought Russel Wilson was a reach if he went in the first round. People would’ve thought Mark Sanchez in the second round would’ve been crazy.

  • Bear Instincts
  • willbest

    Solid off-season analysis Wood. Unlike Big Mike, I don’t mind the speculation.

    • Thanks. I’m trying to frame this not so much as speculation but as to what we can learn about Pace’s preferences. It moves to speculation a bit at the end, but there are clear patterns there worth noting.

      • Dale701

        I think we get another Hicks up the middle, Then they double team them, Floyd and whoever will be golden.

        • SC Dave

          The old Washington-Traylor thing. But without an Urlacher to take advantage.

  • Irish Sweetness
    • Cam Meredith >/= Jerry Rice


    • SC Dave

      “As Nagy attempts to transition from rebuilding to contending, he understands his productive backfield requires tinkering as opposed to overhauling.”


  • EnderWiggin
    • Irish Sweetness

      Looks like they’re not expecting Nelson to be there.

      So do you pull the trigger on Edmunds … or go with a big boy like Vea and move him to DE?

      • Cam Meredith >/= Jerry Rice

        There’s no way a move like this has even a remote strand of relevance to Nelson. You don’t turn a shitty DL into a Guard because you’re worried you can’t draft what looks to be the best guard to come along in a while at 8. I say “nay”.

        • Irish Sweetness

          I like the idea of Nelson, but I can’t see him being there at #8.

          Maybe 3 Qbs, Barkley …. 3 spots left before us – could all 3 be defense?

          • Cam Meredith >/= Jerry Rice

            I like Nelson as well. It’s hard to say with all the experts and talking heads spinning their bullshit. Guards don’t typically go this high, but this guy looks special.

            All I know for sure, is Pace can fill a bonafide need here with a starter on either side of the ball. This QB bonanza that’s shaping up is playing really well for the Bears while they sit nice and tidy with Trubisky already seasoned a bit.

          • AlbertInTucson

            I’ve seen mocks that have Nelson falling to #8 but, personally, I just don’t see it.

  • Preparation_A

    smells like farts

    • Boob Burger

      it was me

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