If there’s one thing Ryan Pace has done consistently during his time with the Bears it’s draft with the big picture in mind, often surprising fans with his selections.
It’s also been clear that Pace doesn’t always see the team’s needs the same way as fans and media members do.
• In 2015, Pace used the seventh pick on Kevin White after signing Eddie Royal to a big contract and already having Alshon Jeffery onboard. Later in that draft he took Jeremy Langford with Matt Forte coming off of a career year.
• In 2016, Pace traded up for Leonard Floyd despite having Pernell McPhee, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young. Later he took Cody Whitehair, a move that led to the release of fan-favorite Matt Slauson. He then drafted Nick Kwiatkoski despite having just signed Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman.
• In 2017, Pace took Mitch Trubisky shortly after signing Mike Glennon, grabbed Adam Shahen after signing Dion Sims and took Tarik Cohen after Jordan Howard’s breakout rookie season.
• In 2018, Pace drafted Roquan Smith despite still having Trevathan and Kwiatkowski, then grabbed yet another inside linebacker, Joel Iyiegbuniwe. He later traded up to take Anthony Miller after signing Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel then took Javon Wims in the seventh round.
Not all of those picks were complete shocks, but they certainly weren’t expected either. The Bears only have five draft picks this year and while much of the focus has been on running back, don’t overlook what else the Bears might do.
Here are a few things that shouldn’t surprise you:
• The Bears draft an offensive guard before they draft a running back. Kyle Long’s injury history tells us this would be a wise investment and if Long isn’t able to stay healthy in 2019, they’ll need to replace him.
• They continue to add wide receivers. Kansas City has drafted six wide receivers over the past four years, including spending a fourth-round pick on Jehu Chesson a year after taking Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson. In 2017, the Philadelphia Eagles spent two picks on wide receivers after signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to team with Nelson Agholor.
Wide receivers are an important part to this offense and the Bears have to have an eye on the future. They can’t continue to pay premium prices for players like Robinson and Gabriel, eventually they have to draft and develop their own. This is a topic I touched on a couple of weeks ago.
• The Bears take an outside cornerback with their third round pick. Take a look at Prince Amukamara’s injury history and this makes a lot of sense. A cornerback would provide depth right away and become a starter next year.
• They wait longer to take a running back than most think. A lot of people are penciling a back at Pick 87, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t until later on Day Three. Mike Davis is being paid to play quite a bit this year, if the Bears can’t add a dynamic all-purpose back, it seems like they may wait and try to find someone to fill and expand what they did with Taquan Mizzell in 2018. Hey look, I already wrote about that too.
• They trade up and grab a dynamic running back. They key part of the last point was “if they can’t add a dynamic all-purpose back.” But, what if they can? What if the Bears are in striking distance of Miles Sanders or Darrell Henderson and they think that player can do for the offense what Kareem Hunt did for Kansas City in 2017? They should absolutely move up and grab him.