The Bears were really good in 2018, and are poised to be good for the next few years. The man responsible for that turnaround is Ryan Pace. He has used a combination of draft picks and free agents to assemble nearly the entirety of one of the most talented rosters in football.
But somehow Pace doesn’t get his due as one of the best general managers in the NFL, largely because he got a lot of bad press early on as he oversaw three necessary losing seasons to overhaul one of the oldest and worst rosters in the league. But I’m here to fix that today by highlighting just how good he’s been at the most important part of a GM’s job: drafting.
The premise of this study is simple enough: try to find a way to quantify how well teams have drafted since 2015. Of course, that’s easier said than done, because how do you quantify a draft? There is no one perfect metric to measure the success of a draft pick, so instead I used a bunch, hoping that they would combine overall to give us a clearer picture of draft success.
Here are the metrics I used, with a quick explainer for each:
- 1st team All-Pro nods: This is meant to be a measure of how well a team acquires top-end talent, the guys who can lead your roster to a championship.
- Pro Bowl berths: Similar to All-Pros, but less demanding. Really good players can be Pro Bowlers without becoming All-Pros. Think of this as a measure of really good but not great starters.
- Seasons as a starter: This is then intended to measure how many solid players teams acquire in a draft.
- Career Added Value (AV): Pro Football Reference assigns a value to every season for every player, so I added this up for every draft pick from 2015-18. Higher AV = more total value from your draft picks (at least in theory).
- Games played: This is more a measure of total depth measure than anything, because it counts everybody on the active roster the same. Basically a measure of how many picks stick around to contribute in some way, even if that’s mainly special teams.
Total data for every team (from Pro Football Reference) can be viewed below, with the teams placed in alphabetical order and average values for each metric on the bottom row.