Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace has made a habit of making a surprise move during the first round of the NFL Draft, but stood pat this year and selected Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith – an ultra-talented player who fit a need and the team’s scheme nicely.
However, it’s possible the Bears had different intentions. NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero tweeted the Bears surprisingly tried to trade up from the No. 8 pick.
No specifics were offered regarding who the Bears were targeting or how far up they were trying to move, but we would guess that North Carolina State pass rusher Bradley Chubb was high on their list. If you’ll recall, Chubb believed there was a possibility Chicago could trade up and take him after sharing that he had met with the team prior to the draft. It’s also possible the Bears had their eyes on Smith, who they ultimately drafted without having to move anywhere. That’s a win either way, as far as I’m concerned.
After failing to move up in the draft, Chicago tried its hand once again at moving back into the first round. As discussed late Friday night, Ian Rapoport reported the Bears were one of two teams trying to trade back into the back end of the first round. Because a late first-round pick comes with the extra year of team control, it makes sense for teams trading high in the second round to try to slide in with a second-first round selection.
Even though the Bears ended up drafting Memphis receiver Anthony Miller in the second round, it appears they had their eyes on another top-tier wideout. As we noted when the Bears made the Miller pick, Ian Rapoport reported the Bears were trying to trade back into the first round with the intent to draft Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley. Instead, it was the Falcons who took Ridley in the first round with the 26th pick.
The Bears had been connected to Ridley dating back to December of the college football regular season. Ridley was often sent to Chicago in early editions of mock drafts, and even offered up the idea of wanting to play for the Bears via Instagram. Ridley was viewed as a reach for the Bears with the No. 8 pick, but as he continued to fall down the draft, it would only make sense for the Bears to try and swoop in and take a player they liked.
It would have been something else to see the Bears be ridiculously aggressive in the first round of the draft, but I suppose all is well that ends well for a team that was still able to take a top receiver prospect with the potential to start immediately.