The players scooped up by the Bears as part of their 2018 draft class have garnered a ton praise throughout the football world. And stacking that strong draft class on top of what was widely considered to be a fruitful turn in free agency has built a significant, positive buzz around the future in Chicago. HOWEVER, not everyone has been sold on the improvements …
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller predicts the Bears will have the third highest pick in – what even he deems to be – an all-too-early 2019 NFL mock draft. Seriously. Putting that differently, Miller believes the Bears will be the third worst team in the NFL this season, which would obviously represent a pretty serious regression after taking a step in the right direction this offseason. Yuck.
The expectation right now, of course, is that the Bears should be better than they were last year, and in turn, better than a team picking third overall. Our early look at the team’s 2018 depth chart reveals at least eight new starters, most of whom are new to positions that were believed to be weaknesses for the Bears in 2017. And most of the returning players like Mitch Trubisky, Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Adam Shaheen, Cody Whitehair, Kyle Fuller, and Eddie Jackson still have room to grow. Trubisky, alone, could make all the difference in the world, and he should be better with improved pass-catching options, while Howard, Cohen, and Shaheen should also benefit from a new scheme that figures to highlight their strengths more acutely.
From my perspective, GM Ryan Pace has undoubtedly raised the talent level of the team compared to where it was last year and the franchise is healthier now than when he walked into Chicago in 2015. Eleven players who have been part of Pace’s four draft classes are lined up to be Week 1 starters, seven of which were drafted in the last two years. But it’s possible the overall quality of this roster isn’t on the level of the hype that currently surrounds it. Even then, the Bears look like a team that is better than one that will be picking in the top-5 in 2019. I suppose we’ll have to wait until they take the field in 2018 to see how much better … but still.
And because you’re curious, the projected pick is Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver – who has already announced he will declare for the 2019 NFL Draft and is someone Miller believes can with the Heisman Trophy as a defensive lineman. While I wouldn’t be opposed to adding another impact player on defense, the Bears have other goals they are reaching for as an organization right now.