Re-drafts are fun, in theory. Because there is nothing like going back in time and righting the wrongs of what happened before by getting the right player with the right pick. But there are times when things go right in the draft, such as in 2018 when the Chicago Bears selected Roquan Smith with the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Conor Orr of SI.com’s The MMQB doesn’t dislike what he saw from Smith during his rookie season, but believes the Bears would have been better off going in a different direction if a re-draft was to occur. Orr shared his re-draft, which has the Bears taking Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson with the eighth pick despite Smith being on the board and available to be picked. Huh? Orr’s explanation: “The Bears are doing backflips in their facility with this pick. The most pro-ready offensive lineman in five years tumbles to them, giving them a decade of Pro Bowls to pair with Kyle Long.”
Snagging Nelson as a first-rounder would have had its perks, to be sure. He earned a Pro Bowl selection, first-team All-Pro honors, and was Pro Football Focus’ third highest-graded guard. Adding Nelson to the core on the line of scrimmage with Charles Leno Jr., Cody Whitehair, Kyle Long, and Bobby Massie would have made a good bunch even better.
Nelson falling to the Bears in this re-draft means Smith tumbles down the draft board. Indeed, Smith drops all the way down to pick No. 14 which is owned by – UGH! – the Packers.
“Again, this isn’t a reflection of Smith having a bad rookie season – he was great,” Orr writes about Smith going to Green Bay. “While it’s not precisely the haunting edge defender Mike Pettine’s defense needed, Smith can play in any system and cover almost anyone. He’s valuable almost anywhere.”
YUCK! The Bears passing on a guy who can “play in any system” and “cover almost anyone” is one thing, but watching him fall to the Packers is one step too far. Simply thinking about Smith suiting up in the relish and mustard colored jerseys makes me feel gross inside.
The wildest thing in Orr’s re-draft might not be who the Bears picked or how Smith landed in Green Bay, but instead, the have history-altering implications with changing picks can be mind-blowing if you think about them for an extended period of time. Especially with the Bears passing on drafting a player who would have filled their biggest need in pass-rusher Bradley Chubb, who goes to the Raiders with pick No. 10. And suddenly, the Raiders edge defense looks a lot stronger with Chubb opposite of Khalil Mack and — you know what, we’ll stop there. No need to think about the Bears living in a world where Mack isn’t in Chicago.
In the end, we’re cool with how things went when the draft happened in real-time. After all, it was a highly-acclaimed effort by GM Ryan Pace and his crew. The Bears ending up with Smith (a studly inside linebacker with a ton of upside) and a quality interior offensive lineman (James Daniels) who was showered with love from PFF (and elsewhere) for his rookie year performance turned out to be good for the short term and could very well be great for the team over the long haul. So, back off and keep your re-drafts outta my sight.