There’s an old saying about “picking up the phone” when opportunity calls.
But when the opportunity came for the Chicago Bears to use their pick capital to move around the 2020 NFL Draft, GM Ryan Pace declined to do so:
Ryan Pace said the Bears "had scenarios" where they could trade down from 43 and 50, "but once we knew those players (Kmet & Johnson) were going to be there we were excited to select them at those points."
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) April 25, 2020
In Pace’s press conference after Day 2 of the Draft, the Bears GM revealed he “had scenarios” in which he could have traded down from both of his second-round selections. Pace did not elaborate on the firmness of the offers. Though, clearly, they weren’t enough to move him off his stance. Pace went on to say that once he knew the top players on his board were going to be available at the time his team was picking, trading down wasn’t going to happen.
And on the one hand, I get it. When you have conviction on a certain player at a certain spot in the draft, you should take him and not think twice about it. At its core, the draft is about (1) getting the best players available and (2) getting your guy. And for what it’s worth, the Bears did that with both of their picks. In Cole Kmet, they drafted the player ESPN and CBS Sports ranked as the class’ overall top-ranked tight end. And in Johnson, Chicago selected a cornerback who checked in among the top-5 at Pro Football Focus and ESPN. These are good prospects. And yet, it feels like a missed opportunity.
Immediately before the Draft, reports surfaced that Chicago was among the teams looking to trade *UP* in the second round. Previously, there was an expectation that the Bears could move down from pick N0s. 43 and 50. And when Pace did a media conference call earlier in the week, he discussed his willingness to trade around in general. It was an idea that lined up with logic too, as Chicago had no picks in the third or fourth rounds. And going from picks 50 to 163 without any draft capital didn’t seem ideal in a class that was renowned to be deep across the board, particularly in that range.
The Bears were open for business! Until they weren’t.
Which makes me wonder why a team would turn down multiple opportunities to pick up valuable draft capital/to infuse youth and depth to a roster that lost its share of depth in the offseason would pass up the opportunity to bring in a wave of talent. Especially in a class where clumps of prospects were essentially lumped into the same grouping.
Chicago enters Day 3 of the NFL Draft with five picks, and still needing to address spots at safety, wide receiver, quarterback, and along the offensive line. The final day of drafting opens up at 11 a.m. CT, so we will soon find out what’s on the Bears’ agenda.