Even though the Chicago Bears did not have a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the early consensus is that GM Ryan Pace put together a solid draft class. But who would’ve guessed that it would be Pro Football Focus leading the charge?
No, seriously. PFF gave the Bears a B+ grade for their draft. Let’s gather around and celebrate this momentous and unexpected occasion!
Much of the love went toward the pick of Jaylon Johnson, the Utah cornerback widely regarded as the best value pick of Chicago’s draft. To that end, PFF’s Mike Renner writes: “Johnson is one of the most instinctual corners in the entire draft, and he goes to a landing spot in Chicago where that ability can thrive.” And thrive it will, especially if long-time defensive backs coaching guru Chuck Pagano has anything to say about it. According to PFF, Johnson’s grades got better every year of his college career. Clearly, the arrow is pointing up here.
The PFF team also showered Chicago with some praise for its Day 3 selections, opining that the Bears “added a couple of players in the fifth round who have the potential to be difference-makers in the NFL.” That’s high praise for pass-rusher Trevis Gipson and wide receiver Darnell Mooney. Gipson, whom PFF notes won’t likely be an immediate contributor, has loud tools that are easy to dream on as he develops. As for Mooney, PFF highlights how the Tulane product averaged more than 15 yards per catch in each of his last three seasons.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. as PFF was down on the Cole Kmet pick. Kmet was 98th on PFF’s big board, which suggests a third-round grade on the prospect. Even still, Kmet was the site’s TE2 and has “a nice all-around game” and is “a reliable chain-mover.”
For what it’s worth, PFF isn’t alone in thinking highly of Chicago’s draft class.
Chad Reuter (NFL.com) gave the overall group a B+, highlighting the team’s value picks on Day 3 as additional optimism in addition to the Day 2 selections of Kmet and Johnson. Doug Farrar (Touchdown Wire) hands the Bears a “B” grade, circling Johnson as a first-round talent who is “one of the smartest, most-targeted, and mistake-proof players” among draft-eligible cornerbacks. Nate Davis (USA Today) commends the Bears by netting a pair of “borderline first-round prospects” in the second round as he lumped in Kmet with Johnson as first-round caliber prospects. which lands the Bears a “B” grade.
And yet, I keep coming back to PFF singing the praises of the Bears’ draft class as the thing that really sticks to me. The football analytics giant has rankled some members of Bears fandom with their trolling of Mitch Trubisky (whom you might recall as the site’s QB1 ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft), but that’s water under the bridge as the team moves toward a Nick Foles era.
If you want to feel even better about draft weekend, check out PFF analysts chime in on the Packers’ Jordan Love pick:
Jordan Love: a motivational tool for Aaron Rodgers? pic.twitter.com/cEP5UJ8Ym9
— PFF (@PFF) April 24, 2020
“Jordan Love is not a first-round caliber quarterback.”
“Jordan Love, on the face of it, is not worth a first-round pick, is not worth trading up for.”
Yikessssss. And I thought the site’s Trubisky takes were cold-hearted.