I know, I know. The Chicago Bears had a chance to pick Deshaun Watson in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. They didn’t. We know what happened on draft day, and have seen what has transpired since. And because we’ve covered all the bases regarding this draft, I don’t think we need to do it once more.
So don’t see Dan Wiederer’s deep dive at the Tribune as just another re-litigation of the 2017 NFL Draft. It’s more than that. Because once you get beyond the surface, Wiederer reveals a top-down organizational failure that still shows up to this very day:
Deshaun Watson will play his first game at Soldier Field on Sunday.
But what exactly happened between him and the Bears before the 2017 NFL draft?
DEEP DIVE: https://t.co/OPJhE6s82I
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) December 9, 2020
Wiederer establishes that GM Ryan Pace kept his plans to select Trubisky so secretive, he kept Head Coach John Fox and his staff in the dark. He paints the picture of a dysfunctional franchise and a flawed process that wasn’t thorough in its vetting of the best players at the most important position in the game.
The reporting shows a disjointed organizational structure that didn’t have the necessary checks-and-balances in place to challenge the most important draft choice in the franchise’s modern history. This journey’s conclusion brings us to where we are today — desperately needing an organizational overhaul because of the failures of the past. Failures that aren’t solely focused on the short-comings of the player who was picked. Instead, failures that are rooted in organizational ineptitude and decisions made in one general manager’s hubris.
It’s not just that picking Mitchell Trubisky instead of Watson (or even Patrick Mahomes) put the Bears behind the 8-ball. It’s the seismic organizational failure that led to the selection that should be the grand takeaway after reading the story. Moreover, it’s an early example of the failures we still see today.
In the end, the grand takeaway should be that this can’t happen again. Any of it. Now is the time to modernize the organizational structure on the football side of things. Not just because they got the quarterback wrong, but because they put themselves in a position to fail. No front office bats 1.000. But organizations with better structure give themselves a better chance to clear the fences with the right swing.