Can Ryan Pace Learn from Previous Draft Missteps? And Other Bears Bullets

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Can Ryan Pace Learn from Previous Draft Missteps? And Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

In brief: I’m feeling “OK” in the early stages after my second dose of the vaccine. I hit a wall yesterday afternoon, much like I did hours after my first dose. There were times last night when I ran hot and cold. And while I feel a bit achy, it’s not enough to be concerning. Annoying? Absolutely. But I’m not writhing in pain. Here’s to the idea of “keep on keeping on” moving forward.

•   Sometimes, I make tweets that make you “lol” in real life:

•   For the record, Ryan Pace’s first-round drafting history isn’t all bad. Linebacker Roquan Smith has been solid from the jump and is coming off a second-team All-Pro campaign in 2020. Leonard Floyd didn’t become the fearsome pass-rusher Bears fans were hoping he would turn into after the team slid up in the 2016 NFL Draft to take him, but he was a nice complimentary edge defender across from Khalil Mack. But a common tread throughout Pace’s first-round picks is that they weren’t as good as they could’ve been. And while I suppose many teams can say that about many picks, Pace’s picks stand out as not getting as much value as one would expect out of a player taken where they went. If history repeats itself, this very well could be Pace’s final draft with the Bears.

•   For what it’s worth, Pace has been able to unearth tremendous value after Round 1. And because I’m in an optimistic mood, I’m willing to extend a little bit of rope in hopes that Pace can find better values drafting in the back end of the first round than he did early. Heck, I’ll even settle for Pace learning form his first-round missteps from 2015-17 and applying what he has learned to this class. That Pace said this in early April has stuck with me for some time:

•   This is as close to an admission of “my bad” we’ll get from any GM, let alone Pace. But that he was willing to say the loud part out loud is a step in the right direction.

•   Andrew Dannehy with a eye-opening line in a piece at DBB suggesting we should probably lighten up when it comes to Pace’s drafts: “Whether using PFF or PFR, there doesn’t seem to be a metric in which the Packers, or the Patriots or the Seahawks, have drafted better than the Bears, but they have won more. The ultimate truth about the league is that draft strategy is largely irrelevant. It comes down to quarterback play.”

•   I’d disagree with the concept that draft strategy is “largely irrelevant” because that simply cannot be true. A roster made up of 53 players needs contributions from all over. That means drafts need to be more good than bad, free agency classes need to not be draining, and unexpected contributions from trades, undrafted free agents, and the waiver wire need to pop up here and there. But Dannehy nails it when he writes that it all goes back to quarterback play. Everything looks better when the QB is on point. Each decision by the front office looks better. Every player looks better. All the coaches look smarter. It’s the single-most-important position in sports. Whiffing there can make good drafts elsewhere look bad real quick.

•   Well, this should be something:

•   According to OverTheCap.com, the Bears have $1,565,075 in available cap space. In order to sign their draft class, OTC estimates the Bears will need $8,095,344 to sign their class. I suppose the Bears could consider further roster cuts to clear necessary space. For instance, Akiem Hicks ($10.5M), Jimmy Graham ($7M in savings), and Charles Leno Jr. ($6.2M) could be spring-time cap casualties. Moving Anthony Miller ($1.21M) off the books could be helpful if the Bears bulk up at receiver. The Bears have options. It’s just that some will be harder to swallow than others.

•   Now I’m wondering if the Bears sacrificing draft capital in order to move up for a QB makes sense through the lens of limiting total draft spending because of their cap situation. I’m not sure how feasible it is. But I am sure that questionable cap management over the years is starting to catch up at the worst possible time for Chicago.

•   A year ago at this time, we were talking about Joe Burrow as the breakout college football star no one saw coming. Mac Jones hopes to follow in those footsteps. And one NFL analyst believes a Jones strength is similar to that of Burrow:

•   For your listening pleasure:

•   I miss Doug Buffone:

•   In the wake of the ruling the Derek Chauvin trial, the Raiders made a tweet that owner Mark Davis had to come out and explain:

•   The NFL shared this statement:

•   And while the Bears did not put out anything, they retweeted sentiments from Allen Robinson II:

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.