That Missed PAT Helped the Bears’ First-Round Pick Improve By 8 Spots

Bears
Bears

There was a time when I owned a green shirt that said I’d Rather Be Lucky Than Good. And I wore the heck out of that shirt. Not just because it was — at the time — the only green shirt I owned (it’s not a color I think I look great in), but also because I vibed with the message. Being good is fine. But sometimes, it’s better to have good fortune.

And when it comes to tracking the Chicago Bears’ 2023 first-round draft pick, they got a little bit unlucky on Sunday — which is a good thing.

***

This is what the top half of the 2023 NFL Draft would look like if the season ended today (I know it doesn’t, but hang with me here):

  1. Texans (1-7-1)
  2. Raiders (2-7)
  3. Panthers (3-7)
  4. Eagles (via Saints, who are 3-7)
  5. Jaguars (3-7)
  6. BEARS (3-7)
  7. Seahawks (via Broncos, who are 3-6)
  8. Lions (via Rams, who are 3-6)
  9. Texans (via Browns, who are 3-6)
  10. Steelers (3-6)
  11. Lions (3-6)
  12. Falcons (4-6)
  13. Cardinals (4-6)
  14. Packers (4-6)
  15. Colts (4-5-1)
  16. Commanders (5-5)
  17. Chargers (5-4)
  18. Bengals 5-4)

And this is what it would look like (roughly) had the Bears won on Sunday:

  1. Texans (1-7-1)
  2. Raiders (2-7)
  3. Lions (2-7)
  4. Panthers (3-7)
  5. Eagles (via Saints, who are 3-7)
  6. Jaguars (3-7)
  7. Seahawks (via Broncos, who are 3-6)
  8. Lions (via Rams, who are 3-6)
  9. Texans (via Browns, who are 3-6)
  10. Steelers (3-6)
  11. Falcons (4-6)
  12. Cardinals (4-6)
  13. Packers (4-6)
  14. BEARS (4-6)
  15. Colts (4-5-1)
  16. Commanders (5-5)
  17. Chargers (5-4)
  18. Bengals (5-4)

An eight-spot difference in the reverse standings is due to Cairo Santos missing a PAT after Justin Fields’ sensational 67-yard touchdown run.

Think about how much of a rarity a Santos PAT miss is a rarity in these parts. Santos has nailed 94.1 percent of his extra points since re-joining the Bears in 2020. And even though three of his five PAT misses have come in this season, Santos is still perfect on the year on field goal attempts. That includes 5-for-5 on kicks between 30-39 yards, which is relevant considering a PAT is essentially a 33-yard field goal.

All of this is to underscore that Cairo’s missed kick is basically a blip on the radar. And it is a rather significant one for those of us with eyes on the reverse standings.

So … what’s the difference between picking No. 6 and No. 14?

I’m glad you’re asking:

  • 2022: Ikem Ekwonu is the first OL off the board at No. 6 to Carolina. In the picks that happen after, two more offensive linemen and the top four wide receivers go before Baltimore (a receiver-needy team, mind you!) goes on the clock at pick No. 14.
  • 2021: Jaylen Waddle goes sixth to the Dolphins. In the picks that come after, the two top cornerbacks, two top offensive line prospects, the fourth quarterback, third receiver, and top linebacker get chosen before the Jets get to pick at 14.
  • 2011: The Browns traded the sixth overall pick to the Falcons for the 26th, 59th, and 124th selections in the 2011 NFL Draft *PLUS* the 22nd and 118th picks in 2012. Atlanta used that selection on wide receiver Julio Jones.
  • That is just a small sampling of how valuable that No. 6 overall pick can be when put in comparison with the No. 14 pick.

    Now, I don’t want to overstate the importance of bottoming out in a tank. The Bears have so many needs that — whether they’re drafting 6th, 14th, or anywhere else in the top 20 — they’ll be in position to draft the best player available at any position and it would make sense. But where having the better pick sways things is that there is a bigger player pool to choose from when making a selection. More players to pick from should give a team a larger margin for error come draft time.

    In the end, we’ve got a long way to go before we solidify where the Bears are picking. Chicago’s football team is in a cluster of teams where it is conceivable they could move as high as the No. 3 overall pick. Getting all the way there would put GM Ryan Poles in the driver’s seat where he could choose from a top pass rusher, high-end offensive lineman, or a trade-back with a team thirsting to draft a quarterback.

    All because of a missed PAT and a tank win. Who’dathunkit?

    written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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