So Bears Draft Grades, Anyone?
Here we go again. The NFL draft has come and gone, and our beloved Chicago Bears initially had the 3rd overall for the 4th time ever. Coming off a promising draft highlighted by Leonard Floyd and Cody Whitehair, the Chicago Bears had to Chicago Bear. The future was bright for Chicago, but we all knew something went horribly wrong the second the Bears traded 4 picks to move up one spot in a clearly weaker but deep draft. But how bad really was it? Well, let’s assign some draft grades then! I’ll be grading both the player himself and the value he has to the Bears.
So, let’s get rolling.
R1, No. 2
Mitchell Trubisky (QB UNC)
Oh no, the Bears took a signal-caller in the first round for only the ninth time in their existence. Bears have always had sucky luck in this respect, with only 13 Pro Bowl appearances between all of them. And we’re just going to ignore the infamous ẗrade. Let’s just assume the Bears had the 2nd overall because there’s no point in rehashing the obvious terribleness. With 3,748 yards, a 68 percent completion rate, 30 touchdowns, and six interceptions at UNC in his senior year (the only year he started), he clearly isn’t a bad quarterback in any sense. With a 6 foot 2 inch frame and a heck of an arm, he has plenty of physical talent. But with only 13 games of college experience and being in a heavy spread offense, adjusting to the NFL game could prove difficult for this youngster. He’s a very raw prospect who, though a senior, could’ve benefited from an extra year in college. And for the Bears, though a quarterback needy team, they are not this needy. Not needy enough to trade 4 picks to move up one spot to prevent a team that didn’t even want Trubisky from selecting him. It’s clearly a desperation move from a front office trying to hold onto their jobs. Ew.
R2 No.45 (From Arizona)
Adam Shaheen (TE Ashland)
And here is the first of the three(!) players selected below the FBS level for the Bears. Scary. So obviously being out of the college football spotlight, who is this man? Well, after hours upon hours of research I found out, Ryan Pace actually knew what he was doing here. This is a 6 foot 6, 278 pound man equipped with a 4.79 40 yard dash and 24 reps of bench press with athleticism in bunches. The physical body for a potentially great tight end is all here. After blazing through anything Division II had to offer, with 16 touchdowns, 867 yards on 57 receptions on his last season. The only negatives to be found are his lackluster blocking and still has yet to figure out to use his hands to free himself off the line. However with the lack of good competition played, stats are without a doubt overinflated. He easily could’ve competed in FBS level play, but the DII experiance raises a lot of red flags. But other than that, this is an exciting player with potentially a bright future. What does this mean for the Bears? With an injury prone but talented Zach Miller, 26 year old Dion Sims and sophomore Ben Braunecker rounding out the pathetic Bears tight end crop, the Bears obviously needed a weapon in the middle for fellow rookie Mitch (that’s how I will refer to him now) Trubisky to throw to. Wide receiver is in an even worse spot and with no exciting receivers left, the Bears needed a spark on offense in a pass heavy league. He was arguably the second best tight end on the board behind Bama´s OJ Howard, so this pick was nearly a no-brainer
R4 No.112 (From Buffalo)
Eddie Jackson (DB Alabama)
Finally, the Bears address a legit need. The Bears pass defense was deceptively splendid this past season, only allowing 239.3 yards per game. But with a glaring need at safety, Eddie Jackson was a must-grab. An athletic safety with brilliant instincts and pleasing hands on top of an marvelous return ability, he is exactly what the doctor ordered. However, he is not the tone setter at defensive back the Bears coveted most. As a grab and drag tackler, he is far from the second coming of Peanut Tillman. Though a broken leg ended his season in the 8th game of the year and coming off an ACL tear in 2014 (but still played 10 games on that year), injuries have been not a huge issue but still something to take note of. Overall, he is a decent player with a decent career ahead of him, but he is not going to be the superstar the Bears need on defense.
R.4 No.119 (From Arizona)
Tarik Cohen (RB North Carolina A&T)
The second player below the FBS level for the Bears is the 5 foot 6 running back Tarik Cohen. Nicknamed the Human Joystick, the reason this man succeeded was his 4.42 40 time and a rare and dazzling cutback ability. His freakish athleticism is known across the land, being able to make trained players not to miss, miss. A lot. He is a Darren Sproles type player, minus the return ability. Which is a little alarming. His bread and butter should be the return game but by being limited to just handoffs and catches out of the backfield, his value gets heavily handicapped. His ceiling is something to behold, but his size is going to cause a lot of issues for him in the big leagues. He got away with it in slower and weaker competition, but a lot of questions are raised if he can contend with players just as fast and even stronger. But for the Bears, on the surface this isn’t a good pick. With Pro Bowl rookie Jeremy Langford, borderline starter Jordan Howard, and solid contributor Ka’deem Carey, clearly another runningback was not needed. But looking deeper, power runners were aplenty for the Bears and a big-play halfback was something this offense needed, especially with a rookie quarterback rolling into town. However, this need did not outweigh the need for a true number one receiver or d-line help.
VALUE GRADE: C
Jordan Morgan (OG Kutztown)
And the final player to round out the 2017 NFL Chicago Bears class is DII offensive guard Jordan Morgan. As a massive human being, listed as 6 foot 3 and 309 pounds, he does not look the part of a DII athlete at all. Racking up the accolades from first team All-Pennsylvania to finalist of the Gene Upshaw Award throughout his career at small town college of Kutztown. His footwork is pretty for a 300 pound man and a first punch beyond his years. Morgan was able to dominate DII competition, but as the story goes with many DII athletes is that are they able to compete with much higher competition? Plus, Morgan struggles in the run block, which is not a positive on a team built on the run. However, with Morgan´s size and quickness, he has the potential to do just peachy on the NFL level. The Bears needed pass blockers and that is for sure what they got in this pick.
We all knew this was a deep draft, lacking top 5 talent but plenty of solid players to go around. And the Bears cashed in. For the most part. The second half of the draft went swimmingly, strong picks left and right. Players like Jordan Morgan and Tarik Cohen have potential to contribute a lot one day. But assessing the elephant in the room, the Mitchell Trubisky trade was a desperation move. There was no reason to give up a king’s ransom for a decent-level raw quarterback. And with 60% of our picks being from below the FBS, this is without a doubt a boom or bust class. Let’s just pray these players fall more onto the boom side or the Bears may have a lot of open job spots next offseason.
BEARS DRAFT GRADE:D+