You know how sometimes when you’re driving you notice the other drivers all following each other like sheep? Let’s say you’re driving on a four lane (two lanes each way) road and you pull up to a stop light. Isn’t it strange how five to ten cars are all in one lane and one or nobody is in the other lane? It always boggles my mind. What’s up with sheep, I mean, people? Are they consciously choosing that backed up lane or are they not paying attention? Are they “scared” of the unoccupied lane? I don’t quite know how to explain it, other than the biggest thing I’ve learned in 40+ years of life, is that people are strange. But what I DO know is that I choose the other lane, the fast lane.’ And guess who is like me? Bears GM Ryan Pace.
I might be the only one but……..I better whisper this……..I love the Chicago Bears Draft! I know what you’re thinking……..the “Dutch Lion” has officially lost it! You might be right. However, the “Lion” might be right and the “Lion” thinks that GM Ryan Pace did a pretty nice job over the weekend. I applaud him.
The opening minutes of the 2017 NFL Draft were shocking. I couldn’t believe my eyes when they announced that San Francisco had traded their #2 overall pick to the Chicago Bears. What!?! Then of course ESPN scrambled and assumed (incorrectly) that the Bears must have wanted Solomon Thomas. Let’s blame ESPN’s incompetence on their lack of healthy bodies to report the scoop. That’s what happens when you lay off 100 people! Of course, maybe it was just Pace and his guys keeping a secret. A novel concept in this modern age of information gathering, “fake” news, and social media showering us with every nugget of info. Therefore, I was floored and I admit I was not happy when the pick was announced that Pace took QB Mitch Trubisky. From the beginning I was torn. I’m torn because I love taking a quarterback. However, it wasn’t the QB I wanted. For whatever reason, I wanted DeShaun Watson from Clemson. Who’s to say I was right? I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. In fact, I make mistakes like crazy. Who knows? The honest truth is that NONE of us know. Even GM Ryan Pace doesn’t know. Nonetheless, I’m putting my faith in Pace and his scouts.
The more I read about Trubisky the more I like his perseverance and aptitude for the quarterback position. After winning Ohio’s Mr. Football Award in 2012, he went through several challenging years at North Carolina in which he redshirted in ’13, then backed up Marquise Williams for two years before becoming the starter in ’16. Despite that obstacle, Trubisky stuck it out and thrived when he was finally given his chance last year. Trubisky’s strength is accuracy. I bet Troy Aikman on Fox will love him because Troy always talks about accuracy being the most important skill translating to a QB’s success.
Life is funny. On Thursday night I was bummed out. Now several days later, I’m pumped! Here’s a recap of my predictions and then my analysis of the new Bears.
- 1st Round #3 Overall Prediction: DeShaun Watson/QB/Clemson (Ended up going #12 to Houston who traded up to nab him as the 3rd highest drafted QB)
- 1st Round #2 Overall Actual Draft Selection: Mitch Trubisky/QB/North Carolina/6-2/222
- 2nd Round #36 Overall Prediction: Zay Jones/WR/East Carolina (Ended up going #37 overall to Buffalo. I was almost spot on with Jones’s value. Buffalo will love this guy. I’m admittedly bummed out about losing Jones but Shaheen will be awesome.)
- 2nd Round #45 Overall Actual Draft Selection: Adam Shaheen/TE/Ashland/6-6/278 (Chicago traded #36 pick and #221 (7th rounder) to Cardinals for #45, #119 (4th rounder), #197 (6th rounder), and a 4th round pick in 2018. So basically we moved down 9 spots in the 2nd but moved up 24 spots from the 7th to the 6th round, AND we added a 4th rounder this year and a 4th rounder in ’18.
I like this trade by Pace in that he recouped a 4th rounder in both this year’s draft as well as next year’s. Of course, then he made more moves later on to the point that it’s hard to keep it all straight. Anyway, I had never heard of Shaheen until he was selected. Did you see the video of this guy?!? OMG! He’s a beast! My son and I were stunned to see him dominate. Of course, it was Division II college football but he fits the profile. Shaheen is 6’6″ and 278 pounds of brute force and athleticism. They call him “Baby Gronk”. Alleged “fans” are knocking this pick but if he’s a starter at TE by his 2nd or 3rd year much less the next Rob Gronkowski, I think we’re going to LOVE this guy. I think my son has a new favorite player.
- 3rd Round #67 Overall Prediction: Dawuane Smoot/EDGE/OLB/Illinois (Ended up going #68 to Jacksonville. Once again, I was amazingly close, missing by one spot. I’m getting tired of patting myself on the back. Good thing I wasn’t right about much more.)
- 3rd Round Actual: TRADED to San Francisco who ended up trading it to New Orleans for #229 and a 2nd rounder in ’18.
- 4th Round #111 Overall Prediction: Dalvin Tomlinson/DE/Alabama (Ended up going #55 to N.Y. Giants. I was way off on this pick. I guess I underestimated Tomlinson’s value. Either that or the Giants brass read my column and I sold them on Dalvin!)
- 4th Round #112 Actual Draft Selection: Eddie Jackson/S/Alabama/6-0/201 (Rams traded #112 to Bears for #117 and #197)
I love this pick by Pace too! I’ve been watching Jackson the last couple of seasons and he really stood out on that ‘Bama defense. He intercepted 6 passes in ’15 but broke his leg in October of ’16, which was quietly a big problem for that Crimson Tide defense in the National Championship game vs Clemson. Not only that, but Jackson was an electric punt returner last year as well, returning two for TD’s. Alleged “fans” are knocking this selection because Jackson was hurt twice in college. I don’t worry too much about injuries because they are random and who DOESN’T get hurt playing football? It’s part of the sport. If it’s an injury that can be healed, then it’s ok. It’s another thing if it’s a consistent pattern of injuries a la Derrick Rose but to get one ACL and then one broken leg is not a problem for me.
- 4th Round #117 Overall Prediction: Jordan Leggett/TE/Clemson (Ended up going #150 to N.Y. Jets)
- 4th Round #119 Actual Draft Selection: Tarik Cohen/RB/North Carolina A&T/5-6/179/4.42
Once again, the Bears selected a small school player that I had never heard of. Before panning the pick like most alleged Bears “fans”, I read about Cohen and watched video. Sure enough, OMG! This kid is amazing! Check out the video below and see for yourself. Sure Cohen is unconventional. Why is that bad? I love how Pace goes out and finds guys for his system. Cohen has already been compared to Philadelphia Eagles dynamo Darren Sproles and rightfully so. Sproles is 5’6″ 190. He’s a 3rd down back, a scat back that catches screen passes and enrages the defense when they have to tackle him….if they can see him. Obviously Jordan Howard is the Bears main back, the 1st and 2nd down back if you will. Sproles, check that……….Cohen…..is the new 3rd down back. Think of Danny Woodhead, James White, Dion Lewis, Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah, Charles Sims, Duke Johnson. Within two years you will be thinking of Tarik Cohen along with those NFL stars. You doubt me? Cohen’s college stats: 5,619 rushing yards, 56 TD, 6.5 ypc, 3 time MEAC Offensive Player of the Year. Just because you’re from a small school doesn’t mean you’re not good. Need I say more? Watch this:
- 5th Round #147 Overall Prediction: Nathan Gerry/SS/Nebraska (Ended up going #184 to Philadelphia. The Eagles plan on using him at LB. Should be interesting. I could see Gerry being an excellent LB as he’s good in the box and picked off 13 passes in college. One of the Nebraska writers thinks Gerry will blossom and become a better NFL player than college player. Think of a Thomas Davis from Georgia going to the Carolina Panthers. Davis played safety in college before transitioning to LB in the NFL. Davis is now entering his 13th year in the pros.)
- 5th Round #147 Actual Draft Selection: Jordan Morgan/OG/OT/Kutztown/6-3/309
This was the most curious selection by the Bears out of the five draft picks. Why did Pace take a guy projected to be at Guard when the one (maybe the only) strong position of the team was the interior line of guards and centers? Chicago already has Josh Sitton, Kyle Long, Cody Whitehair, and Hroniss Grasu to fill out the 3 interior starters. I keep thinking maybe something is up. For example, maybe Morgan will indeed play OT as he did for four years at Kutztown. Or maybe Kyle Long will move out to OT, opening up a spot at OG. Or maybe Long’s ankle injury is worse than we thought. Or maybe the Bears brass saw what the Packers saw in Josh Sitton and they think he’s over the hill. If any of those four options comes to fruition, then I applaud Pace for his forward thinking. If none of those happen, then it does seem……curious, at best. Regarding Jordan Morgan, he was at the Senior Bowl along with the Bears coaches so they must have really, really been intrigued by Morgan’s ability. He won the ’16 Gene Upshaw Award for Division II’s best OL.
Overall, Chicago took five players in the ’17 Draft and we know that all five will make the roster. If three, four, or all five players grow into permanent NFL roles, then this draft will be a great success. I know that’s wishful thinking, but that’s the job and sometimes you need to have that mindset. GM Ryan Pace made a statement by picking trading up to pick a quarterback at #2 overall. He’s “hitching his wagon” to Trubisky. Why should we be upset about that? In a city that has never had a franchise quarterback, why are Chicagoans angry that their GM was sold on a QB and ultimately got him? As usual, Chicagoans and Bears fans are hypocritical and too quick to judge. Did you hear that Trubisky was already booed when they announced him at the United Center during the Bulls Game 6 playoff game? Instead of bashing Trubisky and Pace, maybe they should be overjoyed that their favorite team finally made a move to nab that franchise QB. Or maybe all Bulls fans are actually Packers fans.
Ultimately, the Bears 2017 draft will be judged by how good Mitch Trubisky is/was and did he help Chicago win any championships. In essence, was he the franchise quarterback that this franchise has needed since Sid Luckman? To take that further, was Trubisky the best QB in this draft? Was he better than Pat Mahomes, DeShaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, and any other QB that Pace could have drafted? If so, great! If not, then Pace will have failed just like pretty much every Bears GM since George Halas was roaming the sidelines in his overcoat and “throwing around nickels like manhole covers.”
I believe in Pace and I think he may have not only hit on Trubisky, but hit the jackpot! Maybe I’m just hoping. Was I hoping that Cam Newton was going to be great for my fantasy team in 2010 when I drafted him 1st overall despite the fact he had never played a down yet at Auburn? You bet I was hoping. In my wildest dreams I didn’t expect Newton to win the Heisman Trophy after putting up 50 touchdowns in a single season. In the same regard, Pace is hoping Trubisky is like Cam Newton. I did my homework on Newton. Pace and his scouts did their homework on Trubisky. Ultimately, that’s all you can do. Well, that and hope and pray. Sprinkle a bit of luck in there and we’re all set to feast.
Either way, at this point we shouldn’t be booing. We should be cheering. Are we supportive Bears fans or are we critics? I choose to be a fan, at least until Pace and Trubisky prove otherwise. So let’s get behind these guys and support them. I choose to be positive. I choose the fast lane without all the sheep. It looks like Ryan Pace does too.
Final Grade: A-
Ecstatic about: QB Mitch Trubisky, TE Adam Shaheen, RB Tarik Cohen
Really, really excited about: S/PR Eddie Jackson
Shrugging my shoulders about: OG/OT Jordan Morgan
Thank you to the “Official Chicago Bears” Youtube channel.