The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Potash breaks down the Bears’ five-man draft class and what work the team has left to do:
In his fifth draft, general manager Ryan Pace:
Didn’t change. He was aggressive as usual, but this time he’s playing from strength instead of weakness — fortifying a playoff team instead of building from the ground up. Even if you consider Khalil Mack and Anthony Miller part of this draft, Pace can’t afford to strike out after that, yet he took some chances on players with big upsides. It’s risky. But with this roster, Pace isn’t playing with scared money.
The Bears’ best draft pick was:
Iowa State running back David Montgomery in the third round (73rd overall). Here’s how much Pace’s luck has turned: With no picks until the third round, the Bears had their greatest need for a starter at the one position where a starter-quality player is most available in the third round (seven Pro Bowl running backs in the the last five years alone). They still have to be right about Montgomery, but even if he’s something between Kareem Hunt and Jordan Howard, it’s a boon for Nagy’s offense.
An underrated draft pick was:
FAU running back Kerrith Whyte in the seventh round (222nd overall). He has special teams value, but can’t be discounted at running back. Whyte was overshadowed by Devin Singletary at FAU, so he might have untapped potential. And as Nagy’s offense matures, anybody with is raw speed and elusiveness has a chance to break out.
Should the Bears have drafted a kicker?
Not in the fifth round, which is where they would have had to get the only two kickers drafted — Utah’s Matt Gay by the Buccaneers (145th overall) and Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert (170th). The history of drafted kickers is so hit-and-miss that, except for Dave Toub, nobody can reliably predict success. You can find a reliable kicker outside the draft. Pace is right to keep all his options open at this point.
The Bears still have a hole here:
A bit of a reach, but tight end. After Trey Burton, the Bears have little proven production. They’re betting Adam Shaheen will have a breakout season, which is not a bad bet in this offense.
This undrafted free agent can help the Bears:
As well-stocked as the Bears are at wide receiver, Missouri’s Emanuel Hall is pretty intriguing because of his big-play ability — he averaged 23.5 yards per catch in his last two seasons (70-1,645, 14 touchdowns) with nine receptions of 50 yards or more. This is the kind of guy the Steelers turn into a Pro Bowler.