Analysis: Adam L. Jahns’ thoughts on the Bears’ draft
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With general manager Ryan Pace’s second draft for the Bears in the books, the Sun-Times examines the strengths and shortcomings of his nine-player haul:
Was Leonard Floyd the right pick at No. 9?
Freakish athletes with coveted measurables don’t always pan out. Bears fans know that. But I’ve come around on Floyd because of coach John Fox, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt. They know what they want, and their track records say plenty. Floyd will begin as a pass-rush specialist, giving Fangio a valuable speed threat opposite his power rushers. As the ninth overall pick, Floyd will have to become more than a specialist. But he has the right coaches to do that.
My favorite pick is …
Indiana running back Jordan Howard in the fifth round. Howard’s punishing running style will complement Jeremy Langford well. The Bears also got great value. Some analysts considered Howard a potential Day 2 pick.
The Bears will regret …
Not being aggressive and drafting a tight end. Should they have traded up in Round 2 to take Arkansas’ Hunter Henry, who went to the Chargers at No. 35? Did the Bears just miss on South Carolina’s Jerell Adams, whom the Giants selected a pick before them in the sixth round? It was a thin class, but it remains a thin position for the Bears, regardless of their undrafted free-agent signings.
Should the Bears have taken a QB?
It would be wise to groom a young quarterback at some point, but forcing the issue in this year’s draft was unnecessary when the Bears have other concerns. Jay Cutler will be fine under new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. Next year is different, though. With other needs likely filled and Cutler another year older, the Bears will have to draft a QB in 2017.
The Bears filled this need …
Front-seven speed on defense, which Fox was adamant about improving. Floyd clearly has it, but so does Bullard. Bullard’s fast “get off” that Pace praised is evident on film. The Bears’ free-agent signings also improved the defense’s overall speed and quickness.
The Bears missed this need …
True competition for left tackle Charles Leno Jr. Is it really going to be Nick Becton as Pace said? It’s not going to be right guard Kyle Long. It would be surprising if Long got more than a day or two at left tackle during the offseason program when the Bears experiment with lineups. Leno is pretty polished at left tackle. Long would be a work in progress all over again.
My Bears draft grade is …
B-plus. It’s safe to project significant playing time for Floyd, Bullard and Howard. One of the Bears’ rookie safeties, Deon Bush or DeAndre Houston-Carson, should also start after Antrel Rolle’s release. Guard Cody Whitehair, though, might turn out to be their best pick of all. He has to beat out Ted Larsen to start at left guard after Matt Slauson’s release.