Analysis: Patrick Finley’s 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?
The two most valuable positions in the game today are, in order, quarterback and edge rusher. I don’t mind GM Ryan Pace trading up for Floyd and gambling that he can develop him into a stud. The payoff — a young, cheap weapon — would be huge. Beside, there wasn’t much draft depth at outside linebacker behind Floyd.
My favorite pick is …
Florida defensive end Jonathan Bullard, whose long arms and ridiculous run-stopping production last season could translate to a starting defensive end job quickly. He made more sense in Round 3 than many linemen chosen in Round 2.
The Bears will regret …
Passing on left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who could be a starter at a premium position for the next 10 years. His social media hack and subsequent slide was unprecedented — and, of course, alarming — but one bad night of public relations could have born the Bears fruit for years to come. It would have saved Pace a fourth-round pick, too.
Should the Bears have taken a QB?
Yes. Jay Cutler just turned 33, yet the Bears, amazingly, have yet to formulate a succession plan. The only way they’ll find a starter is to draft him — flawed quarterbacks command too much money on the free agent market. Brian Hoyer or not, the Bears will be in the same spot next draft.
The Bears filled this need …
Their pass rush in sub packages could be worlds better next year with Floyd coming off the edge and Bullard moved from end back inside, where he dominated the three technique last year. Coach John Fox singled out the speed rush as a problem last year, and the Bears took strides to fix it.
The Bears missed this need …
Tight end. Trading Martellus Bennett on principle is fine — as long as you replace him. Missing on Saints tight end Josh Hill and failing to draft anyone who plays the position is disappointing. Particularly with Zach Miller’s injury history, the Bears need depth there.
My draft grade is …
Ryan Pace’s devotion to beef —he drafted two O-linemen and two D-linemen, combined, in Rounds 2 or 3 the past two years — is not sexy, but it’s the best way to rebuild a team that needed toughness. Indiana’s Jordan Howard can play the violent role in the Bears’ three-headed monster backfield, too.
Ultimately, grading this year’s draft comes down to one question: Do you believe Floyd will gain the strength to be a dynamic NFL weapon? Or is he Barkevious Mingo 2.0? I just don’t know yet.