Consider Matt Nagy the wild card of the Bears’ draft evaluations
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As candid and open as Bears coach Matt Nagy was during his news conferences at his first minicamp, he remained tight-lipped about one subject.
Don’t ask Nagy too much about the NFL Draft because he won’t say too much.
He’ll be as sly as a John Fox.
What’s Nagy’s sense for the caliber of players who could be available at No. 8?
“You can ask [general manager] Ryan [Pace] that one,” Nagy said with smile. “He’s the expert.”
Pace has three draft classes and two bold first-round trades under his belt, but Nagy’s input and preferences for certain players make this draft extra-intriguing.
Nagy is a wild card, having never been involved in evaluations to this extent. Fox had a history with the Panthers and Broncos.
It’s well-established that Nagy considered Mitch Trubisky the best quarterback of last year’s class. But how does Nagy feel about the receivers this year?
What would adding a special guard, such as Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson, do for his offense? Does he even need one?
What does he think of the cornerbacks? Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith? Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick?
Should the Bears trade up for North Carolina State pass rusher Bradley Chubb if the right situation comes along?
Nagy must provide his answers to those questions and more to Pace.
In general, Nagy’s say is much stronger now than it was when he was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator. Articulating what he and his staff look for in certain players in certain positions is a new responsibility that comes with being a head coach.
“As we learn more and more about just his philosophy, especially on offense and what he wants to do, it’s getting our scouts on the same page on that vision and what fits,” Pace said during the NFL Scouting Combine. “But one of the attractive things about Matt is his flexibility.
“It’s really, ‘Hey, this is what this player does best. Let’s put him in position to maximize that.’ ”
At the combine, Nagy spoke about adding smart players. At the NFL’s annual meetings, he’d mention “a good person and a great player.”
“That’s a win-win,” he said. “So [it’s adding] as many as those guys as you can get.”
But coming from the Andy Reid coaching tree, Nagy also isn’t averse to taking chances on players with questionable backgrounds and concerns to work through off the field.
Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is an example. A fifth-round pick in 2016, Hill was dismissed from Oklahoma State in 2014 after being arrested in a domestic-violence case.
In the past, Pace has eliminated such players from the Bears’ draft board, especially after their misguided decision to sign defensive end Ray McDonald in 2015.
Overall, Nagy called his input for the draft “totally different” than his previous responsibilities with the Chiefs. It starts with balancing his schedule, but he knows he has a culture to build.
“To have the eighth pick in the draft, right now where we sit, is a great position,” Nagy said. “We just have to do it the right way.”