Absolutely full disclosure here, I am a Bears fan and will do my best not to be too biased in my assessment here. However, thanks to the Bears inability to do anything that makes me have hope it will not be too hard to be harsh in my analysis. As always, I am not a professional in anyway when it comes to being a team analyst or the sort. Instead, I like creating banter among fans and spark constructive debates. So, without further adieu, here we go!
This may be the fan boy in me, but the Bears were one of the worst hit teams in terms of injuries last season. Not many teams lose their starting quarterback let alone their back up as well for chunks of the season. To go along with that they lost Kyle Long early in the year and never really had Lamarr Houston or a fully healthy Pernell McPhee. As well as, Alshon Jeffrey being suspended and hurt during the year and his back up Kevin White being out most of the season again. Same can be said about Kyle Fuller being out the whole year last year and the veteran Tracy Porter was in and out of the line up. I know injuries happen in the NFL, but it rare for that many impact players spending time on the sideline. Injuries seem to be a recurring issue with John Fox since his arrival to Chicago and I know it's hard to blame a coach on that, but maybe he pushes them too hard in practice causing them to get nicked up. It could be true since so many players got hurt in practice.
Many people will want Fox and Pace out of their positions if they have another tough year, but in their defense they are rebuilding and the team has never been fully healthy for them to prove their abilities as a coach or GM so far. Plus, it's not like the team or players are so terrible that both need to be fired. If everyone stays healthy I can actually see this team having a half way decent season if they get quality quarterback play. People, are bashing Pace for paying Mike Glennon for essentially one season, but his salary among quarterbacks is pretty low in the big picture and if Trubisky is allowed some time to season all for the better in my opinion. Pace took his shot at finding a quarterback and right now he has two bullets to figure it out. What if Glennon does play well? That will create an interesting off season next year on where they like to go at quarterback. In my opinion, letting a young quarterback sit is not the worst thing in the world even if he was the number two pick. If you throw him in there too soon you end up with a Blake Bortles, Ryan Tannehill, Blaine Gabbert, David Carr, or Matt Leinart. None of those guys were prepared to play right away and ended up being underdeveloped and some like Tannehill and Bortles still seem over their skis. Plus, I do not see Glennon bombing completely to lose his job this year since he too has talent and may have been forced to helm a terrible Bucs team too soon.
Overall, this is going to be an up and down team who should beat up on the bad teams on their schedule and maybe sneak a few from the better teams they face. Their running game is good enough to keep the ball away from opposing offenses and I liked what Pace did by getting a few buy low receivers with talent who can allow Glennon to target many different options rather than keying in on one target. That will also keep defenses on their toes on who to defend. Their defense does worry me a lot in the back end. The front if healthy is one of the best with edge rushers Leonard Floyd, Pernell McPhee, Willie Young, and Lamarr Houston. Along Hicks and Goldman up front and Freeman in the middle. The safeties could be good with Quinton Demps and Adrian Amos if he can develop better ball skills and if not Eddie Jackson or others can try out for the position. Corner is where I am most worried with a couple journey men and undersized options out there. I know coach Vic Fangio is a great coordinator, but he is not a miracle worker so it may be an up and down season out there.
1 (2) - Mitch Trubisky QB - I would like to think the Bears needed to trade up one spot since other teams like the Browns or Cardinals would move up to get Trubisky, but that might be spin Pace is putting out there not to look paranoid. Either way they really did not give up a ton like the Chiefs or Texans did to move up. I do think there is promise here for Trubisky if enough teams liked him that much. He does have maturity and fire within him to get better and learn the offense. His accuracy and arm strength are there, but he needs to develop proper technique when working under center. Like I said if he spends most of the season or more on the bench it's not a bad thing. If anything it will give him a chip on his shoulder to work harder and earn that spot. In the end, I think he most likely will get a full shot at the gig next season.
2 (13) - Adam Shaheen TE - I guess the whole give your young quarterback a weapon thing qualifies here to even if the quarterback will not play this season. I do not mind this pick, but I just thought there were other positions of worth to improve here like corner. However, with Zach Miller on the chopping block and Dion Sims being more of a blocker Shaheen can see some of the most action as a rookie for the Bears. Who knows he may turn into the next Gronk and dominate the middle of the field.
4 (5) - Eddie Jackson S - This was a very underrated draft pick to me since most people forgot about Jackson after his injury. For the Tide he was a dynamic middle of the field ball hawk who dominated for them at times. If he comes back fully healthy I see no reason why he cannot push Adrian Amos from his job since the 3rd year pro has yet to register a pick. Jackson in the meantime can prove his worth as a dynamic punt returner.
4 (13) - Tarik Cohen RB - Not going to lie this was another selection that got me confused for the Bears. They already had a solid stable of running backs with Howard, Langford, Carey, and newly acquired Benny Cunningham. Perhaps both Carey and Langford have really fallen out of favor, but I think neither of them had a fair shake for the back up gig. Especially, Langford who has good ball skills and speed to do the job Cohen is going to do. Plus, Cohen is so undersized it will be a miracle he can stay healthy for long stretches of time. He may turn into the next Darren Sproles, but there's only one Sproles and Cohen is even smaller than the veteran.
5 (3) - Jordan Morgan OL - Another odd selection in my opinion for a team with so many needs else where instead of the interior of the line. Especially, since that is one of the best units on the team let alone maybe the league. They should have spent the selection on a young corner or elsewhere. I doubt Morgan sees any time this season or in the future really unless Kyle Long's ankle surgery ends up being career threatening. Maybe he can slide over to right tackle, but even then Bobbie Massie was not so terrible to be replaced by a 5th round rookie with short arms. I like Pace as a GM to be honest since he has found talent, but this draft had a bunch of head scratches.
2018 Off Season:
If the team bombs out completely I have no doubts Pace and Fox will be gone, but that is most likely not going to happen. I do question Pace's decision to load up on free agent defensive backs when this was a loaded draft class at the position and instead drafted players to positions where they already have talented incumbents. If anything that may be why Pace is fired since he is trying to outsmart the room and in the end looks foolish. His saving grace is if his quarterback plan pans out and Glennon plays well enough to be a hot commodity after the season. If that is the case I see no reason why he could not turn him out for a first rounder like the Eagles did with Sam Bradford. They should this off season look to improve the tackle spots to protect Trubisky in the future. As well as, maybe finding a true number one receiver if Kevin White and others fail again. I may also sound like I am beating a dead horse here, but they really need to find some bonafide talent at the corner position in a league that loves to pass the ball.
My 2018 Mock Draft Selections:
1 (5) - Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame
2 (6) - Duke Ejiafor DE Wake Forest