Ryan Pace: Grading the Chicago Bears General Manager’s Draft History

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Jan 3, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace before the game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Pace

Ryan Pace has worked in the NFL since 2001 in some capacity with just two teams. He worked for the New Orleans Saints from 2001-2014. He worked his way up from being an operations assistant, all the way up to being the Director of Player Personnel. Then the Chicago Bears decided to make Pace the youngest General Manager in the league at the time at age 37. He has since hired two head coaches in John Fox and current coach Matt Nagy. There is no doubt that he can build a great defense, but the same thing can’t be said for the offense besides acquiring Allen Robinson in free agency. Pace is now heading into his sixth NFL Draft with the Bears. And let’s take a look at how he has done so far.

2015 Bears Draft Class

First-round pick 7: Kevin White wide receiver from West Virginia. Injuries derailed his career before it even got started. Grade D-

Second-round pick 39: Eddie Goldman defensive tackle from Florida St. Has been a very reliable and under-rated player to this day. Grade A

Third-round pick 71: Hroniss Grasu center form Oregon. Grade F

Fourth-round pick 106: Jeremy Langford running back form Michigan St. Grade D

Fifth-round pick 142: Adrian Amos safety from Penn St. Grade B+

Sixth-round pick 183: Tayo Fabuluje offensive tackle from TCU. Grade F

2016 Bears Draft Class

First-round pick 9: Leonard Floyd outside linebacker from Georgia. Grade D

Second-round pick 56: Cody Whitehair center and guard from Kansas St. Grade B+

Third-round pick 72: Jonathan Bullard defensive end from Florida. Grade D-

Fourth-round pick 113: Nick Kwiatkoski inside linebacker from West Virginia. Grade B+

Fourth-round pick 124: Deon Bush safety from Miami. Grade C

Fourth-round pick 127: Deiondre’ Hall cornerback from Northern Iowa. Grade D

Fifth-round pick 150: Jordan Howard running back Indiana. Grade B+

Sixth-round pick 185: DeAndre Houston-Carson from William & Mary. Grade C+

Seventh-round pick 230: Daniel Braverman wide receiver from Western Michigan. Grade D-

2017 Bears Draft Class

First-round pick 2: Mitch Trubisky quarterback from North Carolina. Grade F, he’s not that bad of a player, but Ryan Pace passed on Watson and Mahomes to select him. Not to mention trading up to get the worst of the three players.

Second-round pick 45: Adam Shaheen tight end from Ashland. Grade F, Not a good start.

Fourth-round pick 112: Eddie Jackson safety from Alabama. Grade A+

Fifth-round pick 119: Tarik Cohen running back from North Carolina A&T. Grade B

Fifth-round pick 147: Jordan Morgan guard from Kutztown. Grade F

2018 Bears Draft Class

First-round pick 8: Roquan Smith inside linebacker from Georgia. Grade B, with the ability to be an A if he reaches his full potential.

Second-round pick 39: James Daniels guard/center from Iowa. Grade B-

Second-round pick 51: Anthony Miller wide receiver from Memphis. Grade C+, if he can stay healthy I would move it up to a B.

Fourth-round pick 115: Joel Iyiegbuniwe linebacker from Western Kentucky. Grade D-

Fifth-round pick 145: Bilal Nichols defensive lineman from Delaware. Grade A

Sixth-round pick 181: Kylie Fitts defensive end from Utah. Grade D-

Seventh-round pick 224: Javon Wims wide receiver from Georgia. Grade A, the fact that Ryan Pace got a starting-caliber wideout in the seventh round, deserves an A.

2019 Bears Draft Class

Round 3 Pick 73: David Montgomery running back from Iowa St.

Fourth-round pick 126: Riley Ridley wide receiver from Georgia.

Sixth-round pick 205: Duke Shelley cornerback from Kansas St.

Seventh-round pick 222: Kerrith Whyte running back from Florida Atlantic.

Seventh-round pick 238: Stephen Denmark cornerback from Valdosta St.

This class needs more playing time to properly evaluate the grades.

Overview of Ryan Pace

Ryan Pace has made some fantastic decisions like selecting great players in the mid to late rounds of the draft. Such as players like Goldman, Jackson, and Nichols. However, he has made way more bad decisions than good, for instance, drafting Adam Shaheen in the 2nd round. Or even worse, taking Trubisky over Mahomes and Watson. The fact that Pace never also met with Watson should be enough for the general manager to lose his job. That isn’t happening yet, however. Pace will have one more season to prove that 2018 wasn’t a fluke. This pressure could cause Pace to do something crazy in the 2020 Draft that Bears fans won’t like, possibly mortgaging the future of the Bears to save his job.

Enough With the Trade Up’s

Pace has traded up a total of six times in his short tenure with the Bears. Which is one way to run out of draft picks and force your organization to be filled with costly free agents that other teams don’t want anymore? In those six trades, Pace gave up two third-round picks, four fourth-round picks, and two sixth-round picks. One of the sixth round picks was used to move up five spots to select safety Eddie Jackson. Even with that said, enough is enough of Pace giving away valuable picks year after year. Hopefully, he can just stay put and select the best players available in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft.

Overall grade for Ryan Pace as general manager for the Bears would be a C because of all the 1st round busts.


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