The Chicago Bears have not had the greatest drafts in the past, but have hit on some picks. With the 2020 draft coming up in two weeks, it is always fun to take a look back and see what you’re team could have, and probably should have, done. Let’s take a look at the last five first picks for the Bears and redraft them.
Original Pick: Kevin White
Redraft: Byron Jones
Bears fans all remember the excitement they had when Kevin White was selected seventh overall in 2015. He was a freak athlete out of West Virginia and was viewed as a guy that was raw but had all the talent to become a top receiver in the league. Injuries put a halt to White’s career before he could even learn how to run a dig route. The Bears eventually released him in 2018 where the Arizona Cardinals picked him up, but also released him shortly after.
In 2015 it was clear the Bears needed an explosive receiver to complement Alshon Jeffery, which explains the White pick. However, the truth is the receiver class that year, outside of Amari Cooper who was selected fourth overall, was very disappointing. They also desperately needed help on the defensive side of the ball.
In this redraft, they select Byron Jones, who played corner and safety at Connecticut and broke the broad jump world record at the combine. The 2014 defensive backfield featured Kyle Fuller, Tim Jennings, Chris Conte, and Ryan Mundy. A player as versatile as Jones would have stepped in and started day one. Jones just recently became the highest-paid corner in the NFL after signing with the Miami Dolphins for five years and $82 million.
Original: Leonard Floyd
Redraft: Chris Jones
In 2016, the Bears traded up from 11 to ninth with the Buccaneers to grab Leonard Floyd, a lean pass rusher off the edge from Georgia. This was the second year of the transition to a 3-4 defense so the Bears were still putting together a unit for Vic Fangio to play with. Floyd wasn’t god awful, but he definitely never lived up to being a top-10 pick. He was released this year after the Bears signed Robert Quinn to play opposite of Khalil Mack.
In this scenario, the Bears stay put at the 11 spot and grab Chris Jones out of Mississippi State. Chris Jones was selected by the Chiefs in the second round but has proven that he definitely should’ve been a first-round pick. He has quickly become one of the most dominant interior defensive linemen in the NFL. Jones has 33 sacks in his career as an interior lineman versus Floyd’s 18.5 as an edge rusher.
Picture a defense featuring Eddie Goldman at nose tackle with Akiem Hicks and Chris Jones at the defensive end spots. A 3-4 front does not get much better than that, and we haven’t even discussed the linebackers.
Original Pick: Mitchell Trubisky
Redraft: Patrick Mahomes
2017 will be a year that Bears fans will always try and erase from their memory, but unfortunately cannot. They traded up a spot with the San Francisco 49ers, surprising everyone, to grab Trubisky from North Carolina.
They had just signed Mike Glennon to a three-year $45 million contract on top of this. Glennon eventually lost his job to Trubisky and Trubisky has shown small glimpses of the reason he was picked so high, but inconsistencies have plagued his career thus far.
No one expected Mahomes to come in and dominate as he has, but that is exactly the case. He benefited from sitting behind Alex Smith for a year, but now is hands down the best quarterback in the NFL and is coming off a Super Bowl win. From no-look passes to 70-yard bombs, this kid is doing it all and Trubisky has, well, he chugged a beer sort of fast at a White Sox game last summer.
Original Pick: Roquan Smith
Redraft: Roquan Smith
A year after grabbing who they thought was their future franchise quarterback, the Bears went back to building a dominant defense. Smith was regarded as the top linebacker in the draft by many, and the Bears believed so also by selecting him eighth overall. In his rookie year, he had 122 tackles, five sacks, and one interception. A guy named Brian Urlacher was the last rookie linebacker to put up numbers like that.
Smith has become one of the most important parts to the Bears defense and has only just turned 23 years old. His speed allows him to fly sideline to sideline with ease and clean up everything that gets past the front line. He should anchor the middle of this defense for a very long time. Smith is the best of any picks of Ryan Pace’s career in the first round.
Redraft: David Montgomery
The 2019 draft stays the same as well in this scenario. The Bears were without a first and second-round pick due to the trade of Khalil Mack and trading up in the previous draft for Anthony Miller. It was obvious that Jordan Howard was not going to be the answer at running back for Matt Nagy’s system so the Bears traded up in the third round to grab David Montgomery out of Iowa State. He was viewed as a do-it-all back, but not possessing that elite speed to break the long runs.
After one year, it is tough to completely judge this pick just yet. He finished the season with 889 yards rushing and six touchdowns. The biggest struggle of the 2019 Bears’ offense was upfront with the line. Granted, the quarterback play was awful as well, but it can be difficult to run without even average run blocking. At this time, the pick doesn’t look to be a mistake given who was available at that spot. If the Bears address the offensive line this year, we can potentially see much more out of Montgomery.
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