It’s a weird and exciting thing seeing the Chicago Bears in the headlines for “winning the draft”, when, in my lifetime, “winning the draft” and the “Chicago Bears” have never been said in the same sentence. There have been times when the Chicago Bears have had “solid drafts”, “serviceable drafts” and (more times than not) “horrible drafts”; but never, at least in my recollection, have they been heralded as one of the teams that “won the draft”.
We’re not in Kansas… er… Halas Hall anymore.
I’ve spent the majority of my weekend trying to navigate this newly found and extremely volatile success and what it means for the Monsters of the Midway heading into the 2018 NFL season. I’ve found that I continue to land somewhere in between Wildcard Playoff team (finishing anywhere between 9-7 and 11-5) and never losing again.
It’s amazing what a competent draft strategy of selecting day one contributors can do for the soul.
Now, before I get to my next statement, I realize how hard it is to justify and decipher it. I also know that hindsight is 20/20. BUT, in my heart of hearts I believe that Ryan Pace’s first three picks this weekend will go down as the best three-some in Bears history. It’s already a feasible thing to say and none of them have ever played an NFL snap:
- 2018- Roquan Smith, James Daniels, Anthony Miller
- 2017- Mitchell Trubisky, Adam Shaheen, Eddie Jackson
- 2016- Leo Floyd, Cody Whitehair, Jonathan Bullard
- 2015- Kevin White (I believe, but shouldn’t), Eddie Goldman, Adrian Amos
The One Hit Wonders
- 2014- Kyle Fuller,Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton
- 2013- Kyle Long, Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene
- 2012- Alshon Jeffery, Shea McClellin, Brandon Hardin
The Beginning of the Melt Down/The Cutler Setback
- 2011- Gabe Carimi, Stephen Paea, Chris Conte
- 2010- Major Wright, Corey Wootton and probably J’Marcus Webb
- 2009- Henry Melton, D.J. Moore, Johnny Knox (unfortunate)
- 2008- Chris Williams, Matt Forte, Earl Bennett
- 2007- Greg Olsen, Dan Bauzin, Garrett Wolfe
The Super Bowl Foundation
- 2006- Danieal Manning, Devin Hester and Mark Anderson
- 2005- I guess Cedric Benson and Kyle Orton featuring Chris Harris
- 2004- Tommie Harris, Tank Johnson, Bernard Berrian and Nathan Vasher
- 2003- Michael Haynes (HA! JK), Rex Grossman, Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs
- 2002- Alex Brown andddd that’s about it
- 2000- Brian Urlacher and Mike Brown and a bunch of other players that never mattered outside of maybe Paul Edinger
Just a Whole Lotta Poop-di-Scoopty
- 1999- Cade McNown, Marty Booker, Rosevelt Colvin/Jerry Azumah
- 1998-Curtis Enis, Tony Parrish, Olin Kreutz and the great Patrick Mannelly
- 1997 through 1987- Marcus Robinson, Bobby Engram Curtis Conway and a whole lotta LOL
Those are the best of the best. The Crème de la Crème of Halas Hall.
Perhaps this is a normal thing that happens to normal teams outside of the Patriots bubble. There are hits and misses and reaches and busts from GM’s and scouting departments that decide to get too cute during their small windows of contention (something the Bears know all too well). But reread those names again. That’s all the Bears got. It’s a dark and twisted story that provides you with the road map through the charter franchise of the NFL’s inability to remain a consistent factor in the NFC. It’s no wonder why they have only been to the playoffs nine times (five of them coming before Y2K) and only ONE Super Bowl appearance in that span.
That’s why its such a weird and exciting thing to believe that the Bears now have a day one starting linebacker built like Patrick Willis, a young guard with a Marshall Yanda ceiling and a wideout that wants to be the next Steve Smith.
Just like the foundation that was set up in the early 2000’s, Pace is creating his very own right in front of our eyes. Despite the fair share of heat for his free agent acquisitions and developmental projects that he’s selected, Pace has finally arrived. Given the roster that was handed over to him after the Phil Emery/Marc Trestman experiment and being forced into a head coach at the hands of Bears ownership and Ernie Accorsi, the sheer fact that the Bears are at the point where the playoffs are a real and obtainable goal in 2018 is nothing short than brilliant (Mike Glennon, Antrel Rolle, Kevin White and Markus Wheaton be damned).
Ryan Pace is writing a whole new book now. For the first time since 1985, the Bears have a quarterback, a head coach, a defensive coordinator and a roster full of front end talent AND the necessary depth to simultaneously fire on all cylinders.
This isn’t going to be like 2005, where Lovie Smith’s defense was forced to win games despite a wart of an offense. This is different. This is the beginning of a contender that has been built to succeed in all three phases of the game.
What a weird and exciting thing to even consider.