Bears GM Ryan Pace made it known that the Bears staff were to stick to the philosophy of “best player available.”
The Bears made five selections in this year’s NFL draft, four of them being offensive players. The Bears made a splash right away, trading up one spot to draft their QB in Mitchell Trubisky. Then, the Bears preceded to draft 3 non-FBS players out of their final four picks. A big question mark from the Bears but we cannot judge the picks just yet.
Now, lets take a look at Pace’s third draft and breakdown the potential that every players possesses.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB North Carolina
The Bears drafted who they believe will be their franchise QB. While Trubisky will learn behind Mike Glennon and the rest of the QBs this season, Trubisky has the tools to be a great QB in the NFL. We will not know for sure until he gets under center for Chicago but, Pace decided on Trubisky one month before the draft so he’s the guy. Want to know more on Trubisky, read my last piece here: “It’s going to be a perfect fit.” Bears have a new Face of the Franchise in Mitchell Trubisky.
Adam Shaheen, TE Ashland Round 2, Pick 13(45)
The Bears owned the 36th pick in the 2nd round, but traded down nine spots to draft Adam Shaheen, a 6-6 278lb tight-end from Ashland, a Division II school. Nicknamed “Baby Gronk,” Shaheen caught 57 passes for 867 yards and 16 TD’s in his final season at Ashland, a single season record for D-II TE’s. “Any small school player we watch, we really want to see him dominate the level of competition and this guy definitely did that,” said Pace. “Great character, high football intelligence, strong work ethic, and what stands out for a guy with his size, his athleticism jumps out.”
A Division II TE…really? Was he really the best player available at 45th overall? Pace thought so. We have to wait until he puts together a solid amount of snaps in the NFL. But from the college tape, he dominated the field. Even at his size, he’s quick and can separate from defenders in the open field. Also, his big frame will create mis-matches against defenses.
Many believe it will take him awhile to adjust to the pro game, longer than those of Division I caliber. And yeah, it might. Everyone is going to have to adjust to the pro game. But the upside and raw talent is there. Trubisky needs targets and a 6-6 TE is a great place to start.
Eddie Jackson, S Alabama Round 4, Pick 5 (112)
A captain at Alabama, Jackson is a leader through his character and his play. In 2015, Jackson had 6INTs earning him first-team All-SEC. Jackson returned for his senior season and broke his leg midway through the 2016 campaign. His one INT in 2016 was returned for a touchdown. “When I get the ball in my hands, I feel like I turn into a receiver,” Jackson said. Honestly, I don’t think about going out of bounds or think about going down. I think about touchdowns.”
The Bears traded up to grab Jackson in the fourth round and it totally makes sense. Jackson is an amazing athlete with unbelievable range and speed. A “ball hawk” as people say, and Jackson fits that mold. His ability to break on the football produced the high takeaway rate. Along with his instincts, Jackson could be the deep FS in your defense and really excel at the position.
Along with his impact at the safety position, Jackson returned punts at Alabama. Last season, Jackson took two returns for touchdowns. He could see the return duties right away because he is a guy that needs to be on the field.
I really liked this pick. Jackson is a great player and will be an impact from day one. The Bears safety position has been inconsistent over the past couple years. There has not been a consistent starter in quite some time. If Jackson is at full strength, I could see him being the starting FS come Week one, he is that good of a player.
Tarik Cohen, RB North Carolina A&T Round 4, Pick 13(119)
Tarki Cohen, aka “The Human joystick” stands at 5-6, 179lb, but do not let his size fool you. Cohen has raw speed and his shiftiness is off the charts.
Overall, it was not much of a shock the Bears went RB in Rd 4. The Bears have Jordan Howard, but Cohen brings a whole different skill-set to the Bears. Howard is more of your drop you shoulder runner. For Cohen, its the opposite. He is going to beat you with speed and change of direction. Pace refereed to him as a “juke” player, who can bring different things to the table.
Cohen is a “change of pace guy.” A threat out of the backfield will be hard to matchup with. There are a lot of ways the four time all-conference selection could be used in the Bears offense. I could see him being used on quick-screens and swing passes, putting him in space and letting him go to work. And a guy his size and speed, of course he will be compared to Darren Sproles. I like what Cohen brings to the table and will give the offense a different dimension.
Jordan Morgan, OL Kutztown Round 5: Pick 3(147)
A four year starter at tackle in college, Morgan was on the North team at the Senior Bowl, the team the Bears staff coached. And the Bears were obviously pleased with what they saw. “I actually really liked the staff a lot,” Morgan said. “Going into the Senior Bowl I didn’t really know exactly what to expect. But I felt like I hit it off with coach Washburn and them right off the bat. They are really humble down-to-earth guys and offered advice whenever they could.”
Projected to play guard at the NFL level, the 6-3 309 pounder will be able to learn behind some of the best guards in the game, Josh Sitton and Kyle Long. Watching one on one drills from the Senior Bowl, Morgan has good feet and leverage. His strength allows him to finish blocks, something I like to call a pancake. You can never have enough o-linemen and the Bears got younger with the addition of Morgan.
At a quick glance, its not what you probably expected. The Bears went the road less traveled and took multiple players at the D-II level. It wasn’t about the school or level for Fox, he had a certain approach to evaluating prospects. The “Bears Box” checks all the boxes in the locker room and the field. “Only had about 20 or 30 of those on our board.” And the Bears draftees who had a “Bears Box” on the draft board, Trubisky and Shaheen.
The Bears drafted offense-heavy and Pace explained it as it just “fell that way for them.” And, he kept going back to the best available as well. I see the potential the Bears staff sees in these players. It will be a couple of seasons before we can truly evaluate this class but right now, it is a big question mark.
My grade for this Bears draft: C