I hate myself for it every single year. I loathe every doofus that will be sitting in front of his or her TV watching an event where kids walk across a stage to hug the ultimate villain Roger Goodell and hold up a jersey. What’s even worse is the people who pay an outrageous amount of money to attend this event, sporting their Dick Butkus or Walter Payton jerseys and priding themselves on being true fans. This event is, of course, the NFL Draft, and I will sadly be one of these doofuses sitting on his couch getting fatter by the second and critiquing how a franchises have either set themselves up for success or driven their team into the ground.
Yes, it’s one of the more ‘Merica things I can think of. Drink beer and watch immature kids turn into millionaires just because a team wrote their name on a card and gave it to a doucher (Goodell). It’s reality TV at its finest, and we are essentially a nation that now lives as a giant reality TV show…so it works. If we move past the hodgepodge of ridiculousness that is the draft itself, we get to the meat of the what’s essentially the most important day of the year for NFL GMs. A GM is graded on how successful their team is, and success starts and ends with good or poor drafting.
Ryan Pace only has to look back at the last couple of years to see how quickly failure in the draft can earn you a one-way ticket out of town. Phil Emery will forever be remembered for taking Shea McClellin in the first round, which has turned out quite poorly. Looking at the players drafted after McClellin in the first round is enough to make you throw up. Chandler Jones, David DeCastro, Dont’a Hightower, Harrison Smith, Doug Martin…and that’s just off the top of my head.
Pace has gotten of to an above average start in my book. He found three starters in last year’s draft with Eddie Goldman, Jeremy Langford and Adrian Amos all playing significant time on a bad Bears team last year. The jury is still out on Hroniss Grasu who showed flashes of being capable to play center in the NFL but was simply overpowered against stronger, more vicious players. And then there’s Kevin White. Pace’s grade will really be determined after this season when White (presumably) is healthy and ready to contribute. You can’t ding Pace for White’s injury last year, but you can ding him if White does not perform. The expectations might be a little unfair, after all this will essentially be White’s rookie season, but those are the ropes.
So I ask you, Mr. Pace…which direction are you going in tonight? Will you stick with your mantra of taking the best player available? If that’s the case then the Ezekiel Elliot rumors might be true. But unless he’s going to be Adrian Peterson, I would request that you take a hard pass and draft whatever vicious monster of a pass rusher is available. However, defensive line is the deepest position in this draft, so will you perhaps trade down so one of the teams who need a quarterback can overdraft Paxton Lynch? Maybe you can still get Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell if you’re trading back to the late first round. Taking the hometown kid would be a great way to get the fans fired up, but are you willing to stake your reputation as a player evaluator on him? A wide receiver who has already had a very serious injury? Tonight is one of the biggest nights of your career, and could determine the success or failure of your franchise. I and all of the Bears fans in this wonderful city must ask, Mr. Pace…who ya got?