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Grading the Bears 2019 Draft: Ryan Pace Makes a Few More Bold Moves

The most exciting three days of the NFL offseason have come and gone. Now, we can start dreaming of training camp at the end of summer.

The most exciting three days of the NFL offseason have come and gone. Now, we can start dreaming of training camp at the end of summer.

For the Chicago Bears, the 2019 NFL Draft had a different feel to it. The team was coming off making their first postseason since 2010. With a 12-4 record in 2018, the expectation for 2019 and probably 2020, are Super Bowl or bust.

For whatever reason, it feels like people either really like what the Bears did or hate it. Similar to the 2017 draft, and we all know how that turned out.

Thanks to the Khalil Mack trade (thank you Jon Gruden), the Bears did not have a pick in the first two rounds. Instead, many realized that the Bears already had a first and second round pick on their roster in Mack and WR Anthony Miller, who Ryan Pace traded up for last April.

It felt like we had to wait forever for the Bears to be on the clock, which is fine by me. This is the price of having a good football team and a future Hall of Famer on defense.

Here, I will grade each pick the Bears made in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Grading Scale: 

A – Teams filled a need and took one of the best players available.

B – Team may have not filled an immediate need, but did get some kind of value with their pick.

C – Team used pick to select a player that doesn’t fit their system, has injuries issues or was drafted too early.

D – Team drafted a random, not very good player.

F – This is saved for everything the Green Bay Packers do.

Round 3, Pick No. 73: RB David Montgomery 

Everyone knew the Bears would be wise to draft an RB at some point in the 2019 draft. The question was not if, but when the Bears would draft an RB? That question was answered on Friday night when the Bears traded up to take David Montgomery.

It was surprising to see Montgomery still on the board. In the many mock drafts I had seen or done, Montgomery was going well before pick No. 73. Thankfully, he was still there and Pace’s friend Bill Belichick was able to help the Bears out.

For me, Montgomery was the second best RB in this year’s draft class. Why? He can do it all. In other words, he’s a true three-down back. That’s exactly what the Bears are looking for and why they ended up trading Jordan Howard.

You can check out my thread on Montgomery here:

Montgomery reminds me of a cross between Kareem Hunt and Matt Forte. Unlike Hunt, there are no character issues with Montgomery. In fact, there are reports of Montgomery working out until 2 am and demanding success out of his teammates. Hell, he was working out during the draft. That’s the kind of players the Bears want in their locker room.

Heading into camp, the Bears RB depth chart looks something like this:

Montgomery, Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, Ryan Nall, Taquon Mizzell and Kerrith Whyte (who will be in this article later on). 

That’s one hell of a group.

Grade: A 

Round 4, Pick No. 126: WR Riley Ridley 

WR wasn’t much of a need heading into this year’s draft, but if you know Ryan Pace, you know that anything can happen and he kept us guessing by drafting WR Riley Ridley, Calvin Ridley’s brother.

Ridley, who was teammates with WR Javon Wims at Georgia, was expected to go in the second or third round. He ended up going in the fourth, meaning the Bears got a tremendous value with the No. 126 pick in the draft.

With his size and length, Ridley will be primarily on the outside. Similar to Allen Robinson, but he is versatile enough to play in the slot as well. He’s your prototypical Ryan Pace receiver – he catches the ball consistently, has strong hands and is an above average route runner.

Here’s my short thread on Ridley:

Let’s take a look at the Bears’ WR depth chart.

Allen Robinson • Anthony Miller • Taylor Gabriel • Cordarrelle Patterson • Javon Wims • Riley Ridley • Emanuel Hall

Don’t look now, but the Bears have some serious depth on offense at almost every position. Take that to all the people that said they shouldn’t have drafted another WR. You can never have too much depth, people!

Grade: B 

Round 6, Pick No. 205: CB Duke Shelley 

Call me crazy, but this was my favorite pick by the Bears this weekend.

Duke Shelley out of Kansas State can do a little bit of everything. Like Eddie Jackson, his stock dropped because he suffered a toe injury that ended his college season early. He would have gone in the fourth round if he never got injured.

Again, the Bears got great value.

While Shelley played on the outside in college, Pace did say the Bears see him as a slot corner in the NFL. His athletic ability and speed will make him a valuable contributor to an already great defense.

After his toe injury, Shelley ran a 4.46 40 at his Pro Day. Check out more of his film in my thread here:

Shelley will have to contribute to special teams, but his future is to start at slot corner for the Bears.

Grade: B- (The minus is because he’s coming off an injury, there’s always some risk there). 

Round No. 7, Pick 222: RB Kerrith Whyte

Seventh round draft picks are always hit or miss. So, it wasn’t surprising to see Pace bring in another RB. Kerrith Whyte out of FAU is one fast player. He was used well in Lane Kiffin’s system and could be a solid depth piece for the Bears, especially if there’s an injury, which happens often in the NFL.

Whyte ran a 4.36 40 at his Pro Day. Again, the guy is one of the fastest players on the field. The Bears drafted him because they probably wouldn’t have been able to sign him as a UFA. Makes sense and that seems to be the go-to strategy on day three.

Enjoy his highlights below.

Wouldn’t it be a lot of fun to see Whyte get 1-3 touches per game in the Matt Nagy offense?

Grade: B 

Round No. 7, Pick: 238: CB Stephen Denmark

There’s not much on Stephen Denmark, but he is BIG, especially for a corner. At 6-3, 220 pounds Denmark has the size and speed (ran a 4.46 40) to be a corner in the NFL. He’s, by far, one of the most explosive corners in this year’s draft class.

Like Whyte though, he’s not guaranteed to have a roster spot.

Denmark is very raw – he made the switch to CB in 2018. He’s an elite athlete though, which, again, resembles a prototypical Ryan Pace draft pick.

Grade: C

Overall Draft Grade: B+ 

It’s hard to get an A without having any picks in the first two rounds, but the Bears got what they needed to. Their first three picks could be players that play key roles on future teams. By now, we should know that Pace loves to draft high character guys that are elite athletes. He did exactly that this year and that’s why the Bears are in outstanding shape heading into camp.

Other Notes 

  • Stop saying the Bears needed to draft an offensive lineman. Maybe you should figure out who Alex Bars is. Fine, I’ll help you. 

  • After bringing back Aaron Lynch, edge rusher clearly wasn’t a huge concern for the Bears. Could they still use some depth? Yes, but there will be plenty of players available in training camp or after final cuts.  

Nick is the editor-in-chief at TheLoopSports.com & owner of TheChalkTLS.com. He also is a fantasy sports junkie, DFS player, and prop play guru. For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS

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Nick is the editor-in-chief at TheLoopSports.com & owner of TheChalkTLS.com. He also is a fantasy sports junkie, DFS player, and prop play guru. He considers himself a football expert but dabbles in a bit of everything, including trying to sell his own "soul" on eBay. For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS. 

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