Say this about GM Ryan Pace. The man has a particular style when it comes to running a draft and he’s never deviated from it. He’s nothing if not consistent. When it comes to the draft, he is much more about quality than quantity. If he senses a player with special talent is within reach, he’s going to go up and get them. That was once again exemplified by his big jump from #20 to #11 for Justin Fields.
Many felt Pace wouldn’t have the gut to move up for another quarterback. Not after what happened with Mitch Trubisky. He’d much more likely just stay put and try to take the best player he could. To his credit, Pace again demonstrated undeniable courage to be bold. Giving up a 5th round pick along with their 1st and 4th round picks in 2022, the Bears jumped up for their quarterback of the future.
That doesn’t sit well with some people.
While they’re happy about getting a quarterback, some just can’t stomach what the Bears had to give up to do it. This method means they will end up going three out of four years without a pick in the 1st round. It’s difficult to build a good roster under such conditions. One current NFL GM though didn’t even flinch when Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune asked him about it.
“The Bears did good,” one GM said via text. “Who cares (what they traded) if they got it right. Time will tell but I would have done the exact same thing. Fields should have gone second.”
That is the reality, isn’t it? If the Bears got themselves a franchise quarterback, nobody will remember what they gave up to get him. Quarterbacks can change the outlook of an organization for a decade or more. After watching other teams enjoy this perk for so long, Chicago is desperate to have that feeling as well. Fields has the caliber of talent that is well worth the risk they just took.
Justin Fields may not be the only highlight of this draft
It could end up being the one everybody remembers it for, but the Bears didn’t waste time trading up again in the 2nd round. One player they were stunned had called out of the 1st was Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins. When he saw the array of teams coming up that could be in line to take him, Pace felt the urgency to act. Chicago moved up in a deal with Carolina to snag the 39th pick and grabbed what many felt was the fourth-best tackle in the entire draft. A player that experts were certain should’ve gone in the 1st.
Pace himself agreed, saying after the end of Day 2 the Bears had a 1st round grade on him. One of the cardinal rules of acquiring quarterbacks is building the proper infrastructure around them to ensure the maximum possibility for success. It starts with protection. If Jenkins lives up to his athletic potential, then Justin Fields has one bookend tackle set for the next 8-10 years. That is smart GMing by Pace.
Now it falls to head coach Matt Nagy.
He must succeeds where previous Bears coaches have failed. Ensuring the long-term success of his quarterback. Fields will likely start his career on the bench sitting and learning behind Andy Dalton. This isn’t a bad approach by Chicago. Dalton is a quality veteran with years of proven experience that Fields can learn from. If he’s a sponge on the sideline, he’ll be well-prepared when his time comes.