Everybody should know the situation by now. Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears have no 1st or 2nd round picks courtesy of the Khalil Mack and Anthony Miller trades last year. The GM said he’ll be content to watch their highlights while those two rounds pass by. It doesn’t mean he plans to phone in this draft though. If anything he feels even more pressure.
Every draft is important to the future of a football team. Just because he doesn’t pick until the 3rd round and only has five selections doesn’t mean he’ll take this one less seriously. However, it doesn’t change the fact that his odds of landing multiple good players are long.
That may be why he has plans to alter his normal strategy from previous years. Not in regards to the draft itself, but for what comes after in undrafted free agency.
Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears have a good track record on UDFA market
Based on previous track record, signing 18 to 20 undrafted players this year would be far and away a career-high for Pace during his time in Chicago. Before then he has never gone above 15 during the previous four offseasons he was in charge.
- First year – 15
- Second year – 10
- Third year – 10
- Fourth year – 15
The reason this is significant is two-fold. One is the fact that the Bears have a strong history during that span on the undrafted market. Bryce Callahan became a standout starter at nickel corner. Cameron Meredith went over 800 yards in his second season before that knee injury. Roy Robertson-Harris is an underrated defensive lineman in their rotation.
Pace has done a good job at finding hidden gems. Far better than his predecessors.
Then there’s the fact that the Bears have been more active than normal at meeting and interviewing potential prospects who might go undrafted. Of the 28 known college players they met with privately to this point, 10 of them stand at least a reasonable chance of not hearing their names called.
This would give the Bears a significant advantage over other teams, knowing that they made their interest clear from the beginning with one of their precious 30 available visits. Players tend to remember stuff like that, and Pace was smart enough to use it to his advantage.