The big question on everybody’s mind going into this 2019 draft is who does Ryan Pace have in mind for the 87th pick? There are plenty of theories. Some think he’ll attempt to trade up for a player he covets. Largely because that’s something he tends to do a lot. Others think he might try to move back to acquire more picks.

Most importantly they just want to know who that first pick will be at #87.

There is no way of knowing for sure, but here’s an even more interesting question. What would previous Chicago Bears GMs likely do with that pick? It’s a fascinating exercise in getting into the heads of those who gained the job before and ended up losing it for one reason or another.

I decided to explore the current draft class, determine who would likely be available late in the 3rd round where the Bears will pick and then single out the prospects who fit each GM going back the previous four decades.

Chicago Bears GMs and their likely choices at 87th overall

Phil Emery – Sheldrick Redwine, DB, Miami

Emery loved to target players who had sort of “tweener” traits with standout athleticism. Specifically, safeties who also had backgrounds as corners. Brandon Hardin was one such example. It would be no surprise for him to zero in on Redwine. The Miami defensive back started as a corner in college but was moved to safety. His physical style would appeal to Emery.

Jerry Angelo – KeeSean Johnson, WR, Fresno State

Angelo had a certain methodology. He would normally target defense in the 1st round and then used Day 2 to bolster the offense. Wide receiver was a favorite option of his in the 3rd round, especially ones with good hands and quickness. Johnson stands out in both areas and also comes from Fresno State. The same school as another Angelo receiver: Bernard Berrian.

Mark Hatley – Dru Samia, OG, Oklahoma

Hatley had plenty of problems in the 1st round for most of his career as the de factor Bears GM, but he was surprisingly good in the 3rd round. He loved drafting offensive linemen there, specifically guards and centers. Hatley wanted guys who were tough, strong, nasty, and leaders. Like Olin Kreutz. Samia demonstrated all of those traits during his time at Oklahoma.

Rod Graves – Dexter Williams, RB, Notre Dame

Graves didn’t last long in the GM role from 1993 to 1996, but he did develop an interesting tell in the middle rounds. He loved targeting player from Notre Dame. Not a surprise given how good of a find Jim Flanigan was. Williams was a breakout player for the Irish last season. A good-sized running back with vision, power, and decent versatility.

Bill Tobin – Joe Jackson, DE, Miami

Tobin wasn’t overly favorable to either offense or defense in the 3rd round during his time running the draft room. However, he did like trying to secure pass rushers around that time, grabbing two across five drafts. Both had a lot in common. They were bigger with physical upside but had rather modest sack production in college. This description fits Jackson perfectly.

Jim Finks – Andy Isabella, WR, Massachusetts

The great Finks himself probably had the greatest misfire of his career in the 3rd round back in 1979, passing on Joe Montana in favor of a running back. Wide receiver was probably the position he had the most consistent success with guys like Brian Baschnagel and Ken Margerum. Isabella could be viewed as a combination of the two with Baschnagel’s speed and Margerum’s talent for playing in the slot.