Is it better to move around in the NFL draft or is it better to stay put? This is something fans have argued over for decades. When teams who move around draft poorly, people say they should’ve just stayed put. When teams stay put and lose out on a great player picked ahead of them, they should’ve moved around. The Chicago Bears have been subject to these discussions like everybody else.
The fun question is does either side of the argument have an advantage? I took to researching the past 10 drafts. The object was simple. Pinpoint every original pick the Bears held going into each draft that they ended up trading away. Then determine which player was selected with that pick.
The idea being does those picks end up forming a better collection of talent than what the Bears ultimately got by moving up or down or trading them away for players? All told, since 2009 the team has trade 32 of their original draft picks. The names acquired by them form a fascinating list.
Original Chicago Bears draft picks that were traded and who they became
- 1st round – Solomon Thomas
- 2nd round – Budda Baker
- 3rd round – Alvin Kamara
- 4th round – Tedric Thompson
- 6th round – Elijah McGuire
- 7th round – Shalom Luani
- 5th round – Lamin Barrow
- 7th round – Nate Frees
- 2nd round – Daniel Thomas
- 4th round – Rashad Carmichael
It’s hard not to avert the eyes on some of these revelations. The 2009-2010 window is particularly painful as the Bears could’ve ended up with two Pro Bowl players in Unger and Wallace and then a future Hall of Famer in Gronkowski. Then there’s a sizable lull from 2011 to 2016 where they really don’t miss out on anybody special.
Then things flared up again the past two years with Baker and Kamara both becoming Pro Bowlers. The question is would this list of players have been enough to carry the team through the past 10 years to substantial success along with the other original picks the Bears actually used? Well given none of those other picks involved a quarterback, it’s hard to give too favorable an answer.
Odds are they would’ve been better during the down years between 2014 and 2017 with a playoff appearance or two. However, they likely would’ve been stuck in the same quagmire the team was in from 1986 to 2010. Talented rosters at the mercy of average quarterbacks.