Coming out of the draft the only picks I liked were Montgomery and Denmark (first and last). Yeah, there were reduced number of picks and Pace traded up to get Montgomery. Unfortunately Pace seemed to buy into the hype that the Bears were deep enough so that they could go just by player rankings rather than need.» Round 3: (No. 73 overall) David Montgomery, RB, 16 games/8 starts.
» Round 4: (No. 126) Riley Ridley, WR, 5 games/0 starts.
» Round 6: (No. 205) Duke Shelley, CB, 9 games/0 starts.
» Round 7: (No. 222) Kerrith Whyte, RB, 0 games/0 starts (now with Steelers); (No. 238) Stephen Denmark, CB, 0 games/0 starts.
Notable rookie FA signings: Jesper Horsted, TE, 6 games/1 start.
Filice: Beyond the well-documented quarterback issue, the biggest culprit behind Chicago's unexpectedly blah season was the offensive line. Bears GM Ryan Pace openly acknowledged the unit's shortcomings in his end-of-season press conference: "We struggled in that area this year -- that's real." And therein lies the problem in evaluating the rookie campaign of Montgomery, whose yards-per-carry mark (3.7) left a lot to be desired. But honestly, Chicago's O-line hung Montgomery out to dry pretty routinely -- and obviously, opposing defenses weren't too worried about getting burned by the Mitchell Trubisky-led passing game on a snap-by-snap basis. Montgomery did his best to overcome these adverse circumstances, breaking the eighth-most tackles in the NFL (47) -- which is how he finished second among all rookies in both rushing yards (889) and rushing touchdowns (6). Besides Montgomery's production, the Bears didn't get much of anything out of the rookie class. This isn't all that surprising, considering Chicago made just five selections last April, with Montgomery being the only player taken before Day 3 of the draft. Coming out of Georgia, Ridley was advertised as a polished route runner -- like his brother, Calvin -- but he couldn't even crack the game day roster until Week 13. Adding insult to ineffectiveness: The very next two wideouts selected after Ridley -- Hunter Renfrow and Darius Slayton -- provided significant Year 1 contributions.
This isn't a BPA vs Need debate, just that the picks between the first and last were poor. Ridley had to be the highest ranked player left on the board yet the Bears had someone very similar on the roster in Wims. Shelley is awright but I don't see starter potential in him yet. Was Whyte insurance in case Cohen was unavailable? He gone.
With Long coming back and supposedly healthy Burton/Shaheen ready for the season opener, the Bears were set and could draft for depth. It's hindsight but Pace could have chosen TE and OL in those middle picks. Hindsight, but now the Bears are missing another potential season of "cheap" rookie contracts.
Hope Pace can make some solid choices with the 2 second rounders.