Postdraft analysis of Bears draft picks continues to paint general manager Ryan Pace as the guy who picked everyone's pocket while they dozed.
The post-draft grades said the Bears did well, the continued praise shows they may have excelled.
Never since the Bears actually reinstituted the position of general manager with the 2000 hiring of Jerry Angelo has there been a draft where they had the word "steal" used so often in assessing their draft picks — that is, unless it was someone robbing them blind.
Then came Pace's first day and his move up to take Justin Fields naturally drew both shock and awe from those who have become accustomed to seeing reaches or trades up for Mitchell Trubisky.
The praise of Pace didn't stop with Fields and Round 1. The later rounds and the move up to take Round 2 tackle Teven Jenkins after he had been labeled first-round material added on to the excessive praise
Trade Up in Round 1 for Justin Fields
PFF has labeled Fields one of the steals of the draft in its article by Timo Riske about steals and reaches.
PFF's big board had Fields ranked No. 3, so for him to fall to 11 is as big a drop as Round 1 picks go.
Appropriately, it was similar to when Patrick Mahomes lasted from the second pick when the Bears took Mitchell Trubisky, to the 10th pick after Kansas City traded up. The Bears can only pray it ends up with the same result.
Bleacher Report's Alex Ballentine said the move up and then landing Fields went beyond shocking, considering the Bears were facing the 20th pick with the top five quarterbacks expected to be gone by No. 7.
"In other words, there was no reason for Chicago Bears fans to be excited about the quarterback position," Ballentine wrote.
Ballentine listed several other teams who looked the other way as Fields dropped to where the Giants were positioned, making the deal possible.
"The phrase "highly unlikely" doesn't do it justice," Ballentine said.
PFF's Anthony Treash called the move up in Round 2 another act of genius when the Bears took Jenkins. PFF had a first-round grade on him.
"He is going to put guys into the turf from Day 1 in the NFL ranks," Treash wrote.
ESPN's Mel Kiper called Jenkins a "plug-and-play tackle" at No. 39 overall.
"In fact, I thought Chicago could take Jenkins at No. 20 overall, before the team traded up to take quarterback Justin Fields," Kiper said.
Lorenz Leinweber of NFL Draft Bible placed Jenkins among his five players taken late than they should have been taken.
"On tape, Jenkins looks like an NFL starting tackle with his technique, patience and mean streak," Leinweber wrote.
Late-Round Treasure Trove
The sixth-round picks went beyond the "late value" classification.
Especially if PFF's grades mean anything, the Bears turned Round 6 into an old fashioned stage coach robbery. Writing for ESPN, Mike Renner of PFF pointed to the grades his website had on both running back Khalil Herbert and cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. and saw a Bears gold rush.
PFF had Herbert as a third-round talent and Renner said everyone saw what Herbert could do with 9.2 yards per carry before getting fed up with playing second fiddle at Kansas to Pooka Williams and transferring to Virginia Tech.
"Herbert's 2020 breakout was no fluke," Renner concluded, pointing out Herbert had 1,172 yards rushing when he finally got a chance to shine, and averaged 4.7 yards per carry after contact.
PFF had Graham graded as a third-round cornerback and he went 228.
"He should be a fantastic fit in a Chicago defense that will be bursting with Fangio's influence under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai," Renner said.