Stay Put and Pick Already

Several factors combine to make this a difficult year for the Bears to slide around in the draft to acquire players they've pinpointed as targets
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It seems Bears general manager Ryan Pace hasn't yet found a draft capable of pinning him down to make a pick.

On draft day he's a bit like a slippery quarterback who can slide out of the pocket to one side or the other and get off a throw before the rush arrives. He moves and darts around, and has made 11 draft day trades to date in order to get his man or extra picks.

If Pace does something like this in Round 1 again, it could benefit the Bears in a few ways.

However, this draft holds real dangers for the Bears in terms of a first-round trade because of several factors.

1. Trading up costs too much this year

Moving up in Round 1 always comes at a premium but this year the rush to get in line for a quarterback drives the price way up.

If the first four picks get spent on quarterbacks, the opportunity to take the fifth quarterback becomes cherished in a year when the consensus is there are five first-round quarterbacks.

Teams know this and will try to extort extra picks if they move down from somewhere in the top half of Round 1.

When San Francisco overpaid with three first-round picks and a third-round pick to move up to No. 3 from 12, it also set a precedent and made it difficult for future teams trying to move up.

2. Sharks-infested waters

If the Bears move up for a quarterback, they might need to move way up and surrender too many picks because there are sharks everywhere looking for a quarterback or to pilfer picks from a team desperate to find a quarterback.

Denver, Washington and New England all need quarterbacks and pick ahead of the Bears. Atlanta might use No. 4 on a quarterback and a few other teams could benefit, as well.

Conversely, if they have identified the sixth quarterback of Round 1 as someone who many think will be a second-round pick, they could conceivably trade back in Round 1 to take him. For instance, if they wanted Stanford's Davis Mills, taking him at No. 20 seems a bit of a reach and going back could net some picks while letting them get a quarterback.

How far back do you go is the question. It doesn't look like they actually can go back far if a quarterback is their aim.

There are sharks behind them, as well. New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay all could have a need and it's possible they have decided something similar about the talents of Mills, Kellen Mond or even Kyle Trask.

3. Fourth-round pain

Not having a fourth-round pick limits maneuverability. They have four real needs and can't address them with a pick in each of the first four rounds, when talent is still sufficient to expect a rapid, positive return.

Also, if they felt the need to move up early and use a second- or third-round pick as inducement, they are hurt even more by not being able to draft in Round 4. They'd have to sit forever to pick until No. 5 and watch players go off the board.

It's no fun to sit and wait while everyone else is making picks. Last year they had to sit from No. 50 all the way until No. 155 in the fifth round before picking again, and the wait should have been even longer except Pace traded away this year's fourth-rounder so he could take Trevis Gipson at No. 155.

Now, not having that fourth-round pick hurts them in so many ways and restricts their draft mobility. 

4. Needs

In some other drafts, Pace went in with needs but usually had addressed all or almost all of their potential need spots with a veteran free agent or they had someone who had real potential to fill the role already on their roster.

There are holes this year that Pace couldn't sufficiently address in free agency because pandemic caused a shortfall in league funds and led to a reduced salary cap.

As a result, they're under pressure to fill those and moving around in the draft by trading away picks would seem like a good way not to get those holes filled.

Slot cornerback is one spot. Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley showed some abilities last year after Buster Skrine's concussion, but didn't prove enough to convince anyone they're the next Bryce Callahan. It's possible they could attempt to put Tre Roberson there, as well. He's the cornerback who had 10 CFL interceptions but then couldn't play last year due to an off-season training injury. However, playing slot isn't really his thing.

There's another hole at right tackle. Giving Germain Ifedi $5 million for one year wasn't necessarily the answer. They acquired him to be a guard, not a tackle. Elijah Wilkinson was added but is more of a swing tackle and backup guard than a starting tackle. They have an actual need for a right tackle taken somewhere early in the draft, preferably no later than Day 2.

For the first time since his first draft in 2015, Pace might finally have found a draft where he has to simply sit still and take the best player at the spot instead of juking and sliding and moving.

Then again, if he can move down for extra picks after Round 1 without damaging his chance of finding a targeted player, it's always possible to find answers to plug some of the roster holes the Bears face much like they did last year in Round 5 with Darnell Mooney, Kindle Vildor and Trevis Gipson.

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