Pitfalls in the Draft for Bears

Ryan Pace has a real challenge ahead in this draft and some of them are specific to his team's situation while others are common draft day sense — or they should be
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Every draft carries basic challenges coupled with problems specific to a team's particular situation.

In this one, the Bears find the one situation they seem to see more than most or all other teams. They also can't forget the real battles common to every team.

Ryan Pace can't become too consumed with this one problem while forgetting about the others. 

Of course, that one particular situation the Bears always seem to face is finding a quarterback.

Here are the greatest challenges facing Pace as draft week has arrived.

1. Don't Get Robbed

This might seem like a rather defensive posture for a general manager to have except, of course, Pace has a history.

Pace must wear the extra picks he gave up for no reason in 2017 to draft Mitchell Trubisky like a tattoo. It will always be there and the best he can do is make up for it.

It's going to be particularly difficult to avoid those GMs lurking behind every tree this year because it seems even a newborn on the other side of the world knows about Pace's quarterback issue and will be waiting with a one-sided offer to take advantage of a desperate situation.

2. Don't Reach for a QB

This should be one of the most basic concepts because every GM preaches about sticking to their draft board. However,  when you're with a franchise lacking a quarterback since before the Russians had the A-bomb, yes, there can be a tendency to reach for a quarterback.

Pace is only reminded of this any time he looks at the internet or television. Perhaps Mitchell Trubisky had the right idea when he said to shut off the TVs at Halas Hall.

They need to be extremely careful about value, in particular when it comes to Davis Mills. If the fifth quarterback has been taken and it was impossible to move up, then simply drafting the sixth quarterback at No. 20 is a very big leap.

It definitely would mean leaving Mills at risk of being drafted by the Saints, Steelers or any number of teams at the bottom of Round 1, but even more dangerous is the possibility he'd be taken by any number of quarterback-hungry teams who didn't get their need addressed at the top of Round 1 and are in the same position for Round 2.

See Danger No. 1 again in this case. It could happen all over again to the Bears in Round 2 if they decided to move up. There are teams waiting to rob you in Round 2 with a trade up just like in Round 1.

Just like drafting a tackle, a cornerback or a pass rusher, sticking to the board is never a bad thing.

3. Address the Gap

In this draft, the Bears have a selection gap between the 83rd pick and the 164th pick in Round 5. They have the gap because Pace fell in love with Trevis Gipson and had to have him last year, so he gave up this year's fourth-round pick in the fifth round last year.

Considering real needs facing the Bears, their first move after the Round 1 quarterback drama should be addressing this big hole in the middle of their draft. Somehow they need to come up with a pick in the range from 83 to 164 so they can find a way to solve one of these problem areas: cornerback, tackle and wide receiver, assuming they use one of the first two picks for a quarterback.  

They might even need to find the quarterback in this range if they fail to address it earlier. And good luck  putting faith in a late-round quarterback.

Doing this usually means trading down, but Pace has found ways to address gaps like this in the past in a different way.  With no pick last year until Round 5 after his two second-round selections, he traded up with some late picks to acquire an extra fifth-rounder and also got a fifth-rounder by robbing from a future draft. Borrowing from the future is unacceptable unless you're certain about a player, and right now that move to acquire Gipson looks like a waste. The same might not be the case with a player again this year.

But the Bears have four sixth-round picks thanks to the compensatory picks rule. They also have an ace in the hole with Anthony Miller. They could package some of these sixth-rounders and Miller and find a fourth-rounder to help meet their needs.

4. Short-Term Thinking

This can be a real issue in this draft because of the possibility of regime change if the Bears struggle this year. No one has spelled out specifically that this is the case, but the January press conference with Ted Phillips and George McCaskey came about as close as anything to saying they had to win a playoff game.

In the face of such urgency to win, how does a GM balance the need to think long term with draft picks against self-preservation? After all, a rookie quarterback taken after Round 1 is likely to be a non-contributor this year, and even some of those in the group of five in the first round might need time to figure it out. 

The same goes with several other positions. Plug and play is not easy to find anywhere, especially after Round 1.

The offensive line might be the best chance for finding this type of immediate return, along with cornerback. This only goes until the end of Day 2, though. 

5. Collaborate

Remember the magical word, the term Phillips and McCaskey gave to Pace and Matt Nagy which acts like an invisible shield to ward off their detractors for at least this season.  It's their Harry Potter Cloak of Invisibility this year.

As long as they're collaborating on picks, they're golden.

If Pace decides Nagy, coaches and others be damned and he's reaching out to take a player he alone has a strong belief in, it's an invitation for trouble. 

He knows this, though. It shouldn't be a problem after the post-2020 Zoom conference perpetrated by ownership.

6. Find a Quarterback

After all of the other warnings and tenets of the draft, Pace has to do this. It's obvious they're planning it because of all the attention they've paid to the position in the offseason. 

Putting two veteran quarterbacks in place as a bridge naturally leads to the other side, where the young passer has to be. They have to find someone who can be a future.

7. Find a Tackle

Their history of failure and neglect at this position is as real as their problem with quarterback. They've gone through a period of mediocre play at tackle and it seemed entirely acceptable because they'd been used to really bad play.

The position is badly in need of an upgrade for now and for the future.

8. Bring in Some Speed

For three years, they've been operating an offense dependent upon speed at receiver with possession players.

Darnell Mooney was a step in the right direction. Finding even more speed at the slot receiver spot, or even at U-tight end and receiving back have to be possibilities.

They have aging Jimmy Graham at U-tight end, which is a position made for speedier players. Tarik Cohen is coming off an ACL tear and his speed can't be assumed until proven. 

9. Keep the Cap in Mind

This isn't referring to the lower cap this year, but the future. They're not going to have three defensive linemen with big contracts so they need to remember after this season it's going to be difficult to have Akiem Hicks on the roster. 

A few other situations like this exist where the future cap will require a younger player be obtained to play. Inside linebacker, possibly even edge rusher if Robert Quinn is going to do an encore for his 2020 disappearing act.

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