Bears Close Roller-Coaster Ride by Taking Two Tackles

Ryan Pace meets some of the needs Bears had by conjuring up draft picks from future years and later rounds.
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By the time the Bears finished their NFL Draft Saturday, general manager Ryan Pace had taken an indirect path to making the same number of picks they had to start the draft.

They just came off at different points. By dealing around and into next year's draft pool, Pace managed to come up with three fifth-round draft picks and no sixth-round picks, which is good considering only one of his sixth- or seventh-round picks has ever started a game—wide receiver Javon Wims.

They still wound up with two seventh-round selections, but they were back to back and with those he addressed a need at offensive tackle by taking two of them. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr., himself a seventh-rounder, will have competition, as will right tackle Bobby Massie.

If anyone doubts the importance of such picks in late rounds they only need to look at last year's Super Bowl. There were two seventh-rounders, a sixth-rounder and an undrafted free agent starting on the offensive lines for those two teams.

At 226 , the Bears drafted Arlington Hambright from Colorado, who is 6-foot-4, 307 pounds. He played 11 games for Colorado last year after an ankle injury cut his 2018 season short at Oklahoma State after five games. 

Hambright was a junior college transfer first to Oklahoma State, then went to Colorado to finish his career. 

Hambright is known for being a quick blocker. Although he didn't go to the combine, he did run a 4.97-second 40-yard dash at a pro day and did 29 reps on the bench. The reps are credible. The times on pro days are always too fast.

 At 227 the Bears drafted Lachavious Simmons from Tennessee State. He is 6-5, 315 and started 12 games in 2019 but just one prior to that season. 

Tennessee State is the same school where the Bears found Richard Dent, and he was an eighth-rounder not a seventh-round pick.

"I was born on a farm, I'm a blue-collar guy who grew up on a farm throwing hay bales, disciplined and I feel like my hard work it can match anybody's."

As for  his playing style, Simmons thinks opponents better bring some tissue paper and ice.

"I'm a bloody-your-nose-type guy on the field and I'm going to work hard," he said.

Prior to the round when teams just take flyers on players, the identifying factor of a Ryan Pace draft had continued, as he saw players up above who he wanted and then found ways to get them.

Whether they're the right players or not remains to be seen, and the same can be said about whether he left too many weak spots exposed on the roster by doing it.

While Pace didn't need to do too much to get the tight end he wanted early in Cole Kmet and the cornerback in Jaylon Johnson, it was going to be more difficult to get required and desired talent later due to lack of draft picks.

So he made his own picks when the desired talent was there.

Pace traded a 2021 pick in Round 4 to get a fifth-round pick that he turned into pass rusher Trevis Gipson.

Some might call this borrowing against the future, but if Gipson develops he could be the player the Bears need to give relief on occasion to Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn.

With speed still absent on the receiver corps, he put together a package deal to get the 173rd pick in Round 5 and was able to draft Tulane's speedy Darnell Mooney, who knows how to say the right things. Mooney didn't want to talk about his speed as much as his route running, which is something all coaches like to hear.

Pace had to give up his two sixth-round picks and a seventh-rounder to do it, and drafted Mooney plus received another seventh-round pick.

The deal was unique because it left the Eagles with the 200th pick. Ironically, they had that pick originally but gave it to the Bears last year for Jordan Howard. Talk about renting a player. The Eagles had him one year, got little from him and now he's in Miami while they have their pick back.

And in the end the Bears have a player they needed, as well, one who can run a 4.38-second 40-yard dash.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven