After a hectic four days, Chicago Bears first-year general manager Ryan Pace’s first draft is in the books. Pace identified his needs and took the best players on his board and on paper, and the end result looks good.
The balance of picks is something the team has not seen in some time. Best Player Available was Pace’s plan and it seems as if he did a good job carrying that out.
1st Round: WR Kevin White, West Virginia
After trading away fan-favorite Brandon Marshall at the start of the offseason, Pace identified his man and got him with the help of the Washington Redskins fifth overall selection in Brandon Scherff. In his press conference, Pace claimed to have got his top target.
White’s only two knocks are being a “one-year wonder” and his lack of a complex route tree coming from West Virginia. Other than those two minor issues, White has the highest upside of any receiver in the draft. At 6-3 and with 4.35 speed, he is the ultimate combination of size, speed and overall ability. His best attribute is his ability to high-point each catch.
Overall, White provided good value as he was a Top-5 talent on most evaluator’s boards.
2nd Round: NT Eddie Goldman, Florida State
Pace somehow found a way to get another first-round talent with his second pick. Goldman’s floor is a two-down run stuffer but his potential is much closer to a Vince Wilfork-type impact.
From the start of free agency and leading into the draft, it became evident the team’s focus was on nose tackle over five-technique defensive end. This could mean one of two things: Either they do not value either Jeremiah Ratliff or Ego Ferguson at nose, or they see the tandem as better five-technique/rotational pieces in Vic Fangio’s unit.
Goldman may not begin the year as a full-time starter but his upside outweighs his floor, even in Year 1.
3rd Round: C/G Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
Some saw Grasu as a small reach but he was the top center in the draft class until Cam Erving emerged on the scene. The biggest knock on the former Oregon Duck is his lack of scheme versatility due to his size.
Grasu’s positives more than outweigh his lack of size and versatility. He is a high-character player and a very good addition in the Bears' zone-blocking scheme. He has a great understanding for the game, which should give him have a chance to start from Day 1.
4th Round: RB Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
Langford ran a 4.41 at the combine and may not do anything great but he did tally just under 3,000 yards his last two years. He is also a willing pass protector and pass catcher that can help the team out on third downs this year and can become a strong part of a committee after 2015.
5th Round: FS Adrian Amos, Penn State
Amos comes as good value for a team that was in need of more competition at one of the weakest positions on the roster. Amos plays the ball well, while being positionally and scheme versatile.
The defensive back has played multiple positions over his collegiate career, including cornerback, and should provide good value on special teams as well, especially if he does not start.
6th Round: OL Tayo Fabuluje, TCU
Tayo Fabuluje is an incredible story of an athlete overcoming the worst possible odds to somehow make his dream come true. His father was deported when he was five and his mom was arrested on theft charges and is still in prison. He once weighed close to 400 pounds, worked three jobs at one time and housed his sister all while taking a break after emerging as one of the nation's top rookie left tackles at TCU. He also transferred three times in the process and ended up playing in all 12 games his senior year.
The talent and upside is there, plus he’s 6-6 and around 353 pounds. The biggest question still remains: did the layoff hurt his development? Overall, he has the ability to become a starting offensive lineman in this league, whether that be at guard or tackle, but will probably need a year or two to develop.
Ryan Pace did a great job sticking to his board, especially for a first-year general manager. He filled big needs and grabbed multiple high-character players to add to a once-unstable locker room. Although he did not net any extra picks, Pace made the most of his six selections.
Overall Grade: B
Aaron Leming has years of salary cap knowledge and has written for Rant Sports, Bears Draft On Tap, and Cover 32. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report.