The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Bears, who according to Kiper got an ‘B+’ for their collection of players over the two days.
Let’s face it: Mitchell Trubisky didn’t have a great rookie year. There’s a reason John Fox is out and Matt Nagy is in. Nagy, who coached under Andy Reid in Kansas City, is an innovative offensive mind, and his first job is to get the best out of Trubisky. That means adapting the offense to his strengths. For GM Ryan Pace, the best way to help Trubisky is to get him some weapons, and that’s clearly what was addressed this offseason with free-agent deals for pass-catchers Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel. Pace even brought in kicker Cody Parkey to get some points on the board. I believe in Trubisky’s talent — if he’s put in the right situation. And now the situation is much better for him to have a productive 2018.
To continue the theme of helping Trubisky, the Bears added James Daniels (pick 39), my second-ranked center who could play guard next to Cody Whitehair, and moved up to grab the draft’s most underrated receiver in Anthony Miller (51). It was a lot to give up — a 2019 second-round pick and a fourth-rounder this year — but Miller will play early and often. The former walk-on had 96 catches and 18 touchdowns in 2017.
Like I said after Thursday night, I didn’t expect Roquan Smith to be on the board at No. 8, and he’s going to become the face of the Bears defense. He’s not built like Brian Urlacher, but he’s a sure tackler and sideline-to-sideline linebacker. He’s also going to be a leader on an improving — and young — defense. Joel Iyiegbuniwe (115) is a hybrid defender who will make an impact on special teams. Kylie Fitts (181) had trouble with injuries at Utah, but he can play a role as a situational edge rusher.
This isn’t a perfect class — and that 2019 second-round pick sure could have come in handy for a rebuilding team — but I like the players, and the biggest needs were all filled. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/8 Roquan Smith OLB GEORGIA
2/39 James Daniels C IOWA
2/51 Anthony Miller WR MEMPHIS
4/115 Joel Iyiegbuniwe OLB WESTERN KENTUCKY
5/145 Bilal Nichols DT DELAWARE
6/181 Kylie Fitts DE UTAH
7/224 Javon Wims WR GEORGIA