Bears, if anything, go bold in draft
By Andrew Seligman
AP Sports Writer
LAKE FOREST — If their goal was to keep things interesting in the draft, the Chicago Bears sure did succeed.
They made a surprising move to trade up a spot and draft Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 pick and kept the surprises coming after that.
The Bears are banking on some big payoffs, and they have little room for error after finishing last in the NFC North at 3-13.
That’s what made their approach as surprising as it was bold.
They traded draft picks, took chances on players from unheralded programs. And when it came to the most important position on the field, they made sure they got the player they wanted whether it was the right move to make or not.
A strong case could have been made for trading down to add picks rather than move up. In a draft strong on defensive players, the Bears could have gone that way with their first pick and waited a round to take a QB. After all, they signed starter Mike Glennon last month after dumping Jay Cutler.
Instead, general manager Ryan Pace made the move to get Trubisky while reaffirming he is all in on solidifying a traditionally weak spot for the Bears. He insisted he couldn’t afford to wait. He said teams looking to select a quarterback were calling him about the No. 3 pick and were also interested in the second spot.
Pace was also adamant: He didn’t get bluffed into a trade.
“Once you have conviction on a guy, you have to do it,” Pace said. “You have to be aggressive and do it. The comparison for me is always in free agency. You don’t really know. You set a price on a player, whether it’s a financial price or draft picks. And if you have conviction on a player, you go get him. Because the alternative is, you don’t know. Hey, maybe you call the bluff and you miss out on the player. And in this case, I wasn’t willing to take that risk.”
There was more controversy in Round 2 when the Bears traded down with Arizona to take tight end Adam Shaheen with the 45th pick.
He is an NCAA Division II player from Ashland who started out college as a basketball player and weighed only 195 pounds when he left high school. He emerged from college 80 pounds heavier and playing a different sport.
Shaheen wasn’t a complete shock because he was widely regarded among the top five tight ends in the draft, and he was the fourth tight end selected. However, the Bears selected a Division II tight end when they had numerous defensive needs and plenty of available players to fill them. Six defensive backs and three defensive linemen were drafted in the second round after Shaheen.
The Bears added Alabama safety Eddie Jackson — coming back from a broken leg — and 5-foot-6 running back Tarik Cohen in the fourth round. They went with an offensive lineman in the fifth round, drafting guard Jordan Morgan of Kutztown (Pa.).
NEEDS ADDRESSED: The Bears drafted a potential franchise QB and addressed a hole at tight end in the first two rounds.
STILL NEED HELP AT: Safety, cornerback and defensive line all remain concerns for the Bears.
SURE TO START: None.
HOW THEY FIT: If Trubisky develops into a franchise quarterback, the Bears won’t regret the trade.
He’s an apprentice behind Glennon for now. Pace wouldn’t put a timeline on how long Trubisky stays in that role, but his tenure will be defined largely by the QB’s development.
As for Shaheen, Pace doesn’t view him as a developmental project. He sees him as someone who can immediately play.
“I think Adam’s projected to play early,” Pace said. “I like his skill set. We spent a lot of time on that. So, just because he’s a small school player, yeah, it’s a big jump. But, I think he has the physical skill set to make that jump, and we’re confident in that.”