The Chicago Bears are not far off from being a playoff team. How many games were the Bears one score away from winning this past year but were unable to finish because of self-inflicted mistakes?
The Answer: Too many to count.
The Bears still need good football players at a number of spots, which is why it is of utmost importance that they go after the best player available with every pick they have in the draft.
To be successful next year Ryan Pace is probably going to need to produce three strong contributors in the first four rounds, and hopefully, someone who alters an opponent’s gameplan with the eighth overall pick.
While players like Danny Trevathan are very solid, he simply does not change the game just by being there and he could use some help on the inside.
The same can also be said for players like Jordan Howard, Adrian Amos, and Kyle Fuller (if they decide to re-sign him). Again, all very good players in their own right but they are not guys an opponent has to devote an entire game plan around.
Some might argue Howard is close, but his inconsistency catching the football and not being a threat in the passing game, prevents him from reaching that elite tier of running backs.
Frankly, the Bears are not in a position to ignore the best available player due to a talent gap at multiple positions.
Who is a good example of the best player available method?
The Bears should look no further than the 2017 draft approach of Pace’s former employer, the New Orleans Saints. It has been said that the Saints had first-round grades on their first four draft picks all of whom started and played a significant role in their resurgence.
If this means taking a player like Saquon Barkley then I think the Bears should go for it. I understand some fans will think I am nonsensical for suggesting such a thing, but the Saints are a good example of exactly how well having two great running backs can work.
If we are to hope Mitchell Trubisky will be the quarterback to lead the Bears to relevance, he needs to be surrounded by capable players. They need guys who can contribute immediately. That can be done by drafting playmakers that can instantly help regardless of their position.
Good coaches will make use of any and all good players that a general manager gives them. Matt Nagy and new offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich have both been described as creative coaches who I think could make a running back trio of Howard, Barkley, and Tarik Cohen extremely effective.
I promise you that Nagy would be ecstatic if Pace drafted a threat like Barkley. So why shouldn’t fans feel the same way? Vic Fangio would likely be just as giddy about Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds even if he is labeled by some as solely an “off-ball linebacker.” Also, one would think a talented and smart coordinator like Fangio could find ways to utilize him as a pass rusher or blitzer.
Chicago is in a position to get a very good player with their first pick as four of the seven teams in front of the Bears are in need a franchise quarterback and there is only one quarterback of that caliber that is going to be available via free agency in Kirk Cousins.
Assuming one of those four teams sign him, that still leaves three teams that will likely draft a quarterback amongst the Browns, Giants, Broncos and Jets.
Because of this, there is a decent chance the Bears can get a top-five overall player when on the clock.
That first pick though is just one of seven that the Bears currently have, and their method of operation needs to remain the same for every pick: Best Player Available.
BPA. Building through the draft will not work any other way.