After the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft, three things were certain for the Chicago Bears.
General manager Ryan Pace went with players who will make an impact in the future, disregarded adding day-one defensive starters, which ultimately, sealed head coach John Fox’s fate.
Of those five players drafted, four are on offense. An interesting decision considering that the consensus of experts declared this draft as being dominated by defensive talent. But Pace wasn’t looking for this rookie class to hit the field right away, like his first two. Instead, he bought himself and the 2017 class time to develop into something special down the road.
As for Fox, his time in Chicago could be coming to an end.
The Bears will sit first-round pick Mitch Trubisky close to (if not) an entire season. Division two players, Adam Shaheen tight end from Ashland and Kutztown offensive linemen Jordan Morgan, will have to adjust to the competition in the NFL. Alabama safety Eddie Jackson, the only defensive player drafted, will have to stay healthy to compete for a starting job, which he struggled to do in college. North Carolina AT&T running back, Tarik Cohen or “The Human Joystick”, is listed at 5-foot-6, and will have to compete with Chicago’s backfield of Jordan Howard, Jeremy Langford, Ka’Deem Carey and Benny Cunningham.
None of these players are “day-one contributors” and need time to develop, something Fox doesn’t have time for. After finishing last season, a franchise worst, 3-13, Bears fans most likely will be asking for Fox’s resignation papers if he doesn’t turn around the program in 2017. Historically, the 16-tenure head coach has been known to turn programs around in his second year of coaching. That being the case with Carolina and Denver. But that obviously wasn’t the case last season, due in part to the cataclysmic number of injuries the Bears sustained.
This upcoming season will also prove to be difficult to rebound. Regardless if Fox told the media he was pleased with this draft class, deep down, he probably would have liked to see more defensive talent.
Before the Bears traded back in the second-round to acquire Shaheen, they had the opportunity to draft their fair share of quality defensive backs. All could have competed for a starting job this upcoming season. Names like Florida’s cornerbacks Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor, Texas A&M safety Justin Evans, or Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu, could have been added to the defense.
It also doesn’t help that Fox lost his top two offensive weapons in Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery. Now, he is forced to work with bridge quarterback Mike Glennon and an assortment of unproven receivers. Fox isn’t in a situation that is ideal for someone who needs to win now to secure his job.
To make matters worse, the first quarter of the Bears 2017 season will begin at home against the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, then they will travel to Tampa Bay, return home to play Pittsburgh and end in Green Bay.
It’s certain that Fox will coach the Bears next season, but for how long? That is still up the air.