Ryan Pace is going to turn the Chicago Bears into a winner in 2018

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears Leonard Floyd
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

2016 draft class

In the 2016 draft, the Chicago Bears entered with the 11th pick. Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, Jonathan Bullard, Nick Kwiatkoski, Deon Bush, Deiondre’ Hall, Jordan Howard, DeAndre Houston-Carson and Daniel Braverman made up that draft class.

Pace decided he had to leapfrog the New York Giants, who had the 10th pick in the draft. The Giants were rumored to covet Floyd. It turns out that he would make a similar decision in the 2017 draft, and it’s something I love about Pace. He doesn’t let other teams dictate who he drafts. In other words, he doesn’t leave it up to fate. He creates his own destiny.

Think back to the 2014 NFL draft, which was under the Emery regime. Everyone knows he selected Kyle Fuller with the 14th pick in the draft. Do you know who went with pick 13? Aaron Donald. That’s right, the pro bowl defensive tackle with the Los Angeles Rams. Fuller wasn’t a bad pick, and he is having a good season, but he’s no Aaron Donald. I’ll bet you Emery wanted Donald, but just sat on his hands instead of taking the matter into his own hands and trading up to get an elite player.

Floyd hurt his knee against the Lions and will finish the season with 4.5 sacks. He recorded 7 sacks in 12 games last season.

Whitehair was originally brought into play guard for the Bears, but he shifted over to center after Pace signed Josh Sitton. This season, Whitehair went through a stretch of games where he had trouble snapping the ball from shotgun, but his blocking has never faltered. Not to mention, there have been several games in which Whitehair has had to shift over to guard, due to injuries.

Bullard and Kwiatkoski have shown a lot of promise through two seasons.

Bush and Houston-Carson have proven to become solid special teams players, while Bush has shown some ability at safety. Hall has been hurt much of the last two seasons, so that pick isn’t looking too good right now. Also, Braverman isn’t even on the team anymore.

The crown jewel of this class is Jordan Howard. The running back has turned into a star. He was second in the NFL last season in rushing yards. That’s pretty good for a fifth-round pick.

I also want to say that the decision to let Matt Forte leave in free agency was brilliant. Many fans gave Pace a lot of heat for not bringing him back, but the team was rebuilding and they needed to get younger. Howard is better than Forte and is also a lot cheaper.

So, I’d say that’s a hell of a draft class by Pace.