Chicago Bears: The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Shrine Game offer draft intrigue

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

With the Chicago Bear’s offseason already in full swing, we get an early look at some possible draft targets. 

There is a huge draft disadvantage that the Chicago Bears have and it’s really the first time they’ve had this problem: they lack serious draft capital.

Now, this can obviously be pointed to the Khalil Mack deal and last year’s trade up with New England to get Anthony Miller. Both of those deals worked out favorably and Ryan Pace made it clear last year that they were comfortable with those moves at the time:

"“You’re talking about draft capital and also financial resources you’re giving up, but fortunately we’re in a really good space with our salary cap, and so our roster can handle this right now. We’re a young team with a lot of depth we feel good about. … I think the youth of our team, the depth of our team, the financial health of our team and then getting that second round pick back was important. … When we look at this next draft, right, our first-round pick is Khalil Mack and our next round pick is Anthony Miller. The next draft we have two (second-round picks). I’ll take that. We can do some damage there.”"

Now, just because the Bears lack early round picks, that doesn’t mean this draft stinks. There are plenty of late-round talents that can be real assets for contending teams. Consider all the late round and undrafted gems Pace has uncovered since his first year as GM:

That’s the mark of a special eye for talent. All of the above have contributed in some way, shape, or form over the years and some will be asked to step up in a big way moving forward.

So with only five draft picks this spring, Pace needs to dig into his bag of tricks and really hit on his selections. He’s shown that he’s capable and he no doubt will be looking around in the more obscure areas to do so (something he’s been known to do). Both the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game offer such obscurities.

Plus, new Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano will be the head coach for the ‘American Team’ for the NFLPA Bowl, which can allow the Bears to get a closer look at some possible hidden gems. There’s a good chance we may see one (or more) of these guys suit up for the Bears this training camp.

Hopefully beyond.