Chicago Bears 2017 NFL Draft retrospective

(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

How should the Chicago Bears feel about their 2017 NFL Draft class after three years? We take a deep dive into it.

Heading into the 2017 season, the Chicago Bears were desperate to make changes. The team had only won nine games in two seasons and was coming off a season of complete chaos. The Chicago Bears only won three games. Ryan Pace decided to move on from Jay Cutler and start moving the Bears into a new direction.

Pace had already started a youth movement for the team and 2017 marked some big changes. Cutler was out the door. Mike Glennon was overpaid to be a stopgap quarterback, and Alshon Jeffrey took his talents to Philly. Pace clearly needed to draft a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft but the question was who?

Original Grade

FanSided: D-

"“When people talk about the 2017 NFL Draft many years from now, the Chicago Bears will be one of those teams that arm chair general managers would love to pick apart with scathing hindsight. Chicago ended making only five selections in this draft. The only pick that originally belonged to them was the No. 147 pick they made in the fifth round.”"

Draft Class

Round 1 (No. 2)

838. . QB. Tar Heels . Mitchell Trubisky. 1. player

CURRENT TEAM: Chicago Bears

Ryan Pace shocked the world when news broke that he traded the third-overall pick to the San Fransico 49ers to move up one spot. The deal included the Nos. 67 and 111 picks as well as a 2018 third-round pick that ended up being 70th overall. Most fans thought Pace was moving up to draft a quarterback, however, nearly everyone was shocked by who that quarterback ended up being – Mitch Trubisky

After three seasons, it seems that Pace made the wrong decision. Patrick Mahomes who went 10th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs had an MVP season in his sophomore year and then won the Super Bowl. Deshaun Watson too has shown more success from a statistical standpoint over Mitch Trubisky, and these three will continue to be debated for years. Right now, Trubisky is clearly losing.

Round 2 (No. 45)

CURRENT TEAM: Chicago Bears

If fans were not shocked enough by Pace’s first move in the 2017 NFL Draft, many were more upset by his second pick. Pace drafted Adam Shaheen, a D2 tight end out of Ashland.

Shaheen has struggled to see consistent playing time due to an abundance of injuries since moving up to the NFL. He is a big target that found his most success his rookie season when he caught 12 passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns.

His performance since 2017 has been a major disappointment. Shaheen was placed on injured reserve again this year after playing in 13 games. He only caught nine passes for 74 yards. Many wonder if he was placed on injured reserve as a way of benching him but also opening up a roster spot.

Round 4 (No. 112)

S. Crimson Tide . Eddie Jackson. 3. player. 829.

CURRENT TEAM: Chicago Bears

Eddie Jackson might be the best young safety in the NFL. If not the best, he is clearly top five. He made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and was selected as a First-Team All-Pro. In three seasons, Jackson has 10 interceptions and returned three of them for touchdowns.

His 2019 season saw less high-impact plays, but he also played out of position as a strong safety more often in Chuck Pagano’s defense next to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He received a massive extension that made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL.

Round 4 (No. 119)

Current Team: Chicago Bears

Tarik Cohen has been fantastic catching the ball out of the backfield and returning kicks. He is a small running back though who cannot carry the load as a lead back. Cohen was underutilized by John Fox in his rookies season, but still found a way to score three touchdowns. In 2018, cohen really shined by scoring three touchdowns on the ground and five more through the air.

Last year, Cohen took a step back from an efficiency standpoint. He never found the end zone from the ground but was able to score three through the air. He took a step back in overall yardage in 2019 too. After gaining over 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2018, Cohen only gained a little over 600 all-purpose yards last season. The difference in production could be due to Cohen running side-to-side more than forward most of the year.

Round 5 (No. 147) 

Current Team: None


C-. . . Chicago Bears. 2020 RETROSPECTIVE GRADE

Bottom Line

Whether you like Trubisky or not, finding a player like Eddie Jackson makes this draft class a positive one. Honestly, I am close to giving the draft class a B- because of how good Jackson is as a player. As already alluded to, many say three years are needed to grade a draft class.

For the Bears, a few guys will need year four. If Trubisky fails in 2020, this grade will be slightly lower. If he succeeds it could jump up at least a full letter grade. If he shines the draft class is clearly an A. It will be interesting to see how the offense changes in 2020 compared to 2019, but one thing is clear, Pace will need a better backup plan to his second-overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.

by Rob Schwarz

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