The Chicago Bears held their rookie minicamp this past weekend following the 2019 NFL Draft at the end of April. With five selections, the team took three offensive players and two defensive players. General manager Ryan Pace’s draft class is telling as it appears that the Bears are determined to win because of offense and not the defense.
Of their five picks, the Bears organization used three on the offense and two for the defense. In total, they used their picks on just three positions: Wide receiver, running back and defensive back. Although they addressed their two positions of need, Chicago addressed their other needs by signing undrafted free agents immediately following the end of the draft.
Pace, along with head coach Matt Nagy focused heavily on the impact positions of the offense in this draft. Chicago traded up 14 slots with the New England Patriots in the third round to draft Iowa State running back David Montgomery. The Bears needed to add a dual-threat running back who could be effective in the passing game and running game. Nagy’s offense lacked a running back that could do both effectively. Montgomery may not be a back that is going to make the big play on every play but is a complete back who can handle a heavy workload.
The Bears made it apparent that they valued the running back position very much as they drafted Florida Atlantic running back Kerrith Whyte in the seventh round. Whyte has the speed to be the big play back for the Bears on any play. He returned kickoffs and was able to break long plays in both the passing game and running game. Chicago now has five running backs on the roster. With more pressing needs at other positions including safety, defensive end, and tight end, Pace and Nagy chose to add the best running back available with their first of two seventh-round selections.
The potential sleeper pick of the draft and the one that could have the biggest impact on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was the fourth round selection of Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley.
Ridley was the best player available when the Bears drafted him and gives the offense something that it lacked from its wide receivers last season. Ridley is a big-bodied possession receiver who has the ability to win 50/50 battles. Outside of Allen Robinson last season, the Bears receivers lacked the size to win the contested battles limiting the passes they could call.
The addition of Ridley also allows receivers Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel play more from the slot which they are better suited for. For as much production as both Miller and Gabriel provided to the Bears last season, there were times where they struggled to produce lining up outside facing bigger cornerbacks. Ridley thrived in his route running and battling for the ball while at Georgia. With the Bears, he will allow their smaller wide receivers to work the middle of the field against the opposing nickel-backs and safeties.
Nagy now has more pieces to his offense to develop the offense that was one of the best in 2017 when he was with the Kansas City Chiefs. His offense predicated on having multiple options and speed to create confusion and separation from the defense.
For as great as the Bears defense is now, the draft showed that the Bears organization is determined to win because of the success of the offense over the defense.