Bears general manager Ryan Pace is entering his third season on the job, and there’s some measure of pressure on him to see his crop of talent, especially his draft acquisitions, come to fruition.
If this NFL offseason has taught us anything, it’s that general managers – once considered a more steady, secure position than, say, head coaches – are on hot seats now more and sooner than ever. A shocking five GMs were fired following the end of last season, including three after April’s draft, and all five come from scouting backgrounds similar to how Pace developed as a talent evaluator.
Some of the pressure on Pace to see more results is a bit unfair, it should be noted. After all, his 2016 draft class was a highly productive one last season, as six rookies contributed regularly. Even with a slew of veteran injuries that thrust the rookies into larger roles, it’s hard to deny what we saw in that group.
His first three selections last year – Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair and Jonathan Bullard – are heavy contributors. Fourth-rounder Nick Kwiatkowski, at the very least, profiles as a useful reserve and special-teamer. Fifth-round running back Jordan Howard was a terrific surprise and locked in for a starring role.
Of course, the 2015 class remains very much a mixed bag until further notice. Second-round nose tackle Eddie Goldman and fifth-round safety Adrian Amos project to be significant contributors this season. But first-round WR Kevin White remains a serious enigma, one who must prove he can not only stay healthy…
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