CHICAGO – So with a chance to sleep on it, go back and look at notes and a little more tape and get back on the phones with “my guys”...


Am I happy three of the four best prospects the Bears got are on defense?


Not really.


Ideally you’d have loved to see the Bears add Kmet, two top wide receiver prospects and a really exciting offensive tackle, but that’s just not the way the NFL College Draft works.


The half-life in the league for general managers that take the best player available at their greatest area of need with each pick is somewhere between two or three seasons and it never ends well.


You have to let the Draft come to you and for the most part it appears that’s exactly what Ryan Pace did. You can’t always take the absolute best player available period, but you do have to be close.


Let’s look at the Cole Kmet pick.


The Bears greatest needs going into the Draft were tight end, offensive tackle, wide receiver, cornerback and safety. Rank them in any order you want.


On the board at 43 Kmet was the best tight end – in fact the best tight end prospect in the Draft – left, K.J. Hamler was the best wideout, Josh Jones was the best tackle, Jaylon Johnson was the best corner and Ashtyn Davis was the best safety.


I had all but Johnson graded closely enough that I really wouldn’t be quarreling had they taken any one of them.


Johnson was the second best prospect on the board regardless of position behind Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa and Epenesa just wasn’t a fit for the Bears 3-4 scheme at all.


What separated Kmet from the rest was he has the highest ceiling of the group at a position that is critical in Matt Nagy’s offense and very hard to fill.


I thought they should have taken Johnson and said so live on the radio at the time. That they got him seven picks later saves me from writing any more about that pick.


Had they not gotten Johnson I’d be less than satisfied with Kmet but the fact that they did leaves the Kmet pick consistent with what should be best draft practices.


I’m not sure you can love the pick but I do like it, and obviously I love the Johnson pick.


I also signed off the radio Friday night and began our broadcast Saturday saying I was thrilled that Pace got top prospects at two of his greatest areas of need, but I hoped he might try and package some of his five remaining picks to move up higher than the first which was 163 in the fifth round to get better prospects than what might be left if he didn’t, but hoped he wouldn’t use any ’21 picks to move up.


So I like it a lot that he got three fives and two sevens instead of one five, two sixes and two sevens out of this draft.


I don’t like that he gave up next year’s four but since it seems quite likely they could get a compensatory four for Nick Kwiatkoski next year, it makes that a lot less painful.


Irrespective of whom he took Pace did a really nice job of getting up to have his three fifth round picks.


Now let’s get back to best player available.


I really didn’t think the Bears would take a front seven player in this draft and if they did I’d have preferred an inside linebacker to one outside, after adding Barkevious Mingo in free agency but losing Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre Louis.


But Trevis Gipson’s upside or ceiling is every bit as high as Kmet’s and he should have been one of the first players off the board in the fourth round.


With Johnson in the fold you’d have much preferred a tackle or safety next, but there wasn’t one anywhere near Kindle Vildor’s grade.


So now the Bears have as many cornerbacks on the roster as they do tight ends, but only Kyle Fuller, Buster Skrine and Johnson have higher ceilings than Vildor’s.


His isn’t quite as high as Gipson’s but he should end up starting in the NFL somewhere, some day so I cannot argue against taking him.


Do I think Darnell Mooney will ever be more than a number three or four wideout?


No.


But prior to that 173 rd pick, after the Eagles had grabbed John Hightower from Boise St. just five picks earlier, his 4.38 speed made him the fastest wide receiver left in the draft and that was absolutely the Bears greatest remaining need at that moment.


The pick makes perfect sense.


Arlington Hambright at 226 is a nice college football player who’s probably too small to play tackle and may not be athletic enough at guard at the next level but he has a few nice traits, so we’ll see.


He isn’t going to jump ahead of Coward, Bars, Ifedi or Spriggs this season so maybe he ends up on the practice squad.


The pick is nothing to get excited about. After doing this as long as I have it’s pretty rare when a player gets drafted that I’ve never heard of or have nothing on at all, but at 227 Lachavious Simmons checked that box so that’s why I was up working the phones this morning and I came away intrigued.


He played everywhere but center along the offensive line in college, is bigger and much more athletic than Hambright and apparently he has a bit of a nasty streak. A couple scouts tell me he could be a pleasant surprise.


Any draft that gives a team a top end starter that maybe even makes a couple Pro Bowls, at least two more starters with long careers and a couple solid backups/contributors is at least a B+.


I don’t know if this Bears draft is likely to get there, but Johnson, Kmet, Gipson and Vildor all appear likely to be good to very good NFL players.


Let’s talk again in a couple of years.