Grading the Bears 2015 Draft
Draft grades given directly after the draft are useless. There is no reason to grade the 2019 Chicago Bears draft because none of the players have yet to step on an NFL field. The 2015 draft class (Pace's first) has graduated, and it's time for an appropriately timed report card. Here are the Grades for the 2015 Chicago Bears draft class.
Round 1 Pick 7
WR Kevin White- Grade F
White was a top prospect coming out of West Virginia. All of his measurables were off the charts and he was extremely productive his senior season. He caught 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns. The expectations were high, but a shin injury forced Chicago to place White on IR for all of 2015. Whites next two seasons he fractured his leg, and shoulder blade only playing in 5 games total. Some claim it was injuries that caused White to be labeled a bust. In reality, the increase in talent at the position pushed him down the depth chart, and he was a healthy scratch for most of 2018. The highlight of his time in Chicago was catching the Hail Mary at the end of the 2018 Patriots game. White's time in Chicago can be transitive to that play; he came up short. His career stat line as a pro is 25 receptions for 285 yards, with no touchdowns. Measurables aren't everything, and that's why D.K. Metcalf fell so far in the draft this year. Having a chiseled body wont make you a good football player, there are plenty of misshapen players in Canton. White will be getting a second chance in Arizona this year, but the top of his hourglass is just about empty.
Round 2 Pick 39
DL Eddie Goldman- Grade B+
Coming out of Florida State, Goldman was given first-round grades by most of the 2015 draft prospect big boards. He fell to the Bears, and Pace pounced on the opportunity. Goldman quickly became the starter and has since become the anchor of the Bears defense. All the Bears defensive success starts with Goldman. He is the perfect nose tackle eating up double teams regularly, allowing the linebackers to roam freely and make tackles. He has been consistent and healthy for the most part. Goldman was put on IR and missed ten games in 2016 after suffering an ankle injury. Goldman had his contract extended at the beginning of the 2018 season, showing his importance. The Bears didn't want to risk him becoming a free agent in 2019, so they locked him up early. Goldman's 2018 stat line was 40 tackles, 3 sacks, and a safety. The stats don't jump off the page, but for a nose tackle who's priorities are to keep linebackers clean, they're impressive. Finally, Goldman is getting recognition across the league. If you look into the crystal ball, there are pro-bowl appearances in Goldman's future.
Round 3 Pick 71
C Hroness Grasu Grade C-
Grasu was rated the number 2 center in the draft coming out of Oregon in 2015. He started 8 games as a rookie, and it looked like he would develop into a solid player. Unfortunately, he too was affected by the injury bug. In 2016 Grasu suffered a season-ending knee injury, and missed the last ten games. After the injury, the newly drafted guard, Cody Whitehair transitioned to center and provided an upgrade at the position. In 2017 the Bears tried to work him back in at center, but the line wasn't as productive, so he sat on the bench most of the season. After being released by the Bears, he was picked up and released by both the Ravens and Dolphins in 2018. Currently, he is in Tennessee with former teammate Marcus Mariota. The little promise he showed, didn't materialize, but the fact that Grasu is still on an active roster shows he is still a rotational player and somewhat capable.
Round 4 Pick 106
RB Jeremy Langford Grade D-
Langford shared time with Matt Forte in 2015 but only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. After Forte's departure in 2016 Langford was slotted to be the starter. Langford sprained an ankle in week 3, and Jordan Howard took over. The Bears never looked back. He was released in 2018 and picked up by the Falcons. Langford was only active for one game but is currently on the Falcons practice squad. Langford has been the least productive of Pace's mid-round picks by far.
Round 5 Pick 142
S Adrian Amos Grade A-
As Chicago knows Amos had his troubles but ultimately proved in 2017 that he was a starting caliber player. His ability to come up into the box and make big hits was highlighted after Eddie Jackson came onto the scene, and took over the free safety spot. Every year Amos improved, which is a credit to his work ethic as well as the Bears coaching staff. By 2018 Amos had a career year with 73 tackles, 2 interceptions, and a sack. Amos was the headline of the 2019 Chicago Bears free agent class. He was signed to a 4 year $ 36 million contract by the Packers, causing Twittersphere to explode. He was never a pro bowl caliber player, but he provided stability in the defensive backfield his last two seasons in Chicago. The Bears are given the A- grade because of his play, how late he was selected, and the hopeful consempatory pick the Bears will receive due to his departure.
Round 6 Pick 183
OT Tayo Fabuluje F
Tayo was a bad pick, and he never materialized in the NFL. He violated the NFL's Substance abuse policy in 2015, resulting in a four-game suspension. He appeared in 4 games as a Bear but never really saw the field. He has been bounced around in different leagues including the AAF, but it doesn't look like he will be playing semi-professional football in the future. It's hard to give an F grade to a 6th round pick, but Favuluje still gets a 50% if you curve the grading scale.
After averaging the letter grades, the Bears receive an overall grade of a C-. Chicago's 2015 draft class consisted of 6 players; 5/6 players are on active rosters, and 2/6 will be significant difference makers on an NFL team in 2019. The 2015 draft will go down as least productive of Pace's five drafts, but Pace didn't have his full staff. Pace cleaned house in 2016, and since then the drafts have dramatically improved. The 2016 and 2017 draft selections include 4 pro bowl appearances, 7 starters, and a slew of role players. Pace has made 27 total draft picks in the years 2015-2018. Only 2 players are not on an NFL roster, which is a 92% success rate! Sometimes rookies don't even make it through training camp, and by year two 20% of players drafted are no longer in the league. Although Pace's 2015 draft was not the strongest, he still identified a few very talented players. The chart I made below will ensure that the best is yet to come.