The Chicago Bears angered your dictator with their draft day trade strategy and earned an awful “F” grade as a result. The Bears front office should be forced to repeat the sixth grade after this abysmal performance. All teams start with an average “C” grade and then need to impress me in order to move up. Chicago didn’t impress me. On the contrary, they’ve incurred my wrath.
The Bears moved up 14 spots in the third round from No. 87 to No. 73 to nab running back David Montgomery. At a high level there is absolutely no difference in the quality of players still available at No. 73 versus No. 87, so they’re gambling big on Montgomery. He’d better turn out to be an excellent player because in order to get him Chicago also moved back 43 spots later in the draft (from No. 162 to No. 205) but the killer is the Bears also gave up a 2020 fourth round pick!. That, my friends, is just plain awful. As I state in Article 2 of Trade Down Island’s Glorious Constitution, “The NFL draft is largely educated guesswork, so more picks means more correct guesses.” Good players can be found in the fourth round. Not Pro Bowlers. Not great players. Not even impact players. But good contributors who can play situationally and even fill in for injured starters. And fourth round picks play for four years on cap hits well below $1 million. Smart teams don’t sacrifice next year’s fourth round pick to move up a handful of spots in the third round this year. What the Bears did here wasn’t smart.
10 Year Comparisons
One way to estimate the value of the fourth round pick the Bears gave up, which I’m estimating to be No. 112, is to simply look at the players recently drafted between No. 108 and No. 117. By using the 10 years between 2007 and 2016 (so players have at least three years in the NFL), a total of 100 players were drafted with the approximate pick the Bears lit on fire. Per Football Reference, 30 of those 100 players have been full-time starters for two years or more and this list should grow over time because many of the players are still relatively young and active on NFL rosters. On the negative side, thus far 54 of them have not yet been listed as a regular starter. So, let’s say the hit rate of finding a starter is about 50 percent in the fourth round. Given the dirt-cheap rookie contracts they play on, I’m scratching that lottery ticket every time. But remember, in addition to losing the fourth round pick in 2020, Chicago also moved down 43 spots from No. 162 to No. 205, which also hurts their chances of finding starting talent.
With the draft being educated guesswork, there are no guarantees that David Montgomery (No. 73) will even outperform fellow running back Damien Harris (No. 87). It’s always fun when a team trades up to get a player and the team that traded back lands a player at the same position. It allows for a pretty accurate head-to-head comparison of which team made the smarter trade decision. Let’s see how Montgomery vs. Harris plays out, then see who gets selected with the fourth round pick the Bears gave up. I doubt Montgomery will outperform both players, but only time will tell.
Overall the Bears net trade rating is a -17 based on the Dallas Draft Value Chart, which means they sacrificed more trade value than they got back in return. I agree. This was a poor showing for the Bears front office and they are no longer welcome here at Trade Down Island.