Grading the 2019 Bears draft class after 3 years

Three years later, we’re evaluating the 2019 Bears draft class.

The 2022 NFL draft is quickly approaching for the Chicago Bears, where another group of playmakers will be selected with hopes of being productive contributors.

But as soon as the draft ends, the grades and analysis begins for the players who were just selected. It’s a tough exercise since no one has any idea how each player will perform at the next level, which is why it’s best to wait to assign final grades until three years later.

Being able to grade picks and players after three years in the league provides a much clearer picture on how each pick has or hasn’t panned out. And that brings us back to 2019 where former general manager Ryan Pace made five total selections in the draft that would hopefully help a Bears team coming off of a division title and heartbreaking playoff loss.

The Bears have yet to reach those heights, but what about the players themselves? Here are the grades for each player selected by the Bears in the 2019 NFL draft.

Rams QB Jared Goff has been terrible against the Bears defense

Rams QB Jared Goff has played his worst football of his career against the Bears, which is certainly promising for Monday night’s game.

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The Chicago Bears are set to meet the Rams in Week 7’s edition of Monday Night Football. Even though the Bears are a 6-point underdog, they haven’t had a problem stopping Rams quarterback Jared Goff when given the chance.

Expect Monday’s game to be no different.

In their previous two meetings, Goff has completed 31 of his 62 passes for a 50% completion percentage. In their first meeting, Goff went 20-of-44 passing for 180 yards, 4 interceptions, a fumble, and a 19.1 passer rating. In their second meeting, Goff went 11-of-18 passing for 173 yards, just 1 interception and an improved 69.9 passer rating.

He has played his worst football against the Bears in his career, and let’s not forget that 0-7 record during his rookie season.

Overall, it shows how dominant this Bears defense is. They’ve kept offensive guru Sean McVay in check both meetings. There’s no reason why they can’t do the same thing in their third meeting.

Goff has started this season with 10 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions and a 4-2 record. That offense isn’t quite as good as they were in 2018, just yet. The Bears need to take advantage of that this week.

On the other side of the ball, the Rams defense won’t be easy to just roll past. They’ll give Nick Foles and the Bears offense some challenges. It’s just comforting to know how dominant this team is against Goff. That should play a key factor in their game Monday night.

Allen Robinson among highest-graded WRs on contested targets in 2019

Robinson thrived in contested-catch situations last season, as evidenced by his 92.7 grade by Pro Football Focus.

There wasn’t much to love about the Chicago Bears offense last season. But receiver Allen Robinson was easily the best thing about the offense.

Chicago’s offense was one of the worst units in the NFL last season. Despite that, Robinson impressed in the passing game. He had a career-best 98 receptions for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns.

Robinson also thrived in contested-catch situations, as evidenced by his 92.7 grade by Pro Football Focus. Robinson ranked third among receivers in contest-catch opportunities, just behind Detroit’s Kenny Golladay and Miami’s DeVante Parker.

Robinson is entering the final year of his three-year, $42 million extension with the Bears. While you’d figure re-signing Robinson should be a priority for general manager Ryan Pace, Robinson told ESPN 1000 that there haven’t been any discussions about an extension.

“They haven’t. We haven’t heard nothing,” Robinson said, via NBC Sports Chicago. “I think just as far as me and my agent, from a the conversations that we’ve had, we’re not necessarily anticipating hearing anything at this point. For us, we’re going into camp preparing ourselves to have a good year. If that comes up and they reach out to my agent, I’m sure they’ll have pretty good discussions and things like that, but again, that hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it will happen. I can’t predict the future, so I don’t know if that will happen at all.”

To be fair, Pace is known for his post-Labor Day extensions ahead of the season. Perhaps Robinson will be the latest player to garner a well-deserved extension.

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WATCH: Chicago Bears 2019 season in review from NFL Films

No one wants to relive the Bears’ miserable 2019 season. But NFL Films did a good job of making things seem better than they were last year.

The 2019 season is one that a lot of Chicago Bears fans would like to forget. Heading into their 100th season, there was a lot of hype surrounding the Bears after an impressive 12-4 campaign. It appeared that all of the pieces were in place, and the onus was on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to take the next step in his development.

Only, we all know how all of that worked out.

The Bears stumbled to an 8-8 record, including a third-place finish in the NFC North, and their offense was one of the worst in the NFL. While Chicago’s defense remained a top-10 unit, they struggled with injuries to three key starters and regressed following a magical 2018 performance.

It’s fair to say that no one wants to relive Chicago’s miserable 2019 season. But NFL Films did a good job of making things seem better than they actually were for the Bears last season.

The Bears are looking to rebound in 2020, and they made several offseason moves that they hope get them there. They added veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn to pair with Khalil mack off the edge, brought in tight ends Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet and traded for veteran quarterback Nick Foles, who will compete with Trubisky for the starting job.

The hope is that the 2019 season was a fluke and that the Bears can get back to their winning ways. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Jets’ Jamal Adams requests permission to seek trade

New York Jets Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams has officially requested a trade out of New York. This sends flares to Dallas to possibly acquire.

The Jamal-Adams-to-the-Dallas-Cowboys fire has once again been ignited.

What started as a box of matches during the 2019 season, has appeared ready to engulf the Jets ever since and now looks destined to become a reality, the Pro-Bowl safety has officially requested a trade out of New York, as first reported by ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Cowboys fans have been dreaming of a scenario to acquire Adams and now it looks like it could finally be a reality. Adams took to social media via Instagram with response to someone’s comment.

According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, The Jets have gone on record to say that a contract extension for Adams is in their immediate plans but contrary to that report, Adams has requested to seek a trade but the Jets still have to grant him just that.

According to Dallas Morning News writer Calvin Watkins, Adams has certain teams he would want to be traded to and would not necessarily need a contract extension right away.

It’s assumed by many his hometown Cowboys are on any short list for the Texas native. The Cowboys sought to work out a trade for Adams last season but were rebuffed of their offer of a first-round pick plus a player, rumored to be CB Anthony Brown. The Jets asked for a first rounder, second rounder and another second rounder.

The 2017 draft’s sixth-overall selection is entering his fourth year on his rookie contract and would be owed $7.1 million this year and has a fifth-year option worth $9.9 million. He currently was seeking a big pay day from the Jets but it seems like the relationship with the organization has taken a turn for the worst.

The asking price for the two time Pro Bowler is yet unknown but from a value standpoint the Jets would more than likely look for a first round pick, and that’s just the beginning.

The Cowboys addressed their safety need by signing Ha Ha Clinton Dix in the off-season to pair along side Xavier Woods but clearly the addition of a Jamal Adams for the 2020 Dallas Cowboys would turn a position of need into a strength for their immediate future.

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David Montgomery was second best pass-blocking RB in 2019

Bears RB David Montgomery had a solid rookie season, and he was one of the best RBs in pass protection last year.

The Chicago Bears are expecting big things from running back David Montgomery heading into his second season.

While Montgomery didn’t have a flashy rookie campaign, he put together a solid year behind a struggling offensive line and one of the league’s worst offenses.

Montgomery had 889 rushing yards, averaging 3.7 yards per carry, and six touchdowns. He also added 25 receptions for 185 yards and a score. Montgomery surpassed 1,000 all-purpose yards as a rookie.

But Montgomery was also effective in pass protection. According to Pro Football Focus, Montgomery was the second best pass-blocking running back in the NFL in 2019.

Montgomery has all of the traits to be a reliable three-down back for the Bears, including his pass-blocking ability and threat out of the backfield.

It’s difficult to judge Montgomery in his rookie season considering the struggles Chicago’s offense experienced as a whole. He wasn’t helped by his offensive line or Matt Nagy’s playcalling. Montgomery had more than 20 rushing attempts in just four games, and there were seven games where he had less than 15 carries.

Fixing the run game has been a priority for the Bears this offseason. The offensive line will look identical minus right guard following Kyle Long’s retirement. Chicago signed veteran offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, who figures to occupy the right guard spot.

Nagy also added some new offensive minds that specialize in the run game, including offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and offensive line coach Juan Castillo.

With the attention to the run game this offseason, Montgomery is primed for a breakout season in 2020.

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Allen Robinson wins Bears’ 2019 Ed Block Courage Award

When it comes to great players both on and off the field, there’s been no one better last season than Bears WR Allen Robinson.

When it comes to great players both on and off the field, there’s been no one better last season than Chicago Bears receiver Allen Robinson.

So it wasn’t a surprise the Bears named Robinson the team’s 2019 Ed Block Courage Award winner on Wednesday. This is the second time Robinson has won the award, the first time coming with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015.

Robinson has been actively involved in Chicago community since coming to the Bears in 2018. His Within Reach Foundation aims to provide educational opportunities and resources to low-income and inner-city Chicago students to help put success within reach.

Each year, the Ed Block Courage Awards honors those National Football League players who exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. This award is unique in that the recipients are selected solely by a vote of their teammates. Every fall all thirty two teams conduct a vote which results in each team selecting their Ed Block Courage Award recipient for the year.

The Ed Block Courage Award recipient symbolizes professionalism, great strength and dedication. He is also a community role model. With this honor, he enters into an association which contrasts his fierce profession by becoming a major component of the Courage House National Support Network for Kids. He becomes an Ambassador of Courage for victims of abuse, violence and neglect.

Robinson was also the Bears’ nominee for the 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

In just two seasons with the Bears, Robinson has been the No. 1 receiver they’ve been waiting for. He’s coming off a 1,000-yard season, which is impressive considering Chicago’s struggles on offense last season.

While Robinson has just one year left on his current deal, you have to believe the Bears are making it a priority to bring Robinson back. And Robinson has already made it clear that he wants to be with the Bears for the long-term.

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Where did Mitchell Trubisky rank among QBs with deep passes in 2019?

There weren’t many things that Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky did well last season, which included his deep-ball accuracy.

There weren’t many things that Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky did well last season, as the entire NFL world will point out. Trubisky was supposed to take the next step in his development in his third season. Instead, he regressed in what was his worst season as a pro.

One of Trubisky’s biggest struggles was accuracy, which ironically enough was what general manager Ryan Pace noted as one of his strengths coming out of college.

But when it came to deep-ball accuracy last season, Trubisky struggled mightily. According to Pro Football Focus, Trubisky ranked among the worst quarterbacks in the NFL in deep passing in 2019, where he clocked in at No. 27.

34.4% completion percentage, 10.4 yards per attempt, 62.4 Passer Rating

The best thing that can be said about Mitchell Trubisky’s deep passing is that it’s no worse than his regular passing, and his PFF grade ranks around the same place in either scenario. Trubisky completed just 34.4% of his deep shots for only 10.4 yards per attempt, and that’s with Allen Robinson II winning jump balls at a high rate. Ultimately it’s just another part of Trubisky’s game that has likely cost him the starting job in favor of Nick Foles, whose numbers last season may have been even worse than Trubisky’s.

Things were about as bad as they could’ve been for Trubisky last season, which prompted Bears general manager Ryan Pace to trade for former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Trubisky and Foles will compete for the starting job in an open and fair competition that will last into preseason.

While many figure Foles is the favorite to win the job, Trubisky has one last chance to prove to Pace and Matt Nagy that he can be Chicago’s franchise quarterback.

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Bears OLB Robert Quinn among top 3 greatest disruptors of 2019

The name of the game in being a pass rusher is getting after the quarterback, something that new Bears EDGE Robert Quinn did well in 2019.

The Chicago Bears strengthened their pass rush with the addition of former All-Pro Robert Quinn in free agency. Chicago parted ways with former first-round pick Leonard Floyd this offseason, as they couldn’t justify paying him $13.2 million for his declining performance.

Instead, the Bears turned to a former All-Pro pass rusher for his services. Quinn’s performance in Dallas last season was impressive — he had 11.5 sacks — which translated to a big pay day from the Bears in free agency.

The name of the game in being a pass rusher is getting after the quarterback, something that Floyd struggled with. Quinn, however, ranked among NFL.com’s top-five greatest disruptors of 2019, where he landed at No. 3.

Disruption rate: 17.2% Sack rate: 3.3% Total disruptions: 60 Sacks: 11.5

Robert Quinn was well worth the price Dallas paid to acquire him last offseason, even if it was only as a one-year rental, and he’s set to make the money he deserves after signing a five-year deal with the Chicago Bears in March. Quinn enjoyed great success with the Cowboys while operating opposite DeMarcus Lawrence, pressuring the QB on 14 percent of pass rushes, the third-best rate in the NFL (minimum 250 pass rushes) in 2019.

His ability to bend while maintaining speed and power around the edge can be a nightmare for opposing tackles, and he’ll likely enjoy similar success as part of another excellent tandem in Chicago in 2020. Quinn registered 49 QB pressures in 2019, which is the same number his new Bears teammate Khalil Mack posted, but Quinn did it on 116 fewer pass rushes. Watch out for that duo.

The Bears are hoping for big things from their pass rush with Khalil Mack and Quinn. When you consider what Quinn was able to accomplish on Dallas’ defense, pairing him with Mack, where he should see more one-on-one opportunities, figures to be a recipe for success.

While Chicago’s defense regressed in 2019, they remained a top-five unit despite a myriad of factors, including injuries to defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith.

The belief is that with the returning cast of characters, and new additions like Quinn, the Bears defense will be a top unit in 2020.

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Cowboys WR Amari Cooper in Top 10 at outperforming expected catch rate

The four-time Pro Bowler has a reputation for his route running, but the numbers show he’s among the best at catching balls he shouldn’t.

Hating on Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper has become a busy pastime for several subsets of NFL fans. There’s the members of Raiders Nation who want to believe the silver and black dumped an underachiever just in time. There’s the Eagles and Redskins faithful swimming in sour grapes after their clubs failed to lure Cooper away. And there’s even a contingent of Cowboys fans who inexplicably don’t believe the four-time Pro Bowler is worthy of the WR1 spot in Dallas.

But numbers don’t lie. And the numbers show that Cooper is one of the best receivers in the league. One set of figures, in fact, pinpoints him as the sixth-best.

In a Monday morning rundown of the league’s top pass-catchers of 2019, NFL.com’s Nick Shook uses Next Gen Stats to compare players’ catch rate- the percentage of targets caught- to expected catch rate, or the average completion probability when targeted. Basically, did the player do better than he technically should have?

According to Shook:

“Completion probability takes into account a number of factors, including QB pressure, separation between the target and the closest defender, distance of throw, speed of the receiver and so on. From a pass-catcher’s perspective, the factors that are most important are separation, tight-window percentage, cushion (at time of snap), double-team percentage and air yards per target, among others.”

When viewed through that lens, Cooper flat-out excelled. His actual 2019 catch rate was 66.4%. His expected catch rate, though, was just 57.8%. That means Cooper outperformed expectations on his targets by 8.6%.

To put it in concrete terms, Cooper was targeted 119 times last season. He made 79 of those catches. But the data says he should have caught just 68 of them. Cooper made 11 catches he had no business making. Almost one per game. And that over-and-above mark is what puts Cooper on the list with only Michael Thomas, Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, Marvin Jones, and Calvin Ridley ranked higher.

Of Cooper, Shook writes:

“Defenses liked to press Cooper on nearly one-fourth of all routes run by the receiver, but his separation at time of pass arrival (2.6 yards) falls in line with the rest of these receivers. His tight-window percentage (25.2) was third-highest, but none of his advanced metrics illustrate a receiver who was blanketed in 2019. With that said, Cooper was a receiver who made his quarterback, Dak Prescott, better last season, helping the signal-caller put together a 114.4 passer rating when targeting him. Prescott enjoyed doing that plenty, with Cooper posting the third-highest average of targets per routes run (23.8%) of this group.”

Much has been made (and rightly so) of Cooper’s perplexing tendency to shrink statistically in road games, but the math bears out that he is one of the best in the business at catching footballs during NFL games. And his on-the-job performance clearly justifies his elite payday among the league’s other highest-earning receivers.

No one in their right mind disputes Cooper’s status as one of the premier route-running technicians in the game. But in terms of catching most everything thrown his way and then some, Cooper doesn’t always spring immediately to mind, perhaps because the rare drops tend to leave a more lasting impression than the unlikely surprise grabs. It’s classic perception versus reality.

The real reality, though, is that Cooper is Top-10 caliber. And with Michael Gallup on the verge of becoming a household name and a highly-touted rookie also ready to join the party, Cooper’s stats, according to Shook, may actually improve.

“Cooper is a case that will be fascinating to watch in 2020, thanks to the addition of 17th overall pick CeeDee Lamb. Might these numbers jump with more dangerous targets available to Prescott?”

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