LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- A wrap-up of the Chicago Bears' draft.
Best move: Ryan Pace stuck to his core draft beliefs when he nabbed West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White in Round 1. General managers often overthink picks and reach for guys to fill needs instead of taking the best available player, but Pace stayed true to his best-available philosophy. White can start in Week 1 -- he's that talented. Even though White played just two years of Division I college football, he caught 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns against top competition the past season. No matter how the Martellus Bennett drama plays out, the Bears now have enough weapons on offense (White, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte, Eddie Royal, etc.) to put up a decent fight in the rough-and-tumble NFC North.
Riskiest move: After Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, this quarterback draft class was weak. Still, the Bears need to eventually find a future replacement for Jay Cutler. Pace had the opportunity to grab UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley in the fifth round but instead chose Penn State safety Adrian Amos. Hundley went a couple spots later to rival Green Bay. If Hundley eventually becomes a starting quarterback somewhere in the league, the decision to ignore quarterback on Day 3 might haunt the Bears.
Most surprising move: The 32-year-old Will Montgomery appeared to have center locked up, until the Bears took Oregon's Hroniss Grasu in round three. Center is a tough assignment for a rookie because of the inherent nuances of the position, but Pace thinks Grasu is extremely intelligent with a terrific makeup. A four-year starter for the Ducks, Grasu is a three-time Pac-12 first-team selection who was named one of the nation's top centers. Montgomery is an accomplished veteran who is the favorite to start at center in the post-Roberto Garza era. However, Montgomery has already been put on notice, even before playing a single snap in Chicago.
File it away: Pace envisions 33-year-old Jeremiah Ratliff as a key member of the defensive line next fall. Given Ratliff's versatility, it would not be a surprise if defensive coordinator Vic Fangio used an occasional four-man front with Ratliff, Ray McDonald, 2015 second-round pick Eddie Goldman and Lamarr Houston, who is likely slated for a hybrid role in the new defensive scheme. Goldman isn't viewed by analysts to be much of a pass-rusher, but his unique ability to stop the run should keep the rookie on the field for sizable chunks of time during games.
My take: Only time will tell if the Bears properly evaluated the 2015 draft class; however, the front office seemed intent on correcting past mistakes. In 2014, the Bears drafted a defensive tackle (second round), running back (fourth round) and safety (fourth round). This year, Chicago took a defensive tackle (second round), running back (fourth round) and safety (fifth round). Look familiar? The best part of the Bears' draft is they resisted the urge to reach on players in the top three rounds. Thumbs up