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Ryan Pace should have been fired Sunday. Hell, he should have been fired a month ago. Actually, he should have been fired the minute it became apparent that he didn't just pass up one superstar quarterback with his hare-brained, first-round of the 2017 draft machinations to get Mitch Trubisky, he passed up two.
Going into this season we knew for certain that Pace not drafting Pat Mahomes with the second or third pick that year (or perhaps after trading down to anywhere else in the top 10 and then taking him) was crushingly stupid. Mahomes, who was drafted 10th by the trading-up Chiefs (it isn't always general manager malpractice to trade up, it is just atrocious to do it as often as Pace does) won the MVP last year for goodness sakes.
Mahomes was an overtime coin toss away from leading the Chiefs to the Super Bowl last year. The Patriots beat the Chiefs in the AFC championship in part due to winning that toss and then scoring a touchdown - which meant the Kansas City offense, which had been unstoppable that day, never got the ball.
Surely any football fan who had the chance to watch Deshaun Watson absolutely obliterate the Patriots last night - and yes, it wasn't a single-handed victory, but it felt like it - knows that Watson is a super-duper star just like Mahomes. And Pace didn't just pass on drafting either of the superstars, he traded up, like he always does, to take the far inferior signal-caller.
And I know other dimwits had Trubisky rated ahead of Mahomes and Watson going into that draft. Who cares? None of those dimwits were the insecure general manager of the Chicago Bears. Pace made one of the worst trades in NFL history (maybe the worst) when he sent the 49ers four draft picks to move up one spot and select Trubisky second overall.
Pace always trades up because he wants everyone to consider him Mr. Aggressive. He makes the moves to get the guys he wants. He has had no regrets. Supposedly. He better have some now.
And it is worse with Watson, who was drafted 12th by the trading-up Texans in 2017, than it is with Mahomes. Tribune reporting has made it clear that Pace never even bothered to seriously consider taking the national championship winner from Clemson.
He never had him in to Halas Hall for an extended interview - the guy who carried Clemson to the national championship final two years in a row. The guy whose coach Dabo Swinney, who is about as non-objective as anyone could be but still may be proved right, called the Michael Jordan of football.
Why the hell was that, Ryan? Was it because you were desperate to draft a white quarterback?
Before you say I'm not being fair, remember that Pace had one, two, three chances to draft black quarterback Dak Prescott in the fourth round in the 2016 draft. It has been reported that Pace went into that draft with white quarterback Connor Cook (Michigan State) at the top of his list.
Cook was taken by the Raiders, where he washed out as a back-up between then and now, before the Bears' first pick in that round that year. The Bears then made their picks. The Cowboys were then overjoyed to take Prescott near the end of the round. And Prescott has turned into not quite a superstar, but a star.
Anyway, the question about Pace's failure to even properly interview Watson is one of the queries Pace has been desperately avoiding as he has hidden from the media all season long. Another embarrassing question would be: Wasn't it actually obvious that the guy who threw a million passes at Texas Tech (Mahomes) and the guy who did it all for Clemson, were far better prospects than Trubisky?
And finally, it should be noted that Pace wasn't the only one who failed miserably in the 2017 draft. It is fair to say that any other team in the NFL could have traded into the 10th pick in that first round and had their choice of Mahomes or Watson, is it not?
Who doesn't regret not doing that? The answer is all of two teams: The Ravens (whose star black quarterback was strangely drafted 32nd last year after the four white superprospects were all taken in the top 10 - OK, it wasn't strange, it was just racist) and the 49ers - that's it.
Even the Patriots have to look back on that draft with some regret, even if it probably was a year or two too soon to take Tom Brady's successor. And the Rams and the Eagles can cut themselves some slack given that they took signal-callers with the first two picks the year before. But neither Jared Goff nor Carson Wentz are nearly as good as Mahomes and Watson. That is just a fact.
So the Bears are screwed. Again.
Hey Virginia! Please do us the small favor of firing the guy who bears the blame.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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