The Chicago Bears traded former 2017 second-round pick, Adam Shaheen, to the Miami Dolphins on Saturday for a conditional 2021 sixth-round pick in a move that was considered a pleasant surprise by Bears fans. The fact that any team would part with a draft pick for Shaheen is a win, right?
This is an unfortunate reality for Bears fans who've suffered through multiple years of failed early-round picks during the Ryan Pace era. A second-round pick is expected to become a starter, especially by Year 4 of their career. Pace has continued to miss on these picks, and no draft is more damaging to Chicago's long-term success than 2017.
You know the narrative all too well by now. Pace moved up one spot from No. 3 overall to No. 2 to select Mitch Trubisky, who four seasons later is in a fight for his NFL future with Nick Foles for the team's starting job. The other two quarterbacks selected in the first round that year, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, are among the league's most valued players.
At pick 45, the Bears selected Shaheen, who after three seasons in Chicago turned into the equivalent of a bag of chips from the Dolphins. There's a chance Shaheen won't make Miami's roster. Let that sink in. Shaheen might realistically be out of the league just four years removed from Pace valuing him as a top-50 prospect.
Sure, Eddie Jackson was a product of the 2017 draft. He's now one of the NFL's best safeties and is a foundational player for Chicago. But landing one cornerstone piece from a draft class that included two selections in the top 50 picks just isn't good enough by any standard. Jackson was a fourth-round steal, and it appeared like Tarik Cohen was on his way to being one too before his step in the wrong direction in 2019. Instead of being viewed as one of the league's most dangerous receiving backs, Cohen is facing a 2020 season where he has to prove that he's worthy of a contract extension.
The Bears are dangerously close to entering the 2021 offseason with just one player from their 2017 draft class on the roster. The fan base has every right to be infuriated, and they every right to question whether Pace has the aptitude to make the right picks in the early rounds for this team.
The list of first-round busts extends beyond Trubisky. Kevin White and Leonard Floyd were crippling misses. Jonathan Bullard and Hroniss Grasu were third-round disasters. We still don't know whether Roquan Smith, the eighth overall pick in 2018, will become the linebacker he's supposed to be.
The best picks Pace has made in Round 1 are the ones he didn't have. Trading two first-rounders (2019 and 2020) for Khalil Mack was a smart move on multiple levels. Chicago secured one of the league's top pass-rushers with those selections, something we can reasonably assume wouldn't have resulted from a Pace selection.
Sure, the Bears managed to get something for Shaheen. But they should've gotten a lot more than a conditional sixth-round pick from a top-50 prospect. They should've had a key starter on a Super Bowl contender.
But this is the new normal under Pace, who's quickly proven to be one of the worst general managers in the early rounds of the NFL Draft.
Revisiting the Bears' 2017 draft class after Adam Shaheen trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago