Myles Garrett

In 2017 NFL re-draft, the Bears don’t get a quarterback…or Khalil Mack

In 2017 NFL re-draft, the Bears don’t get a quarterback…or Khalil Mack

My NBC Sports Chicago colleagues and I went through a fun (and really difficult!) thought exercise this week, re-picking the 2017 NFL Draft with the information we have now. Check it out here if you haven't already

Adam Hoge drafted for the NFC/AFC West. Cam Ellis had the NFC/AFC South. Bryan Perez took the NFC/AFC East. And I shouldered the NFC and AFC North, meaning I got to make two of the first three picks between the Browns and Bears.  

We kept the original draft order, so the Bears did not trade up from No. 3 to No. 2 with the San Francisco 49ers. Patrick Mahomes, obviously, went No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns. Then Adam took Deshaun Watson second to the 49ers, who'd rather have him than Jimmy Garappolo. 

So that left the Bears without a quarterback, but able to take the best non-quarterback with the third overall pick. 

Who that player should be was a tough decision. George Kittle — who was actually a fifth-round pick, incredibly — was enticing for a team stuck in tight end hell. Jamal Adams is an incredible talent. I gave passing consideration to Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara, though for as impactful as they are, they’re still running backs. Ryan Ramczyk is a top-end tackle, but the Bears weren't in the market for one back in 2017. 

Ultimately, though, I didn’t think taking a tight end or safety with the third overall pick was fitting. So I went with Myles Garrett, who had 23 1/2 sacks in the 26 games leading up to his season-ending suspension for swinging hit helmet at Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph last year. I’m not counting that incident against him here. He was, and is, the most talented non-quarterback to come out of the 2017 draft. 

So in this alternate universe, Ryan Pace hits the “best player available” line, envisioning a Garrett-Leonard Floyd partnership becoming the most fearsome pass rushing duo in the NFL for years to come. 

This isn’t as simple as saying the Bears would get Watson or Mahomes in a re-draft. They wouldn’t. 

And so the first fallout: The Bears, a year and a half later, don’t trade for Khalil Mack. 

There was still plenty of hope for Floyd before the 2018 season began. With Garrett opposite him, the Bears don’t seriously consider shipping two first-round picks for Mack. That might be fine, too, since Garrett could’ve been just as transformative a presence for this defense. 

But what if the Raiders decided to trade Mack to the Green Bay Packers, who “were aggressive” in pursuing him? 

Mack in the NFC North, but not on the Bears — yikes. 

And then, there’s the whole thing of the Bears not getting a quarterback in the first round. Does Pace go ahead and snag DeShone Kizer in the second round? (If we’re doing this draft based on what we know now, he doesn’t). It might mean a lot more of Mike Glennon in 2017 as John Fox tries to save his job without an intriguing replacement behind him. 

And maybe that means the Bears finish with one of the worst records in the NFL, even with a pretty good defense. If Mahomes lifts the Browns out of the No. 1 spot, could the Bears realistically have a shot at drafting first or second overall and getting Baker Mayfield? Or Sam Darnold? Or Lamar Jackson, if we’re going off of what we know now?

The Bears probably don’t kick the quarterback can down the road for much longer beyond 2017. Fox still gets fired and Matt Nagy still gets hired, as not much changes for the Chiefs (although our guy Adam still has them taking a quarterback to sit behind Alex Smith…). But what if Nagy gets to pick his quarterback from the outset? Do things look different today?

We may not get 2018’s burst of fun — Eddie Jackson wound up in New Orleans, and Tarik Cohen in Indianapolis in this re-draft — but maybe we get a more sustainable shot at seeing a winning football team in Chicago. Maybe. 

It still would’ve been better if we could’ve got Mahomes or Watson to Chicago, after all. 

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What would re-drafting the 2017 NFL Draft look like?

What would re-drafting the 2017 NFL Draft look like?

Three years later, it's clear some teams made mistakes in the 2017 NFL Draft. That's easy to say with hindsight, of course. The Browns probably wish they had Patrick Mahomes right now, and the Bears just had to trade for a quarterback to potentially replace Mitch Trubisky. 

So we here at NBC Sports Chicago wanted to re-run the 2017 draft knowing what we know now. Mahomes is a superstar. Over 100 picks wouldn't pass before George Kittle goes off the board. Alvin Kamara doesn't slip past every team multiple times. Eddie Jackson doesn't either. 

Here's how we did it. Each of our four Bears experts picked for two divisions. I took the NFC/AFC North, Adam Hoge had the NFC/AFC West, Cam Ellis picked for the NFC/AFC South and Bryan Perez went with the NFC/AFC East. We used the initial draft order, so the Bears still picked at No. 3 and the Chiefs and Texans were not able to trade up (though the Saints still picked at No. 32, having traded Brandin Cooks to the Patriots before the draft). 

There were a ton of far-reaching implications from this we'll get into later here on NBC Sports Chicago. For now...

Click here for the re-picked 2017 NFL Draft

Why Khalil Mack was in 'disbelief' watching Myles Garrett-Mason Rudolph incident

Why Khalil Mack was in 'disbelief' watching Myles Garrett-Mason Rudolph incident

Khalil Mack plays with emotion, but doesn’t let that emotion impact how he plays.

It’s how he compartmentalized his feelings prior to and during the Bears’ Week 5 game against the Oakland Raiders, the team that traded him to Chicago just before the start of the 2018 season. It’s how he hasn’t shown any frustration with getting double- and triple-teamed over the last few weeks, in which he only has one sack since Akiem Hicks went on injured reserve. 

And it’s why he was able to provide an interesting perspective on the shocking incident involving Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett on Thursday night, which led to Garrett being suspended indefinitely by the NFL. 

“It was kind of like a disbelief moment,” Mack said of his reaction to Garrett hitting Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. “But ultimately it’s definitely something you don’t want to see transpire. 

“Football is an emotional game, right, but you have to know how to control those emotions. It was real crazy.”

It’s hard not to have an opinion on the Browns-Steelers melee. One Bears offensive lineman defended Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who received a three-game ban for kicking and punching Garrett after Rudolph was hit with his helmet (the gist of the defense: You have to be there to defend your quarterback). Other players took to social media to point out Rudolph’s role in instigating the brawl. 

While Garrett may not have started the fight, though, he escalated it to the point where it’ll be attached to his name for the rest of his career. 

“I learned a long time ago, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it,” Mack said. “And so, yeah. It’s one of those learning moments.” 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.