As crazy as it sounds, has rookie Darnell Mooney saved the Matt Nagy and Ryan Bess jobs this year?
When asked why he believed Nagy and Pace were making meaningful progress toward winning the Super Bowl, George McCasky referred to key personnel decisions such as drafting Mooney in the fifth round of the 2020 Draft.
“We have added some talented players this year,” said McCasky. “Darnell Mooney is a good example. Low-level draft selection found by Ryan and Matt, which has blossomed this year and has become an essential part of our attack.
“We need to keep doing more of that.”
Mooney has been a hugely influential player in the attack this year, jumping on both Anthony Miller and Riley Ridley in the depth chart. He grabbed 61 balls for 631 yards and four touchdowns. This 61 catch broke the Harlon Hill franchise record for most receptions by a freshman stopping in 1954.
Realistically speaking, Mooney alone didn’t save Pace’s job. During his tenure, Pace showed a penchant for good selection in middle rounds of drafts. Other notable picks include David Montgomery (No. 73 overall), Eddie Jackson (No. 112 overall), Tarek Cohen (No. 119 overall), and Bilal Nichols (No. 145 overall). Until the end of the season, Javon Wims (# 224 overall) looked like a steal, too.
But for every mid-tour cool pick, there is a shocking early pick to negate. Sure, Roquan Smith (No. 8 overall) showed his makings for the cornerstone player after the Breakout 2020 campaign. But Mitchell Tropesky (No. 2 overall), Kevin White (No. 7 overall), Leonard Floyd (No. 9 overall) were all on alert. . When you have the opportunity to choose from the top 10 players, you must hit an influential player. Unfortunately for the Bears family, Pace took advantage of three of his four opportunities.
But if there is a center to compensate for those mistakes, it is a center-back. Once again, Pace – and to some extent Nagy – failed to get it right. Sure enough, Nagy had nothing to do with signing Mike Glennon, but was brought in to develop Trubisky. That was a failure. Furthermore, he teamed up with Pace to trade for Nick Foles, who has looked worse than Trubisky at times this season.
For all these failures, the pair will get a chance to collaborate once again to fix the center-back. Maybe they’ll run into some draft choices in the middle round, too.