While some expressed the thought that the Chicago Bears had other pressing needs, the team went with cornerback Jaylon Johnson. That could be their best move of the offseason.
Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace received much criticism for his moves this offseason. After the team finished with a record of 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years, many expected Pace to do whatever he could to fill the holes on the roster.
Pace made moves to do just that, but people really jumped on him for his choices. They said he overpaid for an aging tight end. Then he reached for another tight end in the draft. Also, the offensive line needed help. If possible, he should have drafted all offensive linemen.
Even when he finally relented and decided to create a real quarterback battle, people said he brought in the wrong guy and overpaid for him.
One move that Pace will receive praise for, however, is selecting cornerback Jaylon Johnson.
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Of course, that move received criticism as well. Johnson isn’t an offensive lineman, and he wasn’t a safety or a wide receiver, all positions considered more pressing. In fact, Pace actually got another cornerback later in the draft (don’t get me started on that move).
When (if?) the season begins, we’ll see that drafting Johnson was the best move Pace made in the offseason. Looking at his game film one sees that Johnson was born to be a Chicago Bears player. He is an aggressive corner who not only doesn’t shy away from tackling, but also loves tackling.
This move could be lightning striking in the same place twice. IN 2017, the Bears selected safety Eddie Jackson in the fourth round. Jackson was a first-round talent but suffered a bad leg injury. That injury scared teams away. Pace, though, took him and the rest is history. Jackson is now one of the top safeties in the NFL.
This is the same scenario with Johnson. He is also a first-round talent but he’s had some injuries so he fell, especially since this COVID-19 Virus wreaked havoc. Again, Pace swoops in and takes a chance.
Johnson is out to prove the doubters wrong
Six cornerbacks went ahead of Johnson. That really ticked him off and he’s out to show that those were six mistakes. He’s motivated to show how good he is, and the Chicago Bears are the benefactors.
There is a lot of talk around the league that Johnson is a real contender for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award winner in 2020. Doug Farrar, NFL analyst for USA Today’s Touchdown Wire, feels the same. Here is what he said about Johnson.
It’s a mystery why Johnson lasted until the 50th overall pick in the second round — the Utah cornerback never allowed an opponent passer rating higher than 57.6 in three high-target seasons… Johnson has the athleticism and diagnostic abilities to be one of the best NFL defenders in this draft class.
Adding Johnson to an already elite defense makes it tougher for teams to pass against this secondary. Teaming him with Kyle Fuller will create a ton of headaches for opposing wide receivers. The NFC North has some very good quarterbacks so having a tough secondary helps the Bears. If Johnson does succeed, we could see some big playoff games played in Chicago.