The best way to build a team that is competitive annually is through drafting well. Yes, the Super Bowl champion Patriots and NFC champion Falcons both had elite quarterback play, but without a surrounding cast created mostly through the draft, neither would have made to Super Bowl 51.
While the Bears aren’t anywhere near where they need to be to reach Super Bowl 52, their 2016 draft class put them on the right path.
According to Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network, the Bears pieced together one of the league’s best drafts. Ryan Pace’s 2016 class earned an A- grade .
Riding the coattails of Jordan Howard’s 1,313-yard season, Cody Whitehair’s impact blocking at the point of attack, and Leonard Floyd’s clear potential, the Bears – who didn’t have much going in their favor in the regular season – at least had strong contributions from their rookies.
Only five of the league’s 32 teams had a A-level grade for their draft, and only two – the Cowboys and the Falcons – had a higher grade.
As for what’s next, repeating with a second straight strong draft class would obviously put the Bears in a better position for 2017 and beyond.