Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace took an unorthodox approach to the 2017 NFL draft by selecting three of five players from below the FBS level. However, Chicago’s rookie class turned out to be one of the lone bright spots in John Fox’s final season.
Grade: Above average
Best rookie: Fourth-round pick Tarik Cohen out of North Carolina A&T. Cohen is an all-purpose threat who was named a second alternate to the Pro Bowl for special teams. Cohen was the first NFL rookie since Gale Sayers in 1965 to score touchdowns via rushing, receiving, passing and punt return in a single season. The 5-foot-6 speedster is the most dynamic playmaker on Chicago’s roster. Safety Eddie Jackson also had a strong rookie year in the Bears' secondary.
Most improved rookie: First-round pick Mitchell Trubisky out of North Carolina. Trubisky experienced growing pains as a rookie but appeared to get more comfortable -- the final game at Minnesota notwithstanding -- as the year wore on. Trubisky, who started 12 games, passed Kyle Orton to have the most passing yards by a rookie in team history.
Most disappointing rookie: Fifth-round pick Jordan Morgan spent the entire year on injured reserve. Morgan never challenged for a role in the preseason. Also, second-round-choice tight end Adam Shaheen finished the year with only 12 catches and was inactive the last three weeks. More was expected out of second-rounder.
Jury is still out on ... : Trubisky, of course. The second overall pick is under immense pressure to develop into a franchise passer. Trubisky flashed his potential in 2017, but he needs to make a giant leap in Year 2 for Chicago to be a viable playoff contender. It’s imperative the Bears pair Trubisky with the right head coach.