Bernstein: Bears Stay Safe, Smart With First 2 Picks

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(670 The Score) Just as so many of us are biding time revisiting favorite movies, baking our own bread or gorging on macaroni and cheese, there's nothing at all wrong with the similarly satisfying way Bears general manager Ryan Pace approached his two second-round draft picks Friday night.

Pace didn't overcook this one, resisting any urge to trade either the 43rd or the 50th overall selection to move in either direction on the board or to reach for something unexpected. Instead, he recognized not only that this was a uniquely large crop of first-round-level talent that had spilled well into the second day but that other teams' positional decisions were increasing the likelihood that he would be able to address two glaring needs.

So first came tight end Cole Kmet from Notre Dame in what felt like an old-fashioned Bears pick, recalling a time not even that long ago when teams drafted much more regionally, at times defaulting to local kids from area schools and those with personal connections who made for an easy sell to fans. There are no signs that this is the particular case here, however, as the athletic and versatile Kmet was also listed by several draft analysts as the top tight end available this year.

In his teleconference with reporters, Pace described Kmet as "your classic Y tight end, with the prototypical size and the athleticism we look for in that position." 

"It's just hard to find these Y tight ends that are really well-rounded," he said.

It's good to know, because it tells us that Kmet now has the chance to be what 2017 second-rounder Adam Shaheen never became -- an in-line player tasked both with blocking and receiving responsibilities. It also confirms that the recently signed Jimmy Graham will be strictly the U tight end, more of a glorified wideout deployed to find individual mismatches. Graham can't block and won't block, and now it's confirmed they'll try to not even bother to ask him to block.

Defensive back was next on Pace's shopping list, and Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson was an unlikely find at No. 50. Of the four NFL.com analysts who submitted 2020 mock drafts, two had Johnson going 22nd overall and one projected him as high as 19th. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report slotted him 29th, and Mel Kiper of ESPN had him 25th.

Johnson is a big, quick, agile and physical boundary corner who should have every chance to succeed Prince Amukamara as the starter across the field from Kyle Fuller whenever the next real game is played. His post-combine surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder didn't put off Bears' doctors, the same ones who gave the green light to the selection of Eddie Jackson in the fourth round in 2017 despite the broken leg he suffered during the previous season. Pace addressed any concerns directly, saying he and his staff were "very comfortable" with Johnson's medical reports.

And that's as aptly a way as any to sum up a night that saw the Bears make themselves a better team without feeling the need to do anything other than exercise the picks they owned.

"Once we knew those players were going to be there," Pace said, "we were excited to select them at those points."

Sometimes comfortable is just fine.

Dan Bernstein is the host of the Dan Bernstein Show on middays from 9 a.m. until noon on 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.