Some of that has been found with Pace’s late-round draft picks, such as 2016 fifth-round running back Jordan Howard and 2017 fourth-round back Tarik Cohen. Those were inspired choices, along with 2017 fourth-round safety Eddie Jackson, who has started and played relatively well as a rookie. The jury remains out on second-round tight end Adam Shaheen, who remains a work in progress.
In fact, it has been Pace’s higher selections that have received the most ambivalent reactions. Wide receiver Kevin White and pass rusher Leonard Floyd have not yet consistently performed like the top-10 picks they were, although injuries clearly have limited both players’ impact, especially White, who has barely played.
Along with Shaheen, second-rounders Cody Whitehair and Eddie Goldman are a mixed bag. They are starters who have played well at times but each has also experienced some sophomore struggles although Goldman appears to have overcome his in his third season.
Third-rounders Hroniss Grasu and Jonathan Bullard have contributed as reserves and replacement-level starters, but it’s hard to call either one future building blocks.
Pace’s free-agent haul — outside one notable addition — has not fared as well. Akiem Hicks was an A-plus signing, and he has earned every penny of the extension he recently signed, having played at a Pro Bowl level this season. Danny Trevathan and Josh Sitton also have been very good additions; the team doesn’t play as well when they are not on the field.
Others, such as right tackle Bobby Massie and defensive lineman Mitch Unrein, have done what has been expected of them and perhaps even a bit more.
But other positions have proven more difficult. With several misses at wide receiver and in the secondary, Pace’s work must be called out. Eddie Royal, Victor Cruz, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright, Tre McBride and others have not helped give Trubisky the pass catchers he has needed. (You can throw tight end Dion Sims in there too, to date.)
Corners Alan Ball and Tracy Porter and safety Antrel Rolle have been set free. Marcus Cooper and Quintin Demps have not proven to be money-well-spent investments to date. The same maybe can be said for Pernell McPhee, Prince Amukamara and Jerrell Freeman, even if all three are good players.
The biggest miss, of course, was quarterback Mike Glennon. He was benched after four weeks, so spending as much as they did — and appearing to outbid themselves in doing so — looks foolish now. The fact that quarterbacks Josh McCown and Case Keenum have played as well as they have at relatively bargain-basement prices for other teams makes the Glennon miss even more egregious.