Pro Football Focus published their breakdown of every team’s best value draft pick since 2006, and for the Chicago Bears, its safety Eddie Jackson.
Jackson joined the Bears as a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and quickly emerged as one of the best playmaking safeties in the NFL. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2018 and is a two-time Pro Bowl selection. Jackson’s played and started in 76 games.
Jackson’s on-field play has regressed a bit over the last two seasons, but that doesn’t take away from his incredible draft value. “He’s one of the best quarter-coverage safeties in the NFL,” PFF’s Mike Renner wrote, “and his 94.7 coverage grade in 2018 is one of the highest single-season figures in PFF’s history.”
Jackson is a logical choice as the Bears’ best draft value since 2006, but wide receiver Darnell Mooney could overtake him this season. Mooney was selected in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft and has already emerged as the Chicago Bears’ primary pass-catcher. He topped 1,000 receiving yards in 2021 and should shatter his career-highs this season. With how crazy the wide receiver market has become, having a legitimate playmaker on a day-three rookie contract is an incredible advantage.
If all goes according to plan, though, quarterback Justin Fields will emerge as the Bears’ best draft value. Selected 10th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, Fields is entering his first season as the Chicago Bears unquestioned starter. His upside is massive. In fact, he can have a similar impact on the Bears that Josh Allen has had on the Buffalo Bills. Allen was a first-round pick, too, and is PFF’s choice as Buffalo’s best draft value.
For now, the distinction belongs to Jackson. He deserves it. Jackson’s been a stud, even if the last two years haven’t lived up to he incredible standard he set early in his career.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today. His NFL Draft and Bears coverage has also been featured on The Draft Network.