Ryan Pace is the reigning Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year and has built one of the NFL’s most talented young rosters.But much as in Major League Baseball, nobody bats .1000.
In fact the MLB career record for batting average belongs to Ty Cobb at .366, meaning he missed on just less than 6 ½ out of every 10 trips to the plate.
In the NFL, if three or four out of every 10 free agents you sign or players you draft become quality starters, you may not be doing enough to take Pace’s award from him, but you’ll be in the ballpark.
So what exactly were the Bears thinking when they signed running back Mike Davis last March, and can he be an extra base hit or will he be a called third strike?
I can tell you this much: Davis couldn’t be happier to be in Chicago, and he isn’t the least bit concerned.
I asked him Wednesday why he thought Chicago would be the place for him and Davis told me, “I had a lot [of] interest coming out but you know I was looking at teams that were … that had a great quarterback, had a great offensive line and had a lot of weapons.
“This team had a lot of weapons.
“Especially, you know, even on defense, I knew I wanted to come out here and practice against those guys and make myself better every day.
“And watching throughout the season, I knew these guys had a lot of fun, so I just wanted to be a part of that.”
Still, many were surprised when the Bears’ first signing in free agency this offseason was a career backup running back that failed to make an impression in his stops in San Francisco and Seattle.
So we know why Davis chose the Bears, but why did the Bears choose him?
Shortly after signing Davis last March, Matt Nagy said, “With Mike, we saw somebody that … he was in a position in Seattle where he didn’t have a lot of tread [off] his tires, not a lot of carries, shared some carries.
“I liked his vision. I thought he had really good vision. He was a guy that can make you miss between the tackles. He has that in him.
“We liked that.”
Both Pace and Nagy have gone out of their way to talk about how impressed they’ve been with Davis during their offseason program, but they also used a lot of draft capital to grab David Montgomery and then doubled down at the position with Kerrith Whyte four rounds later.
And frankly, with almost no exhibition game action, Davis hasn’t exactly jumped off the practice field since the Bears left for Bourbonnais.
If that bothers Davis or he’s worried about competing with Tarik Cohen at all, he certainly isn’t saying so.
“There’s no competition between us. We’re all friends, we all know what we’re coming in for and we can all be put in different positions.
“So there’s no limit to any of the running backs.”
I asked him why he thinks he can be more productive with the Bears, and he pointed to his head coach.
“I just feel like I’m able to do it all. It’s a great offense. Coach Nagy does a great job with putting players where they should be.
“It’s just all about where you’re at.
“Really, the plays Coach Nagy draws up are amazing schemes and he looks at everything and in this offense I can be put everywhere. So, I’m loving it.”
The bottom line is we’re just not going to know what the Bears have in Davis on the field until we get at least a few weeks into the season, but there’s no doubt in his mind he made the right call on Chicago.
“You know, downtown is beautiful, and it’s not as far from home (Atlanta), so I’m loving that.
“I’ve been downtown a couple of times, I’ve been to the ‘Bean,’ done a little bit of shopping and the food is freakin’ awesome here, I love the food.”
He seems like a great kid, hard not to root for.
Let’s hope he makes Chicago love him as much as he already loves it.