The Chicago Bears need a quarterback.
It’s no secret, it’s not even a new or interesting idea, it’s one that could be said about nearly any Bears team over the last 67 years.
The problem is that this might not be the best year to take a quarterback. A relatively weak quarterback class has no clear-cut top prospect, with questions about most of the players in it.
Following the NCAA National Championship game a couple weeks ago, the hottest QB name among draft prospects has been Deshaun Watson.
Watson capped off an incredible career at Clemson with a dramatic championship game, leading the game winning drive in the final seconds.
While there is still a long way to go in the draft process and there are still a great number of unknowns, I thought of a hypothetical that I thought would be worth exploring.
Not that if Watson is worthy of the third overall pick or how he projects to be but rather a “would you” scenario.
Would you want the Bears to draft Deshaun Watson if you knew he would be no better than Alex Smith?
Now before you rush down to the comments and say “Hell no! Alex Smith is a bust and a game manager at best! I wouldn’t want that at all” or “How can you say Watson is Alex Smith, he’s made way more plays!”
I’m not saying Watson is Smith or that that is the Clemson QB’s ceiling. This is a complete one-off thought experiment.
Smith has been in the league for 11 seasons now and the first four or five were not spectacular, for the purposes of this exercise I’m looking at his best five years.
Smith has been in the top ten for completion percentage for the last three seasons and among the top ten for lowest interception percentage for the last four seasons.
He consistently has a 2:1 TD to INT ratio, he protects the football and year in and out completes around 65 percent of his passes and has a QB rating of over 90.
However, he’s never been known as the guy who makes the big plays that win games or takes them over.
Should that matter?
The Bears have spent the better part of the last eight years asking, wondering and hoping if the QB they had with all the tools could put together consistency.
Consistency is something the Bears have been missing at the quarterback spot for years in a variety of ways: stats, starts and starters.
If the Bears knew that Watson could be consistent and reliable but only to the level of an Alex Smith, with 65 percent completion percentage, around 3,500 yards and 20 TDs with about 8 INTs would you still take him?
It’s tantalizing to think about. You can be guaranteed a level of production the franchise hasn’t sniffed since the ‘40s. But with a strong running game from Jordan Howard and a defense that is improving and could be a top unit, it could be enough.
Or would you rather roll the dice on a player that could maybe put up Tom Brady numbers but could also be Rex Grossman or Jay Cutler 2.0.
To borrow an analogy from a different sport: it’s always tempting swing for the fences, but after striking out so many times, would it hurt to settle for a double?