Heading into free agency, the quarterback position is one of much discussion for the Bears.
With Mitchell Trubisky having disappointed through his first three seasons in the league, Chicago finds themselves in a difficult situation in which their roster is built to win now, but their quarterback is not up to par.
While many have talked about potential ways to provide competition to Trubisky — or to just replace him altogether — there remains a strong chance that one of the moves the Bears make at quarterback is designed with a long-term approach of finding a developmental backup.
Besides Trubisky, the last quarterback the Bears have drafted was David Fales in 2014. General manager Ryan Pace said in 2015 that it would be a “good idea” to add a quarterback each year, but he has only actually done so once in his five drafts with the team.
With Chase Daniel slated to hit free agency and Tyler Bray currently not on the roster, the Bears could very well be in the market for not just a veteran with starting experience, but another backup as well.
If they choose to draft a quarterback at some point on Day 3 of the draft, here are five prospects they would be wise to consider.
James Morgan, Florida International
With the Bears already having shown interest in James Morgan, it’s a legitimate possibility that he could be a target on Day 3.
The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Morgan is a strong-armed prospect with some potential to develop into a high-end backup. His passes have some impressive velocity behind them, which allows him to fit passes into tight windows. Not only can he deliver rockets from a clean pocket, but he’s able to make quality throws in off-platform situations as well. He has shown some flashes of pro-ready anticipation and timing behind his throws, and he’s able to hit his targets in stride more often than not.
Morgan is still developing between the ears, as he tends to force throws to his first read and fall apart mechanically under pressure. His ability to sense pressure and maneuver the pocket will definitely need some improving at the next level. However, if the Bears are willing to be patient with him, he could become a solid backup for them in the long run. Look for him to be a target around the fifth or sixth round.
Jake Luton, Oregon State
If the Bears want to take a tools-heavy approach to drafting a backup quarterback, then Jake Luton would be a smart investment to take a chance on.
Luton has one of the stronger arms in this year’s class, as his balls consistently have good velocity behind them. He plays with a good overall sense of touch behind his throws and can lead his receivers open with a well-delivered pass. His touchdown-to-interception ratio was fantastic in 2019, with 28 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. Carrying a bit of a gunslinger mentality, Luton isn’t afraid to take a shot downfield, but he doesn’t make too many bad decisions when stretching the field vertically. He can also execute RPOs well, as he does a good job of reading defenses to determine the right course of action. He’s also a sizable prospect at 6-foot-6 and 224 pounds.
As a six-year senior who redshirted in 2014 and suffered a spinal injury in 2017, Luton is a bit older for a draft prospect. He also doesn’t have much mobility or an ability to maneuver the pocket, and he has a tendency to only look at his first read at times. In the end though, he’s a high-upside quarterback prospect for a sixth- or seventh-round pick, and he’s a player the Bears would be wise to take a look at.
Cole McDonald, Hawaii
From a pure scheme standpoint, there are few quarterbacks who would fit the Bears as a Day 3 pick for their offense better than Cole McDonald.
McDonald is an accurate passer who consistently throws with good ball placement and anticipation. He excels at hitting his receivers in stride and leading them open. Though he’s not afraid to stretch the field, he does a good job of making mostly good decisions. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Rainbow Warrior had fantastic production in his last two collegiate seasons in throwing for 8,012 yards with 69 touchdowns. His mechanics are pretty polished, as his arm and hip rotations coincide with each other and his footwork in his dropbacks is good. He is also an athletic quarterback who can pick up yards with his feet, and his 4.58 50-yard dash backs that up.
He doesn’t have top-notch physical attributes — his arm strength is pedestrian, and his accuracy on the run could be improved — but his decision-making is a bit better than most Day 3 quarterback candidates. He’s still prone to the occasional bad read, but McDonald would be a good fit in an offense with a West Coast philosophy
Anthony Gordon, Washington State
If the Bears feel likely making a more aggressive move to add a developmental backup quarterback, Anthony Gordon could be a move they would consider.
The FBS regular season leader in passing yards, Gordon exploded onto the scene with 5,579 passing yards and 48 touchdowns in his lone season as Washington State’s starting quarterback. He consistently delivers his throws with good ball placement and a nice sense of touch. He’s a solid athlete for the position who can evade defenders in the pocket and extend the play with his feet if necessary. Unlike a lot of college quarterbacks, Gordon plays with good pocket awareness when pressure comes off the edge, and he has shown the ability to look past his first read and go through progressions in the pocket.
Gordon is a smaller quarterback at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, so there will be some concerns of durability in his game, especially considering he can be a bit too quick to tuck and run at times. His arm strength isn’t anything to call home about, which limits his upside to some extent. While he took advantage of his season as a starter, he doesn’t have the extensive starting experience that other players in this class do. Gordon should get drafted in the fourth or fifth round, and while that may be a bit too steep for what will essentially be a third-string quarterback this year, the Bears could pull the trigger if they fall in love with his game.
Tyler Huntley, Utah
Despite not being invited to the Combine, Tyler Huntley offers the potential to grow into a solid backup at the next level.
Huntley is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback with the ability to beat defenses with his arm and his legs. Through the air, he delivers passes with consistent accuracy and a good sense of timing behind them. He can dish out nice throws on the run and in off-platform situations, and his throws have some solid velocity behind them. On the ground, he’s one of the more athletic quarterbacks in the class, showing off great lateral quickness and the breakaway speed to turn a broken passing play into a big gain.
Huntley is pretty small at 6-foot-1 and 196 pounds, which could affect his stock a little bit. His throwing motion is a bit elongated, and his footwork when he drops back isn’t very polished. He’s also a bit of a one-read quarterback, and he has an extensive injury history, as he broke his collarbone in 2018 and battled with a foot injury in 2019. Though his durability and mechanics are concerning, he should be a sleeper prospect who could be available in the sixth or seventh round.