It seems each week this offseason the Chicago Bears have been linked to a different veteran quarterback. Some rumors have had legit juice behind them, while others have just been insiders connecting dots. But regardless, everyone can see just how desperate for an upgrade to their QB room the Bears are.
While thoughts of Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, and Derek Carr have been fun, there’s no guarantee there’ll be an open chair at Halas Hall when the music stops playing.
It’s certainly possible when the league year opens up on March 17 — signaling free agency opening and trades becoming official — that the Bears could still be trying to figure out their next quarterback.
If the Bears are still working through their quarterbacking options on April 29, opening night of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bears could find their guy in the first round, and depending on how the board falls, they could find their guy by staying put at 20 overall.
In the latest mock draft from the football writers at The Athletic, Kevin Fishbain has the Bears taking the fifth QB off their board, Alabama’s Mac Jones.
Unless GM Ryan Pace lands Watson or Derek Carr from the Raiders, he has to consider using a first-round pick on a quarterback after not taking any since trading up for Mitch Trubisky in 2017. Four years ago, Pace said it was Trubisky’s accuracy that jumped out. Well, how about a 77.4 percent completion rate from Jones last season to go along with 41 touchdowns and four picks? Not to mention the fact that Jones has one-and-a-half seasons of tape as a starter and a national title, while Trubisky had one year and a loss in the Sun Bowl. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler refers to Jones as a high-floor, low-ceiling NFL starter. Based on the history of Bears quarterbacks, the franchise should be content with that.
There were some top rated offensive linemen still on the board when Fishbain took Jones, including Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw and Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield, but this is a fairly deep o-line class so the Bears would be able to get a quality player for the trenches in the second-round.
Most analysts agree that the QB cutoff this year comes after the top five, so if the Bears are unable to address the position via trade or free agency, Jones could be their best bet. Waiting on a quarterback could leave them with Georgia’s Jamie Newman, Florida’s Kyle Trask, or an even bigger project.
The common knock on Jones is his lack of athleticism, but he’s able to move around more than casual fans think. He’s no Michael Vick but he’s no Byron Leftwich either. He can scramble enough, but more importantly, he has a good feel for the pocket and he’s able to move around to find good throwing lanes.
In yesterday’s press conference, Bears head coach Matt Nagy talked about the traits he looks for in a quarterback, and while it likely wasn’t intentional, he did describe Mac Jones. In no particular order, Nagy said he’s looking for a QB with leadership skills, is a good decision maker, and while he’d like a great athlete, his system could work around someone that wasn’t a scrambler.
I still believe the Bears will be making a larger splash with their first round pick this year, but I wouldn’t be totally opposed to seeing Jones in Chicago.
The Athletics’ Chris Burke dropped his latest Mock Draft today, and he also had the Bears taking Jones at 20.
Jones comes with a mixed bag of opinions about his upside. So, here’s what we know: He played and won on a huge stage (albeit with elite talent around him), he’s a pinpoint passer in short to intermediate windows, and he was phenomenal at the Senior Bowl. This wouldn’t be a sit-and-wait pick. Jones still can step in and compete for the starting gig on Day 1.
Jones is also the fifth QB off his board, and Burke thinks that the Bears are likely to trade up if one of the top four quarterbacks start to fall.
If they didn’t address the QB spot via trade or free agency, would you want to see the Bears draft Jones if the actual draft fell this way?