Ryan Pace’s reluctance to add rookie quarterbacks has been a hot topic for several years now, but with just two 30-something QBs signed to his current Chicago Bears roster, the 2021 NFL Draft seems to be the prime time for him to pick one.
The Bears only have newly signed Andy Dalton (their 33-year old QB1), and hold over Nick Foles (their 32-year old back) on the roster right now, so adding a rookie this draft makes sense.
If both Dalton and Foles are in the plans for this year, those two have plenty of knowledge and wisdom they could impart on a rookie, which is something Pace mentioned at his press conference earlier today.
“If we did draft a quarterback, it’s a good room for sure,” Pace said at his pre-draft presser this morning. “Both (QBs) have a lot of experience. A lot of different experiences, too, which is good. The coaching staff that we have there is strong as well. It’s a strong coaching staff around that position. We have a lot of veteran leadership in that room, too. I do think it’d be a good room for a young player to enter. But again, we’re just going to take the best players throughout this draft.”
Everything we’ve seen from the team since the 2020 season concluded points to desperation to improve the QB room, and while Dalton should be an upgrade, he was the clearly the fallback plan to the fallback plan.
Pace may be the man tasked with making the final decision on a rookie, the Bears have said that it’ll be a collaborative scouting effort with input from head coach Matt Nagy, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, and QB coach John DeFilippo.
“But what’s cool about with Matt and with Lazor and with Flip, there’s certain positions (where) I think it is valuable if you’ve played that position, and I think quarterback is one of those,” Pace said. “And all three of those guys have played the position at different levels, and I think it comes into play as we’re talking about that position and just the different perspective they have on it and the different angle they have on it as we have our draft meetings.”
It’s doubtful one of the top quarterback prospects is going to fall to the Bears at 20, and those second tier QBs shouldn’t be in play at 20, but Pace is willing to move up or down to get his guy.
“As an organization, we’ve got to be ready for every single scenario,” Pace said. And by every scenario he’s talking about “trading up, staying put, trading back; all those things are in play for us.”
Depending on how the board falls, and what the 49ers do at 3, there could be a viable trade target for the Bears to go up and get. If the Bears are outbid trying to trade up, then moving back to add some picks while getting their rookie QB could be an option as well.
There’s been a lot of draft buzz surrounding those second-tier QBs (Kyle Trask, Davis Mills, and Kellen Mond) moving up draft boards, so don’t be surprised if they go higher than the analyst have them ranked.
Then again, the Bears just staying put and letting the board some to them may be the smartest way to go, even if that means they’ll end up with a day three quarterback. Sure that’s not very exciting, but I’d rather see that than see the Bears overdraft a quarterback just because.
You can check out Pace’s full press conference in the embed below from the Bears YouTube channel.