By Bryan Dietzler
If you have been keeping track of what has been happening on social media or message boards, Chicago Bears fans have been saying that the team’s biggest need is at quarterback. That is a given. The Bears have struggled at the positon for so long it’s hard for fans to remember when they had a true winning quarterback. Can Bears’ fans even say they have seen a winning franchise quarterback in recent memory? Not really.
When Jay Cutler came to the Bears in 2009 he was thought to be the “chose one”. The organization and the fans thought that he would save the team and get the them to the Super Bowl. He had his ups and downs (mostly downs) during his career in Chicago. Some of it can be blamed on Cutler himself while there were problems that were not his fault.
Some of the things that were out of his control included coaching changes, specifically with the offensive coordinators. He didn’t have much consistency as he was constantly learning a new offense. His offensive lines have traditionally been very weak and have underperformed. The blame cannot rest entirely on him.
But he has traditionally had poor decision making skills, injury concerns (granted he can’t control those) and has not been the ideal teammate in some people’s eyes. The promise of taking the Bears to the Super Bowl has never panned out and some feel they have wasted time with him.
The time for the Bears to part ways with Cutler is now. And now is the time to find his replacement.
Let’s assume that Chicago does not get their “franchise” quarterback through free agency or from a trade. Maybe they will get a bridge quarterback but still need to draft a “long term solution” at quarterback this year. Who might they draft? Which quarterbacks could be the best available.
For this article, we are going to have the assumption that the Bears could take a quarterback in the first, second or third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. We will look at the top prospects, per round, that could interest the Bears.
The Bears could choose to move down in the first round and collect additional picks on their way down. If they do that, that could throw everything off but for now, let’s assume they stay at number three.
Taking a quarterback that early is a huge risk. It can either make your team a success (Andrew Luck is a good example) or a failure (see Jamarcus Russell). You must tread lightly here.
Should Chicago decide to roll the dice on a quarterback in the first round, here are the three they should consider (in no particular order):
DeShaun Watson-Clemson-There are some that consider Watson to be the number one quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s got a ton of talent and a lot of skill but there are still some questions surrounding his ability to become an NFL starter. The Bears will look at him, however, because he could help right the ship and become their new starting franchise quarterback. He’s got the talent to that and that can’t be denied.
I bet if you took a poll of Bear’s fans, most them would probably agree that the Bears should choose Watson. It might be the right choice but the Bears need to weigh their options carefully.
DeShone Kizer-Notre Dame-Kizer comes from a program that did not win a lot of games but scouts love him more for his ability than ability to win. Kizer must prove that he is as talent as they think he is but he may be able to rise above the other quarterbacks in the draft. Depending on who you are reading, he is either a high first to high second round pick. We will see how the pre-draft workouts go.
Mitch Trubisky-University of North Carolina-There are some that think that Trubisky is the best quarterback in the draft. The reality about him is that he has the least starting experience of most of the guys in the draft and that can scare some teams. The Bears will surely take that into consideration when looking at him and may choose another quarterback due to his lack of starts. But he has a lot of talent and if a team wants to develop him further (take the time to) they could have a good long term option.
He may be the best “long term” option of all the quarterbacks in the first round.
We won’t pick which one the Bears should take just yet. But if they go for a first round quarterback, it should be one of the three previously mentioned. That is, unless someone sneaks into the top of the first round which could easily happen.
The second round of the 2017 NFL Draft has limited talent at the quarterback position as it grades out right now. There are some that believe that Kizer could fall into the early second and perhaps the Bears could grab him there. But if he goes before that, they may not have much to choose from in the second round.
Who is the lone player that is rated a second pick right now?
Brad Kaaya-Miami (Fla)-If you have followed Kaaya’s career, you will see that he is a consistent playmaker who understands the game. He is smart and makes good decisions throwing the ball. He did come out a year early but even though he is a junior, he plays like he more experienced. Some seem to think he could be a sleeper in this year’s draft. He is this writer’s favorite pick, at quarterback, for the Bears right now.
Kaaya may not be able to start right away so the Bears will want to get a bridge quarterback in free agency or among the guys they have on the roster. They could let him sit for a year, learn then step in and be their quarterback of the future. But that’s if they pick him.
There are a couple of quarterback prospects that are rated as third rounders at this time. This will change as workouts and the combine showcase more of these player’s talents. These quarterbacks would likely not be starters in their first season in the NFL. They would have to learn behind an experienced veteran quarterback. They are:
Nathan Peterman-Pittsburgh-Peterman was quietly one of the better quarterbacks in college. He is also a popular sleeping pick with some experts. With some experience, he could end up being a decent starter but he’s not ready to start right away. Peterman did have a winning record in school but he wasn’t “NFL consistent”. Hopefully he can learn consistency and build himself into a franchise quarterback NFL. He can put up good numbers, he’s intelligent and he could be a solid starting quarterback at some point.
Patrick Mahomes-Texas Tech-Mahomes comes into the 2017 as a junior and may move his draft stock forward as time goes on. Some say he could be a good fit for the Bears if they decide to skip taking a first round quarterback. Why is that? Mahomes has been tabbed as being a future franchise quarterback. He has the physical tools, the intelligence and the skill to become a solid starter in the NFL someday.
There are those that believe that he could be the best future franchise quarterback in the draft. They also say he would not be an immediate starter. Could this be the guy the bears need the to take? Could he be the long-term answer in Chicago?
The Bears could dig deeper but the talent they seek is not there in later rounds. It has been said that this is not a strong quarterback class so if the Bears are going to do something, they need to do it at the top of the draft.
Which of these quarterbacks should the Bears take? Should they even take a quarterback? What are your thoughts?