As details have continued to come out over the past week following the NFL draft, one thing is clear. Justin Fields was the guy the Chicago Bears wanted. He was their primary target at quarterback. That is why they placed phone calls to every team picking after the top three to get a gauge on what it would cost to move up. As conversations went on, it became clear getting into the top 10 was just too expensive. So GM Ryan Pace had to take a risk, hoping Fields might slip out.
He did. Once the Ohio State QB reached #11, the Bears finally found a willing trade partner in the Giants. The two sides struck a deal. New York got a future 1st round pick. Chicago got their quarterback. So what about the what-if scenario? Everybody likes to play them. What would’ve happened if Fields went to somebody before the Bears could jump up for him? Did they have a backup plan in mind?
They did indeed according to Dan Pompei of The Athletic.
Had Fields exited the picture, it seems like the Bears likely would’ve stayed put at #20. His sources believe Pace and the coaching staff had two players circled on their board for that spot.
“They also said if the Bears did not move up, they thought Chicago would have taken either Darrisaw, who went to the Vikings with the 23rd pick, or wide receiver Kadarius Toney, whom the Giants picked with the 20th selection acquired from the Bears.”
Both players had been mocked to the Bears a number of times leading into the draft. Darrisaw was viewed by many as the third-best tackle in the class behind Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater. It was a mild surprise he fell to #23. As for Toney? His mixture of speed, quickness, and acceleration made him a dangerous threat all over the field. Either would’ve been a solid addition to Chicago’s offense.
One would imagine if things happened that way, the team would’ve refocused on quarterbacks in the 2nd round. They would’ve had all three of the top options in that bracket including Davis Mills of Stanford, Kyle Trask of Florida, and Kellen Mond of Texas A&M. It would’ve been interesting to see how that draft class was received compared to what Bears fans ultimately got.
Chicago Bears no doubt are happy with the end result
Their desire was to make a splash at quarterback. To get Bears fans re-invested with the team’s direction and future. Snagging a talent like Fields was exactly what needed to happen. The reaction seen by people across Chicago and the country tells the entire story. This young man has superstar potential. With the right structure and a little luck, he can carry the franchise to extended success for years to come.
Would the same have been true if they’d added Darrisaw or Tony along with one of the 2nd or 3rd round QBs? Unlikely. The Chicago Bears would’ve been better to an extent, but not nearly to the extent they could be in the coming months. To land Fields at QB and then Teven Jenkins in the 2nd round, who might be just as good as Darrisaw? It was a fruitful 24 hours for Bears football.
Now the real fun begins.
Anticipation is already building for rookie minicamps. Training camp won’t be far behind. One can only imagine how high the ticket sales might be in August for the preseason. Bears fans eager for a chance to see their prized young quarterback in action. No way that happens for somebody like Mills, Trask, or Mond. The Bears knew what they had to do and they did it.