Most of the quarterback conversations around the Chicago Bears sit squarely in the veteran market. The widespread belief is they are looking for somebody with experience who is an upgrade over Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles. It appears Russell Wilson is their target of opportunity at the moment with Deshaun Watson also in the mix. Obviously, either one would be a gigantic get.
That doesn’t mean such a possibility happens. GM Ryan Pace said the team must be prepared to pivot towards any eventuality. If they miss out on the prime veteran options, is it possible they shift their attention to the draft? Pace has only selected one quarterback in his career to this point. So it would be a bit of a surprise. Then again all streaks are made to be broken.
Who might they pick up if that were to happen?
That depends on when they decide to make the pick. Will it be in the 1st round or might they wait to add somebody in the later rounds? If it’s the latter, then one name that is sure to be on their board is Sam Ehlinger. He had a long, productive career at Texas throwing for over 11,000 yards with 94 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. He also ran for over 1,900 yards with 33 touchdowns. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com sees an athletic, accurate QB with some arm deficiencies.
“Highly touted dual-threat quarterback from the Austin area who put together four solid but somewhat unspectacular years at Texas. They don’t come much tougher than Ehlinger at the position, and his intangibles are as good as you could ask for. He’s a very average passer, but can deliver most throws with good enough accuracy and velocity to hit the open target.
He doesn’t have a plus arm and could struggle to fit throws into tight windows or make big completions throwing on the move. His deep ball accuracy is a step below average but he’s fairly effective throwing with anticipation on intermediate routes. He’s not an explosive runner, although he gets tough yards on a consistent basis as a scrambler and on called runs.”
Ehlinger would make for an interesting developmental project to say the least. He has the sort of leadership and athletic traits head coach Matt Nagy looks for. Can he be a good enough pocket passer though? Somebody who reads defenses and can adjust on the fly? Luckily for the Bears, they have a certain person on their coaching staff to answer those questions.
Sam Ehlinger working with Patrick Mahomes’ trainer…
77 yard dot😳
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 6, 2021
Tom Herman arrival gives Chicago Bears major insight
Chicago recently made one of the more interesting hires of the offseason when they secured Herman as an offensive analyst. It was a bit of a surprise considering the man was a head coach in college just last season. The school he ran? Texas. A job he’d held since 2017. The same year Ehlinger became the starter. So it’s safe to say the new Bears assistant has all the details one could want on the young quarterback.
He knows the strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, he has a good grasp of whether the guy can make it at the NFL level. Before becoming a head coach in 2015, Herman was a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. That position is a specialty of his. He understands what Nagy would be looking for in somebody he may want to develop.
Chicago certainly has good reasons to be interested.
Not just because Ehlinger is an intriguing prospect. The Chicago Bears don’t really have any depth to speak of at quarterback. Mitch Trubisky and Tyler Bray are both free agents. That only leaves Nick Foles on the roster. Adding somebody like Ehlinger late in the draft would be a good way to secure some young, cheap depth they can tinker with moving forward. That is unless Herman cautions them to look elsewhere.
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