GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy aren’t going to tell anybody anything. Nor should they. The less the media knows about their intentions for the 2021 draft, the better. Giving other teams clear knowledge of their intentions is what leads to said teams actively trying to hurt their chances for players they may covet. Probably because they might want those same players too. This is why the Chicago Bears embrace this cloak and dagger approach.
What is generally accepted about this draft is the Bears are going to take a quarterback. Everything points in that direction. Having Andy Dalton on a one-year deal. The constant rumors that Nick Foles could be traded. They have no long-term option on the roster. Teams almost never let that stand for long. The only question is when and where will the Bears get their guy?
Will it be a trade up in the 1st round?
This is a possibility. Pace has never been shy about being aggressive early in drafts. He’s moved up from the top pick in three of the last six drafts he’s run. If he senses a chance to land a quarterback he and Nagy covet? It wouldn’t be a surprise at all if they made the move to go get him. At the same time, they’re at the mercy of the draft board. Sitting 20th overall makes it difficult for them to convince another team to make such a deal. Never mind the long odds of a guy they want falling far enough to move up for.
This is why they could go for an alternate approach. One that involves waiting until the second day of the draft. If that’s the case, insider Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network has it on good authority the Bears know who they want. Presuming a move up doesn’t materialize, he believes they’re hoping to grab somebody they were seen scouting extensively a couple of weeks ago.
“The sense I get talking to people is the Bears are almost desperate to come away with a quarterback in the first two rounds this year. If they can’t make a move to get one of the top five, Davis Mills of Stanford is a signal-caller they really like.”
Chicago Bears clearly know Mills is out there
This was proven when at Stanford’s pro day. There the young QB was spotted working with Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo who ran him through a number of passing drills. This included having him throw some difficult NFL-style passes to see if he was capable of doing so. Reports are he handled the challenge well. That is the sort of thing that makes a positive impression on a team.
Evaluators seem somewhat mixed on him. His arm strength and size are hard to deny. He demonstrates some impressive accuracy at times as well. The problem is he tends to be inconsistent with his decision-making and fundamentals. This could be attributed to the biggest concern of all. The fact Mills only started 11 games for Stanford. Much of that thanks to some knee problems and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Getting buzz: Stanford QB Davis Mills.
*5 star recruit out of HS
*Top QB in '17 recruiting class
*Red flag: Knee issues limited him to 11 college starts
*Pros: Showed poise, accuracy, drives ball downfield, etc
Likely day 2 pick – w/ developmental upside.pic.twitter.com/nLBc8TVSZk
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) April 16, 2021
So any team that drafts him will be taking a considerable risk.
The question is how long can the Chicago Bears wait before grabbing him? They have the 52nd pick in the 2nd round this year. That might be too late given the latent buzz around Mills. This could force Pace to do one of two things. Trade back to later in the 1st round and grab him there. Or they grab somebody at #20 and then trade up from #52 to grab him. Perhaps even at the bottom of the 1st so they can secure a 5th-year option in his contract.
It isn’t difficult to envision. While not the kind of splash some fans are hoping for, this could be a move that still ends up paying off down the road.