Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz are gone. Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans are in a standoff. Derek Carr isn’t available (so far). Dak Prescott too. The veteran options for the Chicago Bears at quarterback appear to be thinning. Enough to where GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy have to make a tough decision. Do they wait the market out a little longer? Do they try to land the best second-tier guy they can or do they shift their focus to the draft where guys like Trey Lance and Mac Jones may be their only realistic options?
This third option terrifies a lot of Bears fans. Lance feels like another Mitch Trubisky to them. A great physical talent who has a live arm and can run. Yet he’s only started one season in his college career. All of it against FCS-level competition. Jones? It’s hard to determine how much of his success in 2020 was his own. While he threw 41 touchdowns and won the national championship, he was already surrounded by elite talent and coaching. So how much of that success was him?
Is his draft standing elevated by where he comes from?
When looking at the pure physical gifts? Jones doesn’t come across as special in any category. He’s around 6’2, has an okay arm, and is mobile enough to escape pressure but isn’t a pure runner. His strengths lay in his excellent pocket feel, his ability to process the field quickly, and his accurate passing. While important traits to have, those aren’t enough for some to invest a 1st round pick in.
Todd McShay of ESPN thinks the Bears are one of the teams who would and should. In his recent mock draft, he had them trading up to #12 overall to select the Alabama quarterback. Former Jets and Dolphins GM Mike Tannenbaum not only felt this would be a good move for Chicago but perhaps even a steal.
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 21, 2021
Mac Jones does represent what Matt Nagy would like
It’s important to remember the Bears head coach is a huge factor in this search. It’s his offensive system so he’ll need the right quarterback to run it. Everything up to this point since 2018 has suggested he has certain priorities at the position. Physical attributes are important, but football intelligence is huge. This is why names like Gardner Minshew, Tom Brady, and Teddy Bridgewater have emerged as targets at various points over the past two years.
He wants guys who grasp the mental challenges of the game. They can see the field well, diagnose what defenses are trying to do, and make the necessary adjustments to beat them. Forget being able to throw the football well. Do they know where to go with the football in given situations and can they come off their first read when it isn’t there? These are all problems Trubisky ran into throughout his Bears tenure. Mac Jones, for his part, seems far better at handling such challenges.
That is why people should not ignore him.
If the Bears don’t make a significant move at quarterback next month, then the draft will become a major discussion heading into April. There is no telling where the top five quarterbacks end up. Some believe they can all be gone within the first 12-15 picks. Others think at least one of them falls to the bottom of the 1st or even top of the 2nd. If it happens to be Jones or somebody else of note? Then Chicago will be the team to watch.