This NFL draft is not normal. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed how this one is going to unfold. Teams usually have the scouting combine and other activities to pull from. Not only do they not have that this year, but they also don’t have game film on several top prospects. Many of whom opted out from playing in 2020. So with several of these kids, teams are forced to rely on their film from 2019. This is especially irksome regarding the quarterbacks Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears have to evaluate.
Several of the top names either played shortened season this past year or didn’t play at all. Yet a team like the Bears needs fresh blood at the position. So they’re forced to go out on a limb even more so than usual. With no scouting combine numbers and pro days notoriously unreliable, they’ll have to lean on game tape like never before. Keeping this in mind, which QB fits what Nagy and the Bears best? Former player and top ESPN analyst Matt Bowen was posed this exact question by Jeff Joniak on Bears All-Access.
His answer was an enlightening one.
This isn’t the first mention of Davis Mills and the Bears.
Connections to him began a couple of weeks ago when quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo was spotted working the young QB out at the Stanford pro day. He was pretty hands-on about it too. Then this past week Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network revealed that Mills is somebody the Bears “really like” and are keeping a close eye on. Now with Bowen saying the film points the QB to Chicago? It’s hard not to connect the dots.
What makes this so difficult is the circumstances. Bowen called Mills a “traits” guy. What does that mean? It means any team selecting him would be going more off his natural talent than his productivity. That is because Mills only started 13 games in his college career. This is due to some knee problems and then the onset of the pandemic. He finished with just 438 total passes. Less than what Mitch Trubisky threw at North Carolina.
Matt Nagy will have to trust his ability to coach with Mills
Everybody remembers what happened with Trubisky. That lack of experience came back to bite him as it was clear almost from the outset that he wasn’t ready for the speed of the NFL. The same problem faces Mills. Why is he any different? Nobody can say for sure. All anybody knows at this point is he’s a talented young man who showed flashes of brilliance on tape. His crowning moment was probably the game against UCLA.
After taking a 20-3 in the first half, Stanford watched the Bruins mount a furious comeback to take a 34-20 into the 4th quarter. Most that courtesy of three ugly interceptions Mills threw, the last being a pick-six with 5:39 left. Did that deter the QB? Not even a little. On the next series, he went 7-of-10 for 71 yards including an 11-yard touchdown pass. Then after a UCLA fumble, he accounted for all 72 yards on a nine-play drive to tie the game.
Stanford won 48-47 in overtime.
When talking about mental fortitude, that is the kind of stuff Matt Nagy and other coaches love to see. Does the QB dwell on his mistakes or does he forget about them? Mills demonstrated he can move to the next play. It isn’t hard to see the appeal. The question becomes whether the Bears can get him without having to reach too early.