It sure looks like the Chicago Bears have a plan in mind. It comes down to one of two things. Either they will go after a quarterback of their choosing, or they’ll stay put at #20 and take the best offensive player on the board. Maybe they consider a cornerback if one happens to drop that they just can’t pass up. No other position seems remotely like an option at this point.
Is that wise though? GM Ryan Pace has made his mantra from the start that he will take the best player available. Even if that player might not necessarily be at a position of need. So here’s a hypothetical. Would he consider taking a pass rusher at #20? This despite having Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn as starters and having drafted Trevis Gipson last year?
If they do stay put, that could end up being a tough decision.
Current projections are a number of intriguing pass rushers that should be available at that spot. None more so than Gregory Rousseau out of Miami. Former exec/GM Gil Brandt has a high opinion of the young player. So much in fact that he earned a comparison to Pro Bowl rusher and two-time Super Bowl champion Jason Pierre-Paul. He even hints Rousseau has the capability to be even better.
“These players aren’t exactly alike. The taller (6-7 to 6-4 3/4) Rousseau was a more accomplished college player, demonstrating high-end productivity with a 15.5-sack 2019 season, whereas JPP managed just 6.5 sacks (but 16.5 tackles for loss) at South Florida in 2009. That said, they did post similar 40 times (4.69 for Rousseau, 4.71 for JPP) and vertical jumps (30 for Rousseau, 30.5 for JPP), plus identical broad-jump marks (9-7).”
Rousseau is one of several prospects that teams are fascinated by both because of the talent but also the mystery. He only played one full season for Miami in 2019, choosing to opt out of playing in 2020 due to the pandemic. Yet that season was a big one, collecting 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. Just a dominant season that was only eclipsed by eventual #2 overall pick Chase Young.
Jason Pierre-Paul would be a home run pick for the Bears
One must consider the circumstances. Mack and Quinn are both in their 30s now. Both suffered from health issues last season. Gipson didn’t show much progress as a rookie either. If the team wanted to get a head start on finding their next great pass rusher, then grabbing Rousseau would make a ton of sense. He, Roquan Smith, and Jaylon Johnson could potentially form the future nucleus of the Bears defense.
If he is like Jason Pierre-Paul, nobody will end up hating that pick in the long run. The truth is though, the likelihood of it happening is remote. Everything this offseason has pointed to the Bears trying to fix the offense. Hardly a surprise considering it’s been the constant thing dragging this team down for the past several years. Still, if the board falls in such a way where Rousseau is far and away the best available. Then Pace may not feel shy about taking him.
Chicago was founded on defense after all.
As of now though, their eyes are elsewhere. Head coach Matt Nagy wants to score more points. He wants his own quarterback. There is no reason to feel upset about that. It’s a QB-driven league and has been for a long time. Andy Dalton may be the guy in 2021, but they need somebody who can carry this team into the future. Barring that, then somebody who can help Dalton win and save some jobs.