It’s not hard to understand why some people believe the Chicago Bears are in a bit of a no-mans-land regarding their quarterback plans for the upcoming 2021 draft. Moving up would be expensive and this team can’t afford to keep giving away future high draft picks. Yet staying put doesn’t seem to do them any favors either. Good quarterbacks tend not to fall to #20 in the draft too often.
So how does one handle such a situation? Luckily, the Bears aren’t in uncharted territory. Other teams have experienced this exact same scenario and navigated it successfully. The similarities are quite impressive. Back in 2018, the Baltimore Ravens were in a tough predicament. Longtime veteran Joe Flacco was coming off the worst season of his career, throwing for barely 3,100 yards and just 18 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. Considering the team went 9-7 despite that? It’s clear he was the primary root of the problem.
They needed alternatives at quarterback.
There was one problem. Thanks to how the season went, Baltimore had just the 16th pick in the 1st round. They had a choice to make. Do they pay the hefty price tag to jump into the top 10 where most of the prominent quarterbacks were expected to go? Or do they try a risky alternative? They chose the latter. Here is how it went down.
- Baltimore trade down to #22, receiving a 3rd round pick
- They traded down again to #25, adding a 5th round pick
- Drafted TE Hayden Hurst at #25
- Then they traded #52, a 4th, and a future 2nd to jump up to #32
- Drafted QB Lamar Jackson
It is important to note that Chicago also holds the #52 pick in the 2nd round. So that price Baltimore paid to get back into the 1st round is what they’d likely be looking at. The plan overall was clear. Move down to secure some extra picks, get a player you like at a position of need, and then jump back up into the 1st for a QB who would’ve gone in the 2nd round. This way you secure an important 5th-year option in their rookie contract.
Chicago Bears can consider a similar approach
Right now their list of needs outside of quarterback come at positions that are considered deep in this draft class. Offensive tackle, wide receiver, and cornerback. They’re liable to still land a quality prospect at one of those positions even if they were to move down a few spots from #20. It is just a matter of finding a team that wants to move up. The Jets (#23) and Jaguars (#25) both have plenty of ammunition to make such a jump.
Now in his time as Chicago Bears GM, Ryan Pace has never moved down with his first pick in any draft. Not once. It’s either been up or staying put. So this scenario might not be plausible with him involved. That said, it’s still something they can execute. Think about it this way. Giving up 2nd and 4th round picks to grab a quarterback is considerably less expensive than the multiple 1st rounders it would likely cost to reach the top 10.
It is a way to still make a splash while being cost-effective.
If the Bears were to take this approach, who would it be for? Three names stand out as likely. Kellen Mond of Texas A&M, Kyle Trask of Florida, and Davis Mills of Stanford. All are considered the second-tier of QBs in this class behind the top five. All are projected to go somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd rounds. So Pace and head coach Matt Nagy would be choosing one of them to take a little earlier than projected. The idea being they secure the kid on a favorable contract so they can develop him behind Andy Dalton.
Is this what will happen? Nobody can say. Still, if the Bears were looking for a way to be responsible while still making fans happy? They could do a lot worse than this.