The Chicago Bears aren’t at a point yet where they’re thinking about the draft. There are still viable veteran quarterbacks out there who may yet become available within the next month or so. There is no reason for the team to rush their judgment on what to do at the position. Yet with two big names already off the market in Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz, their options are slowly dwindling. It feels like at some point GM Ryan Pace will have to make a decision. Either commit to going with what will likely be a second-tier veteran or shift focus to the NFL draft where guys like Trey Lance, Mac Jones, and Justin Fields (?) could be their best options.

That last name will shock some people who tend to follow the draft closely. Dating back to the fall of last year, most experts were convinced the Ohio State standout quarterback was the second-best in the 2021 draft class. Only trailing Clemson superstar Trevor Lawrence. As is always the case, things change this time of year. It appears Fields’ once bulletproof standing is riddled with holes.

Could he be lining up for a possible 1st round fall in April?

Some draft experts seem to think it’s trending that way. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network has several connections in the draft community. He’s been hearing that Fields has fallen on a number of draft boards around the NFL. Teams aren’t worried about his talent but they wonder about his ability to process the entire field.

A lot people will flat out deny this will happen. There are way too many QB-needy teams in the top 10 this year to believe Fields will endure any sort of fall. Then again, those same people should understand the draft never goes according to expectations. Players that shouldn’t fall end up doing so all the time. Even at the quarterback position. Patrick Mahomes went 10th. Deshaun Watson went 12th. Lamar Jackson went 32nd.

Fields falling would hardly be an earth-shattering event. That is why the Bears could be monitoring his situation closely.

Justin Fields would be a plausible trade up candidate

From a talent perspective? The guy has everything a team could ask for. Size, arm strength, accuracy, and loads of mobility. Any play in the playbook is possible for him. It’s not like he is unproven against good competition either. He had four touchdown passes at Penn State and then bombarded Clemson with six in the College Football Playoffs. When he gets hot, he’s hard to stop.

The concern is he always seems to struggle against well-coached defenses. A sign that he may not process coverages as well as you’d like. Northwestern gave him fits, holding him to just a 44.4 completion percentage, 114 yards, and two interceptions. Then Alabama managed 51.5% for just 194 yards despite 33 passes in the national championship. It’s games like those that have evaluators on edge.

Is that who he is or will he learn to get better?

There is no answering that question until he finds a new home in the NFL. If the Bears feel confident he can make the leap, then he is absolutely somebody they should consider moving up for. Justin Fields doesn’t have Pro Bowl potential. He has All-Pro potential. People will fear him because of what happened with Mitch Trubisky. Yet the reality is there’s no room for fear in this league. If they think the odds are favorable, then the reward is worth the risk.