At this stage, it would be a considerable shock if the Chicago Bears don’t draft a quarterback later this month. Their options on the depth chart aren’t exactly healthy from a long-term perspective. Andy Dalton is on a one-year deal. Nick Foles may survive another year as the backup but isn’t going to factor into their future. Knowing how QB-centric this coaching staff is, they have to be thinking about adding somebody they can at least develop for down the line. So what about Davis Mills?
In terms of tough draft evaluations, he sits right there at the top. Logically, Mills should be nowhere near the conversation of the first two days of this draft. Why? He only started 11 total games at Stanford. That is even less than Mitch Trubisky at North Carolina. Everybody remembers how that went. Mills was dogged by a mixture of health issues (knee injuries) and the untimely arrival of COVID-19.
Rather than stay in school, he decided to come out early.
Since then, his stock has begun rising. As one watches his tape, there are frequent flashes of a good quarterback in there. He has a live arm that can deliver the ball with velocity. He throws with good accuracy and anticipation. It’s consistency that has dogged him to this point. A lot of it brought on by issues with his fundamentals. No doubt a byproduct of not starting enough football games.
Something time and good coaching could potentially fix. This is why Mills is getting serious momentum. Experts believe he could go in the 2nd round. Is the talent really worth that kind of risk? Well, it might not just be that. Mills has also been giving some strong answers in interviews. Answers that almost certainly would appeal to this Bears coaching staff. Just look at this one via Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic about what type of offense he’d like to play in.
“I don’t want to close off or close down any options,” Mills said after his pro day. “But somebody that really spreads the ball around or puts a lot of demand on their quarterback to make pre-snap reads, pre-snap checks, I’ve been used to doing that at Stanford, just going out there and being successful at what I do.”
Davis Mills has the sort of mindset the Bears want
Part of the problem with Mitch Trubisky wasn’t his talent. He had more than enough ability. It wasn’t his work ethic or desire either. The kid put in countless hours trying to get better. His problem was he just wasn’t “getting it.” When it came to reading defenses and identifying coverages, he was always at a disadvantage. Opponents quickly learned that by keeping him in the pocket and forcing him to “be a quarterback” that they gained an immediate advantage.
Davis Mills is demonstrating from that answer he understands the critical job of a quarterback in the NFL. Yes having a strong arm is nice but his job is to identify what a defense is doing to stop the offense and then making the necessary adjustments to counter them. That has routinely been the great strength of Tom Brady for so many years. Not his arm or his mobility. His mind.
If he masters the mental side of the game, the talent takes care of the rest.
Presuming Mills gave similar answers in his personal talks with the Bears, one can expect he is likely high on their board. There is evidence to back this up. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo was at Stanford’s pro day and worked him out personally. He even asked for a specific throw at one point that Mills nailed. A compelling sign that the team is interested. Is it a smokescreen? Possibly. Yet there is enough about the guy that makes one think he is a perfect understudy behind Dalton this year.