It’s not a controversial statement to suggest Chicago Bears’ GM Ryan Pace doesn’t like to draft quarterbacks. In his 42 picks since he took over as general manager in 2015, he has drafted just one, and we all know how that has turned out.
After saying he saw the value in adding promising talent yearly at the most important position in the sport, Pace has failed miserably at improving the quarterback room during his tenure with the team. While choosing Mitch Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson has arguably been his most glaring error, only selecting one QB in six drafts when your team has never found “the guy” is another of Pace’s biggest blunders.
In his admittedly “way-too-early” mock for the 2021 NFL Draft, draft analyst and expert Matt Miller has made a bold prediction where the Bears are concerned. In his recent column for Bleacher Report, Miller predicts the Bears will select Ohio State standout Justin Fields in the first round next year.
Matt Miller on Bears’ QB Situation: Team Needs Better Arm Strength and Athleticism at Position
Miller began by stating the obvious: Mitch Trubisky’s days in Chicago are likely numbered, and Nick Foles is not the long-term solution. “Mitchell Trubisky is likely on his way out of town after his rookie contract expires following the 2020 season, and there’s no reason to trust Nick Foles as the long-term starting option. The Bears could be drafting a second first-rounder at quarterback in 2021 if the current regime gets another chance to find a signal-caller,” he wrote. Enter Fields.
“Fields had an impressive breakout campaign in 2019 with 41 passing touchdowns and only three interceptions while adding 484 yards on the ground with 10 more touchdowns. He could propel himself even higher up the board if he builds upon the traits he showed in his first year starting. For the Bears, an upgrade in terms of athleticism and arm strength is much needed.”
Fields Would Be Excellent Fit in Matt Nagy’s Offense
As Miller noted, Fields is the ultimate dual-threat quarterback. He played in 12 games at Georgia –where he often outshined Jake Fromm before transferring to Ohio State in order to get the opportunity to start full-time and lead a team. Fields showcased his ability to run the ball while he was with the Bulldogs, netting 266 yards on 42 carries and four scores, making him a coveted potential transfer prospect. He chose to head to Ohio State, where he excelled in his first full season. He threw for 3,273 yards and had a 181.4 rating. The Bears could use that kind of efficiency. They could use someone of Fields’ ilk.
His speed and athleticism would make him an immediate fit in Matt Nagy’s RPO-laden scheme, and he has toughness and grit for days, which is something they appreciate wholeheartedly in Chicago. Watch the following play against OSU’s arch rival Michigan. After tweaking his knee and missing a few plays, he came back on the field and threw one of the more impressive touchdowns you’ll see:
After a two-year drought having no draft picks in the first round, the Bears will have a first-round selection next year. But if Pace is still around, would he use it? Based on his previous draft history, my Magic 8-Ball says the outlook is not so good. However.
Head coach Matt Nagy signed a five-year deal back in 2018, and after winning Coach of the Year that year and going .500 the following season, he will very likely be back in 2021 — and he’s going to want to get his hands on a quarterback of his own choosing. He’s going to want a mobile young quarterback who can throw dimes downfield. That’s Fields.
Pace is signed on to be the team’s GM through 2021, but there’s a small chance he and Nagy both get fired if the team tanks the 2020 season. It’s unlikely, though, that Nagy would get let go without being given an opportunity to select the young QB he’d like to run his system. The 2020 draft didn’t yield a prospect as safe a bet as Fields. While it’s far too early to assume the Bears will snag him in the draft next year, he’s absolutely someone who should be on the team’s radar.