Home » NFL Rookies » Is drafting a quarterback in the 1st round the target? And if not, would they need to trade up in Round 2 to get one?

Is drafting a quarterback in the 1st round the target? And if not, would they need to trade up in Round 2 to get one?


The NFL draft is a little more than a week away, and Chicago Bears fans have questions. As he does every week, the Tribune’s Brad Biggs has answers.



a group of baseball players playing a football game: Nick Foles made his first start as Bears starting quarterback against the Colts at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.


© Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune
Nick Foles made his first start as Bears starting quarterback against the Colts at Soldier Field on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.

If the Bears are going to take Kellen Mond, Davis Mills or Kyle Trask on Day 2, would they need to take any of the aforementioned quarterbacks with pick No. 52 instead of pick No. 83? I’m thinking pick 83 would be too late for Mond, Mills and Trask as they probably won’t be available. — @dag54125

That is a great question. I think the Bears would prefer to land a quarterback in Round 1, but wanting to do that and being able to pull it off are two different things. As is often the case, quarterbacks will be pushed up draft boards by the teams in need of a solution or prospect at the position. That means there will be quarterbacks overdrafted, which ultimately means the teams swinging and missing will be back in the same position two or three years from now, needing to take a shot at another quarterback. It goes without saying there is less sting in drafting a quarterback in Round 2 and having him not pan out than in investing a first-round pick and watching him fizzle. If you go back through the last two or three decades, new Bears quarterback Andy Dalton stands as one of the best quarterbacks drafted in Round 2. The problem with drafting a quarterback in Round 2 is there’s no way to be certain about his floor or ceiling.



a group of baseball players playing a football game: Backup quarterback Chase Daniel started for the Bears on Nov. 22, 2018, in the Thanksgiving Day game vs. the Lions at Ford Field. Starter Mitch Trubisky was inactive with a shoulder injury.


© Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel started for the Bears on Nov. 22, 2018, in the Thanksgiving Day game vs. the Lions at Ford Field. Starter Mitch Trubisky was inactive with a shoulder injury.

One thing I have wondered is if the Bears cannot land a quarterback in Round 1, could general manager Ryan Pace potentially engineer a trade down? It’s easier to speculate about that than for it to happen because a team has to be motivated to come up to No. 20 and pay a fair price. I say this because if the Bears pivot to trying to get a quarterback in Round 2, they might need to move up from No. 52 to have a shot at Mills. If that’s the case, having some extra draft capital to trade up in Round 2 would be helpful. I would think Mond and Trask could be available at No. 52, but you never know. It only takes one team to have a strong conviction about a player for him to be drafted significantly higher than others believe is a worthy spot. If the Bears wait until No. 83 in Round 3 to draft a quarterback, I’m not sure what they would come away with or what kind of future that player would have. Mid-round picks at quarterback face long odds. Yes, we all know about the quarterbacks who turned into stars who were not highly drafted. The list of quarterbacks drafted later on who didn’t pan out is long, and I could fill the remainder of this answer with dozens and dozens of names you’ve long forgotten about.



a man standing in front of a crowd of people watching a baseball game: No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky made his Bears and NFL debut against the Vikings on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, at Soldier Field.


© Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune
No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky made his Bears and NFL debut against the Vikings on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, at Soldier Field.

If you had to guess, do you think the Bears get a first-round QB? — @thegeorgetwo

That’s the BIG question with the draft only eight days away. As I have written, it’s implausible to me that when GM Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy met with Chairman George McCaskey at the end of the season, they sold him on the idea of simply using a bridge quarterback such as Dalton as a replacement plan for former first-round pick Mitch Trubisky. The Bears couldn’t know at the time — the second week of January — what direction the offseason would take them. But I find it hard to believe that among the many multilayered plans they considered, one of them was, “Let’s get a veteran who has had some success but has bounced around a little lately and put all of our eggs in his basket.” That just doesn’t add up, even when you consider offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has a relationship with Dalton after coaching him previously in Cincinnati. So I think the Bears are planning — or hoping — to add a quarterback in the first round to develop and offer some hope for the future while Pace and Nagy try to put the team in a competitive situation this season.



a baseball player holding a bat in front of a crowd: Chicago Bears backup quarterback Mike Glennon warms up before a game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on Nov. 12, 2017, in Chicago.


© John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune
Chicago Bears backup quarterback Mike Glennon warms up before a game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on Nov. 12, 2017, in Chicago.

A lot of things will have to break right for the Bears, but they believe moving from Trubisky to Dalton is an upgrade and they are coming off an 8-8 finish. The issue is quarterbacks are going to come off the board early. It would be a stunner if the first three picks are not quarterbacks, and some I have spoken to believe two more could be selected between the fourth and 10th picks. If that’s the case, the Bears would have to trade up and they could face competition from other teams looking to move up for a quarterback — teams selecting higher than No. 20. So Pace might have to sweeten a trade with a 2022 first-round pick (and possibly more) to entice a team to trade back with the Bears to No. 20, which some feel is a dead part of the round.



a man holding a baseball bat in front of a crowd: Jimmy Clausen played in six games for the Bears from 2014 to 2015.


© Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune
Jimmy Clausen played in six games for the Bears from 2014 to 2015.

Do you buy into the idea that Ryan Pace doesn’t like to draft O-linemen in the first round? — @kevinrigdon1

I’ve never said that and I don’t believe that is necessarily true. Reality is the Bears have not had a first-round pick the last two years, so Pace has used only four first-round picks entering what will be the seventh draft he has run at Halas Hall. I imagine the Bears would have strongly considered Brandon Scherff in 2015, but he went two picks before they selected wide receiver Kevin White at No. 7. Two tackles went in the three picks ahead of the Bears in 2016, when they used the ninth selection on outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He was drafted four spots ahead of Laremy Tunsil, who has been an excellent pro but had the wild video of him with a bong mask on released on draft night. Of course, the Bears used their top pick on quarterback Mitch Trubisky in 2017. You can’t knock them for not taking a lineman there. They just picked the wrong quarterback. In 2018, inside linebacker Roquan Smith was the eighth pick, one spot before the San Francisco 49ers drafted Mike McGlinchey. Later in the round, the Raiders got a pretty good tackle in Kolton Miller. What you have to keep in mind, too, is that when Pace came in, he had an ascending left tackle in Charles Leno whom the Bears had for cheap. Did the line regress in recent seasons? No question. Is it because Pace failed to invest first-round picks in it? I guess you can cite that as a reason, but it’s easy to criticize drafts using 20/20 hindsight and the failure there is dwarfed by the error the Bears made in choosing Trubisky.

Are the Bears really putting Davis Mills above Kyle Trask and Kellen Mond? Why? Haven’t they been down this road before (Mitch Trubisky) with a QB who started a very small amount of games in college? I personally would rather have Trask. But what do you think? — @coguy24

Mills started only 11 games over the last two seasons at Stanford and attempted only 438 passes, so there is some concern with the limited tape for evaluation. And, yes, that was an issue with Trubisky, who made only 13 starts at North Carolina. In comparison, Trask made 22 starts at Florida and Mond started the last three seasons at Texas A&M and part of his freshman season in 2017. By far, Mond has the most college experience of the three. Some I have spoken to like Mills the most out of these three because of his abilities. He has a big arm and in some ways is similar to Mac Jones of Alabama. I have no idea how the Bears have these quarterbacks stacked on their board. Certainly there have to be some concerns with Mills’ lack of playing time, but he likely would have played more if last season had not been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.



a group of football players playing a football game: Josh McCown played in 11 games for the Bears from 2011 to 2013.


© Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune
Josh McCown played in 11 games for the Bears from 2011 to 2013.

Do you see Ryan Pace choosing a defensive player with the 20th pick? Even though it’s pretty clear the Bears need help on the offense. — @dwcburner

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility, especially if one of the top three cornerbacks somehow falls to No. 20 or the Bears trade back in Round 1. It probably depends a great deal on how much confidence the team has in Desmond Trufant, whom they signed to a one-year contract, or Kindle Vildor entering Year 2 as a starting option opposite Jaylon Johnson. I find it unlikely they would pull the trigger on a defensive player at another position unless they have a really high grade on him. Considering the major strides they need to make on offense, I am thinking the way you are — that the pick most likely will be on that side of the ball.

Does Tarik Cohen coming off the ACL warrant caution in use, specifically in the return game, and is that why a guy like Marquise Goodwin is getting a look? Who’s returning kicks/punts in your eyes right now? — @salted_pepper

The Bears certainly will not rush Cohen back onto the field, but once he’s cleared to play, I don’t imagine there will be a lot of restrictions on him. They may ease him into action during the preseason just to be safe, but it’s not like he’s going to be asked to carry a heavy load during games. I see him as a gadget player on offense and the punt returner. Goodwin never has returned punts in his career and has returned kickoffs only a little bit. He had 16 kickoff returns as a rookie in 2013 and has had only six since, so it’s hard to imagine he’s the top option for that role. He’s a little undersized to be a kickoff returner. Maybe Goodwin can crack the roster as a speed option at wide receiver, but the Bears wound up having little use for Ted Ginn Jr. in that role last season. He looks like a depth addition to me and will be pushed to make the 53-man roster, especially if the Bears can get a solid receiver in the draft.

I have seen a few draft experts having the Bears take an interior offensive lineman in the second or third round. Do you think that is a possibility? I understand the best player available approach, but I think there are much bigger concerns to be addressed. Your thoughts? — David P., Indiana

It’s impossible to have too many quality offensive linemen, but the Bears are in a decent spot right now with James Daniels returning from an injury and Sam Mustipher and Alex Bars coming off seasons in which they got ample experience. With Cody Whitehair also in the mix, it would make a lot more sense to draft an offensive tackle. Of course, you can’t invent a player who isn’t there on the board. I wouldn’t rule out an interior lineman on Day 2, but I could list a handful of positions that would make more sense, assuming the draft grades are close to even: quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, cornerback, inside linebacker and even defensive line.

Why do you believe the Bears didn’t grab Ryan Fitzpatrick? Andy Dalton is going to have to do, but they could have had Fitz. — @howardmonroe11

Free agency is a two-way street, and the player has an option too. Some believe the Bears preferred Fitzpatrick to Dalton but had to pivot after the Washington Football Team reached an agreement with Fitzpatrick before free agency opened. It’s not like the Bears had first choice in the matter.



a man holding a baseball bat in front of a crowd: Todd Collins played in two games during the Bears' 2010 season.


© Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune
Todd Collins played in two games during the Bears’ 2010 season.

Does it make sense for the Bears to draft a QB high in the draft with Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace potentially in a lame-duck year? — @pastor_2_38

It makes a ton of sense for Nagy and Pace to have a young quarterback with upside on the roster as a fallback plan if Andy Dalton struggles. You have to look at the draft and the remainder of possible free-agent moves through the lens that the coach and GM are using. They’re doing everything in their power to put the team in position to compete this season, and in that light, I think they have to add a quarterback to the mix.

With Cordarrelle Patterson gone to Atlanta and the Bears unable to unload Anthony Miller, do you see them keeping him as their return guy now? — @mjsbears

That’s an interesting idea and I guess I would not rule out the possibility. But generally speaking, when a team signals early in the offseason that a player is available in a trade, that often means one way or another, the team is done with the player. I’m not saying that is definitively the case with Miller, a second-round pick in 2018, but instinct tells me the Bears are interested in moving on from him. Miller flashed some ability as a returner and certainly as a receiver. But he consistently suffered from a lack of attention to detail, and eventually you have to move on from a guy who continues to repeat the same mistakes. It seems unlikely Miller will be in the mix for the Bears, but maybe, with the kick returning job as a reason, the Bears keep him for a fourth season.



Kyle Orton played in 33 games for the Bears from 2005 to 2008.


© John Smierciak/Chicago Tribune
Kyle Orton played in 33 games for the Bears from 2005 to 2008.

If the Bears trade away multiple future first-round picks (for any reason) and then have to hire a new GM next year, how much would that hurt them as a destination for the best available crop of next-GMs out there? — @cronebender



a group of baseball players playing a football game: Rex Grossman played in 36 games for the Bears from 2003 to 2008.


© Jim Prisching/Chicago Tribune
Rex Grossman played in 36 games for the Bears from 2003 to 2008.

It wouldn’t help, but it might not be as much of a knock against them as a hole at quarterback would be. The good thing is there probably won’t be nearly as much turnover in front offices next year. Seven teams hired a new GM this offseason, an extremely high number for one year. Typically, the number of openings is closer to three or four. Keep in mind that in most instances, teams hiring new GMs don’t have stocked rosters that are built to win right away. So any other teams looking to hire a GM in 2022 probably would have a lot of their own issues.

I’ve heard so many fans as well as pundits really bash the Bears management over the handling of the Allen Robinson contract situation. Their complaint is that a deal should have gotten done a long time ago and the Bears are fumbling this whole situation. I believe that this is much more of a matter of circumstances, particularly of COVID-19 and the salary cap going down significantly this past year. Do you believe if there had been no COVID and thus the salary cap increased that Robinson would have been signed to a long-term contract at the $18 million to $20 million per year range that he was wanting and probably deserving of? — Rob A., Tijeras, N.M.



a group of football players on the field: Brian Griese played in 13 games for the Bears from 2006 to 2007.


© Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune
Brian Griese played in 13 games for the Bears from 2006 to 2007.

I understand your point, but my feeling is the reason a deal hasn’t gotten done stems from a difference in value — the one the Bears have placed on Robinson and the one he has established for himself when looking to his next contract. I don’t think this is a cap issue for the Bears because, if that’s what it was, they could lower his cap hit by signing him to a multiyear contract. I believe we’re in a spot where Robinson has a certain number in mind and the Bears are far enough off with their valuation that there isn’t a landing spot in the middle. Robinson likely winds up playing out this season on the franchise tag and then enters free agency a year from now. The Bears potentially could offer him a contract then, but it seems unlikely they would use the franchise tag on him for a second year.



a baseball player holding a bat: Chad Hutchinson played in five games during the Bears' 2004 season.


© Jim Prisching/Chicago Tribune
Chad Hutchinson played in five games during the Bears’ 2004 season.

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