2020 NFL Draft: Should the Bears have taken Jalen Hurts in the second round?

2020 NFL Draft: Should the Bears have taken Jalen Hurts in the second round?

What would a Chicago Bears draft be if it wasn't for questions surrounding the team's decisions at quarterback?

The 2020 NFL Draft is no exception. General manager Ryan Pace, who traded a fourth-round pick for veteran Nick Foles earlier in the offseason, had two opportunities to select Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round. Instead, he picked Notre Dame tight end, Cole Kmet, and Utah cornerback, Jaylon Johnson.

Neither Kmet or Johnson is a bad pick. They'll each play significant roles for the Bears in 2020. But were they the right picks? Should Pace have continued his offseason investment at quarterback by taking Hurts, who ultimately came off the board to the Philadelphia Eagles just three picks after Johnson?

It's certainly a question worth asking, considering the Bears could be entering quarterback purgatory this year. Foles isn't a sure thing (the Bears are his fifth team in nine seasons) and Mitch Trubisky is more than likely in his final year in Chicago. If Foles fails (or decides to void his contract at season's end), Chicago will face the worst possible team-building scenario: quarterback desperation.

The presence of Foles isn't a sound reason to pass on Hurts. The Eagles, who already have a franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz, didn't shy away from taking a player who not only can contribute along the lines of Taysom Hill in 2020 but can also build trade value over the next few preseasons. At worst, Hurts will be a solid backup quarterback. At best, he'll be a viable starter. He could fall somewhere in-between; he could develop into a really nice trade asset.

Philadelphia's recent success is due in large part because of the strategic approach that general manager Howie Roseman has deployed. He didn't shy away from taking tight end Dallas Goedert in the second round of the 2018 draft despite the presence of Pro Bowler Zach Ertz on the roster. Now, two seasons later, Philadelphia has the best 1-2 punch at tight end in the league.

It's true that comparing quarterback decisions to choices at tight end isn't apples to apples. But the Eagles were fearless in their approach to the NFL draft; the Bears were safe.

And remember this: Pace could've (and would've) had one of either Kmet or Johnson even if he pulled the trigger on Hurts. It's not like Hurts was an all-or-nothing proposition.

But here we are (again) with the Bears. The long and swinging tail of Chicago's quarterback failures will creep into the 2020 season. If Hurts develops into a productive NFL starter, even three or four years from now, this year's unassuming second round will be viewed in a similar light as the epic disaster that was 2017.

Matt Nagy, Bears may be facing ironic end to 2020 preseason plans

Matt Nagy, Bears may be facing ironic end to 2020 preseason plans

Just when Matt Nagy actually wants to play his starters in preseason games, there might not be a preseason. 

Ironic, right?  

On Wednesday, Pro Football Talk reported what’s been anticipated for weeks: The NFL will cut its preseason schedule from four to two games. But, per NFL Network, the NFLPA hasn’t signed off on that reduction just yet – potentially because they’re hoping to not play any preseason games at all in 2020. 

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And why would the players want those games? All it’d be is another opportunity for team-to-team transmission of the novel coronavirus that’s still raging across the United States. And the NFL has very little monetary incentive to play these games, too, which would happen in front of empty stadiums and presumably don’t bring in much TV revenue anyway. 

So if playing these games would risk COVID-19 exposure – which is way more important than the next words you’re about to read – and wouldn’t negatively affect anyone’s bottom line, why play them?

Some coaches will argue they’re critical for getting players ready for the regular season. Nagy, up until this year, wasn’t among those coaches. Remember these tweets from last August?

“My biggest thing is I’m trying to do what’s best for the Chicago Bears, and every team is different, and that’s okay,” Nagy said last summer. “… We love where we’re at right now in regards to our starters. We feel really good about it.”

All the NFLPA has to do to argue against preseason games is point to how Nagy – as well as Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay – viewed the importance of those in the past. If teams felt prepared for the regular season without playing their starters in the preseason, why should that change in the midst of a pandemic? 

Nagy has since switched his thinking – this after a truly awful start on offense to the 2019 season – and committed to playing his starters during 2020’s preseason. Not only does Nagy need as many preseason games as possible to evaluate Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles, but he needs it for the rest of his offense to find an identity and rhythm quicker than they did last year (if they ever found one at all). 

So that means having Anthony Miller catch passes from both Trubisky and Foles in preseason games. That means getting the interior of the offensive line – whether it includes Germain Ifedi or Rashaad Coward at right guard – reps together in live action. That means getting Cole Kmet’s feet wet before throwing him into the deep end of the “Y” tight end position in September. 

“As we talk, that's one of the things that I look back at from last year that I'm not happy about that I made a decision to do in the preseason," Nagy said on the Waddle & Silvy Show in May. "Number one, I think it's good for them to have it, but number two it sets the mentality. 

“So that's not going to happen this year."

Except it might not happen. And probably shouldn’t. 



Bears' Allen Robinson included in Big 10's All-Decade team

Bears' Allen Robinson included in Big 10's All-Decade team

Here's some fun news for your holiday weekend. 

Bears WR Allen Robinson has been named to the Big 10 All-Decade team: 

A two-time Big 10 receiver of the year, Robinson finished his three-year career at Penn State with 177 catches for 2479 yards and 17 touchdowns. Seven years after he went into the NFL, Robinson's name is still all over the Penn State record board. Currently, he's: 

- 3rd all time in receptions
- 1st in single season receptions (97 in '13)
- 3rd in single game receptions (12)
- 4th in receiving yards
- 1st in single season receiving yards (1432, '13)
- 2nd in single season TD's (11, '12) 

He's also one of two receivers in Nittany Lion history to catch three touchdowns in multiple games. Allen Robinson: underrated in the NFL, but now properly rated by the NCAA.