Bears

Bears' quarterback depth chart ranked near bottom of NFL

Bears' quarterback depth chart ranked near bottom of NFL

The Chicago Bears' fast approaching quarterback competition between Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles will be the headline story throughout training camp, but does it matter all that much who wins the job?  Whether it's Foles or Trubisky, there isn't much excitement for the Bears around the league regardless of who lines up behind center.

This sentiment is painfully obvious in a recent ranking of every team's quarterback depth chart. The combination of Trubisky and Foles ranked near the bottom of the NFL at No. 28.

The Chicago Bears seemed to finally admit their Mitchell Trubisky mistake, though they did so in a roundabout way, by acquiring Nick Foles from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But Chicago smartly couldn't go with Trubisky and nothing else again. Last year, Trubisky completed 63.2 percent of his passes with just 17 touchdowns over 15 games as the Bears regressed from 12 wins to 8-8. He also posted a bottom-three QBR at 39.5.

The oddity is Foles as the solution. While he has past experience with quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and some obvious postseason success, he's only completed 61.9 percent of his passes in his career, hasn't handled a full-time starting gig since 2015 and played in just four games last year.

The stats confirm a painful reality: aside from one miraculous Super Bowl season in Philadelphia, Foles, for the most part, has been Trubisky-like as a starting quarterback. Furthermore, Trubisky offers a more exciting skill set than Foles as a runner, which means if all things are equal as passers and game managers, shouldn't Trubiusky get the nod?

The winner of the Bears' quarterback competition won't have a long leash, no matter who it is. If Trubisky or Foles gets off to a slow start, it's conceivable they can be benched by Week 2. And then the worst-case-scenario unfolds in Chicago: a weekly quarterback controversy centered around two players who aren't good enough to lead the Bears to the promised land.

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ESPN lists Bears' offensive weapons as NFL's 5th-worst group in new rankings

ESPN lists Bears' offensive weapons as NFL's 5th-worst group in new rankings

Now that you've clicked (thanks!), look away, Bears fans. 

In a newly-published, rankings-style piece from ESPN's Bill Barnwell, the Bears' offense once again finds itself in bad company. What stings about this particular post is that it has literally nothing to do with quarterbacks. 

Barnwell ranked all 32 NFL teams based on their 'offensive weapon' groups, and you know it's bad when it's faster to find the Bears writeup by manually scrolling down instead of using the provided hyperlink jump. Chicago's group came in 28th, which is certainly fair – albeit lacking much optimism – given 2019's performance across the board. Here's how Barnwell sees it: 

Allen Robinson deserves better than this. Having spent his entire career catching passes from Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky, he will get a comparative upgrade this season if the Bears start Nick Foles. The former Penn State star held up his end of the bargain a year ago, racking up 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns on 154 targets. Anthony Miller finished the season with 656 yards and averaged nearly 1.5 yards per route run, but drops and shoulder injuries have been a concern through his first two seasons, and the former second-rounder likely profiles best as a full-time slot receiver.

The other weapons on this roster all failed to live up to expectations, although much of that was due to injuries. (Tarik Cohen's seven drops on 103 targets are the exception.) Players like Cohen, Ted Ginn Jr. and Cordarrelle Patterson could be intriguing supplemental pieces in the right scheme, but it's difficult to count on coach Matt Nagy making the most of their ability. Free-agent signee Jimmy Graham's contract was universally panned, but even leaving the money aside, he was anonymous last season in a Packers offense desperate for a second receiving option and turns 34 in November. David Montgomery is the big hope for the Bears to climb up these rankings, but as a rookie, he was below average by every running measure I could find.

What's especially depressing is comparing this year's ranking with the previous two of the Nagy era. Going into 2018, the Bears' ranked 9th (!!) and last season they found themselves at 17. In a span of three years, Nagy's offense has managed to fall 19 spots in the eyes of one of the NFL's most prominent writers. Ultimately, is this all that important? Probably not! But it's a stark reminder that the Bears' offense has a whole lot to prove this season, and that goes way beyond the quarterback position. 

Trey Lance to the Bears? This 2021 mock draft thinks so

Trey Lance to the Bears? This 2021 mock draft thinks so

Barring some kind of career-year from Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles, the 2021 NFL Draft will likely center around quarterback for the Chicago Bears. And while that's not necessarily good news for Bears fans, it could be worse. Next year's draft class will have a handful of quality quarterbacks with first-round grades.

In the latest mock draft from The Draft Wire, the Bears spend their first-round pick on North Dakota State darling, Trey Lance. The FCS standout is the apple of Draft Twitter's eye during the first wave of summer scouting, with some respected draft analysts like The Athletic's Dane Brugler ranking him ahead of Ohio State star, Justin Fields.

The Bears use the 12th overall pick in this mock on Lance. By the time April rolls around, and assuming Lance stacks another productive season on top of his remarkable 2019 performance, it's unlikely he'll be around outside the top 10.

Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and a remarkable ZERO interceptions in his first full season starting for the Bison. But that's not all; he ran for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns, too.

At an estimated 6-3 and 224 pounds, Lance checks all the early boxes for a franchise quarterback prospect. If he does end up leapfrogging Fields for QB2, he'll be a top-five pick.

But here's the catch: we just don't know enough about him yet. His 2019 season was fantastic, but it's the only one he has on film. And it was against FCS competition, which makes his projection to the NFL more difficult. It's a slippery slope to use Carson Wentz as an example to support Lance's ability to make the jump to the pros. Players like Wentz are the exception; they're few and far between.

It's only July, and the mock draft landscape will change multiple times between now and April. But if Trubisky and Foles fail to deliver in 2020, all mock drafts will have the Bears picking a quarterback. The only question is how high will the Bears be picking in Round 1, and which quarterback (if any) falls to their selection.