While Andy Dalton was being introduced as the Chicago Bears’ new starting quarterback at Halas Hall, the team was simultaneously taking a look at an intriguing quarterback option in next month’s NFL Draft.
Just as Dalton finished answering a question about the Bears potentially drafting a quarterback, prospect Davis Mills began a throwing session at his pro day in Stanford, Calif. with Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo standing closely behind. At one point during the throwing session, DeFilippo even requested a specific throw -- a seam route under pressure against single-high safety coverage -- and Mills delivered.
“I've been the starter and helped the backup throughout my career,” Dalton said about potentially mentoring a rookie. “I think it's what you can do to help the next guy. We'll see if that's the case and what we do in the draft. But I've got no problem with that."
Throwing in a steady rain, Mills had an impressive session (as viewed on NFL Network), particularly when it came to his accuracy and ball placement. He’s an intriguing evaluation because he was a highly regarded quarterback coming out of college, but injuries held him back until he finally took over for K.J. Costello, who eventually transferred. But Mills enters the draft with only 11 starts under his belt after putting together a solid redshirt-junior season.
Mills officially weighed in at 6-3 3/4, 217 pounds Thursday and ran a surprising 4.58 40-time. He has NFL size, but isn’t necessarily known for great mobility. Still, he has an NFL arm and teams might give him a chance given the pedigree.
Thursday’s impressive showing in the rain might be enough to get Mills drafted on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. Pro days are only one piece of the puzzle, but they are taking on greater importance this year because the NFL Combine was canceled.
In 2017, the Bears signed veteran quarterback Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract, but then drafted Mitchell Trubisky No. 2 overall a month later. Trubisky ended up as the starter by Week 4.
This situation is a little different because the Bears don’t have a top three pick (they currently have the No. 20 overall pick), but it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if they take a chance on a rookie quarterback at some point in the draft. Mills is an option that likely won’t cost them a first-round pick.
"We'll see how this whole thing goes,” Dalton said. “Like I said, I've been a part of that before. We'll see how the draft goes."