Bears

Bears unlikely to find quarterback they need from 2020 Senior Bowl

Bears unlikely to find quarterback they need from 2020 Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. — The 2020 Senior Bowl is wrapping up its three days of practices Thursday in Mobile, Ala., and for Bears fans who were hoping GM Ryan Pace would uncover an NFL Draft gem at quarterback, it's time to move on. Those guys aren't here, and unless Pace gets aggressive in free agency or focuses on one of the several underclassmen who've declared, it's going to be a disappointing offseason for the anti-Mitch Trubisky contingent.

To be fair, Utah State's Jordan Love and Oregon's Justin Herbert have lived up to the billing as first-round passers throughout the week. Both have high-end NFL arm talent and will be picked way before the Bears' first selection, No. 43 overall. As a result, Pace has to divert his attention to the next tier of prospects, several of which failed to prove worthy of a second-round choice over the last few days.

Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts' struggles with consistent accuracy throughout 2019 was on display in Senior Bowl practices, especially on Day 1 where he looked nothing like a fringe-first-round pick he was hyped up to be when the Senior Bowl rosters were announced. He's played more like a Day 3 selection, and while his skill set will likely lead to some highlight moments during the actual game, his practice reps have sparked more questions about whether he has the arm talent needed to make an impact as an NFL starter.

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Michigan's Shea Patterson was downright brutal. To his credit, his throwing motion improved from a labored shotput style to a more compact release, but he just doesn't have the baseline talent needed to project as a developmental starter. He'll have a place in the league as a backup (maybe?), but he doesn't offer the kind of starting-quality traits that the Bears need to add in a young passer behind Trubisky.

Washington State's Anthony Gordon has his fan club among Bears backers, but his 199-pound frame and average arm strength may have him destined for undrafted free agency. There's no denying his level of production in Mike Leach's offense last season (5,596 yards and 48 touchdowns), but he doesn't project as an NFL starter and it's even a stretch to say he can be a legitimate No. 2. His performance during practices has been forgettable, and that's not how any quarterback wants to be described.

Colorado's Steven Montez, who began the week as a likely undrafted free agent, did nothing to suggest that should change. He has really good size (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) and his arm is adequate enough to make NFL throws, but he's a wildly inconsistent passer who hasn't done much during his time as the Buffaloes' starter to think his ceiling is overly high on the next level. Like Patterson and Gordon, Montez is going to wait a while for his name to be called come draft weekend.

So where does that leave the Bears in their hunt for an improved quarterback depth chart? 

Washington's Jacob Eason and Georgia's Jake Fromm are the only viable options at this point in Round 2. Eason's NFL-ready arm and Fromm's experience and accuracy rank higher than any of the Tier 2 quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl and with such a sizeable gap between their skill set and those other guys, Pace will have no choice but to be aggressive and select one at No. 43 or 50 if his goal is to end April's 2020 draft with a rookie in the quarterback room.

A fan's guide for how to watch the NFL Combine

A fan's guide for how to watch the NFL Combine

The 2020 NFL Combine will go a long way in determining the final draft grade for each of the 337 prospects participating in on-field drills. General managers and scouts want to see whether their athletic testing matches the traits noted on film. If a player runs faster than he plays, scouts will question his on-field instincts and overall football IQ. In the alternative, if he runs slower than he plays, questions about level of competition and the ability to 'win' on the NFL level will be raised.

But in order to understand whether or not a prospect is having a good performance, you first have to know what the NFL is looking for as its minimum time/result required for each position and drill.

NFL Hall-of-Fame executive Gil Brandt, one of the legendary draft minds in the sport, shared what has become the standard breakdown each team uses when assessing a player's 40 time, 3-cone drill, broad jump, vertical jump and more.

Check it out:

Keep this page bookmarked this week and refer back to this chart as your favorite Bears prospects try to run and jump their way to Chicago. 

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2020 mock draft sends Bears OL, CB in 2nd round

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USA TODAY

2020 mock draft sends Bears OL, CB in 2nd round

The 2020 NFL Draft is front and center with the NFL Combine kicking off this week in Indianapolis. The week-long underwear Olympics represents the real start of draft season for the casual fan. Two months from now, we'll find out who the next class of Bears will be, and many of those players will make their case to GM Ryan Pace and the rest of the team's decision-makers over the next several days.

With the unofficial start of draft season comes the need to review the 2020 mock draft landscape. Pace has a chance to add two starters in the second round, and it's important to get a feel for which players could be within reach when Chicago picks at Nos. 43 and 50.

In Joe Marino's latest mock draft for The Draft Network, the Bears add a legitimate starting interior lineman and a cornerback who can challenge to do the same.

At No. 43, Marino sends Chicago Matt Hennessy, the standout center from Temple who can serve in the same capacity for the Bears if Nagy decides to kick Cody Whitehair back to guard. Hennessy was arguably the most impressive offensive lineman at the 2020 Senior Bowl. He routinely won his one-on-one reps and looked every bit the part of a decade-long starter in the middle of an NFL offensive line. 

What makes Hennessy so appealing is his ability to play either center or guard. We saw last season what a position change can do (both good and bad) along the interior of Chicago's offensive line, so depending on what the long-term outlook is for James Daniels and Whitehair, a player like Hennessy can fit any outcome. He'd be a great selection.

At No. 50, Chicago takes Mississippi State cornerback, Cameron Dantzler. This is the first mock draft that has Dantzler pegged to the Bears and it probably won't be the last that has Pace using one of his two second-rounders on a cornerback. The release of Prince Amukamara last week will move cornerback higher on the team's priority list.

Dantzler started 22 games for Mississippi State and totaled five interceptions over the last three seasons. At 6-2, 185 pounds, he brings good height and length to the pros. He projects like a fit in almost any defensive system and could come off the board much higher than the average fan is expecting at this point. How he performs in the athletic testing at the NFL Combine will be critical in his final evaluation. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.