Bears

Washington QB Jacob Eason has the confidence Bears need

Washington QB Jacob Eason has the confidence Bears need

General manager Ryan Pace made it clear Tuesday from the NFL combine that the Bears will add competition to the quarterback room this offseason. They'll have a chance to accomplish that goal in the 2020 NFL Draft, especially in the second round where Washington's strong-armed gunslinger Jacob Eason is expected to come off the board.

Eason is considered one of the more naturally gifted passers in the 2020 class with an arm that ranks alongside Oregon's Justin Herbert, who's projected to be picked in the first seven selections. So why is Eason more likely to be a second-rounder?

“There are little nitpickers here and there," Eason said Tuesday from Indianapolis. "They nitpick about speed and the pocket awareness, footwork, all of those things. There are things [I] need to work on and there’s always room to improve.”

One thing about Eason's game that there's no debate on is his right arm, which will instantly be one of the strongest in the NFL in 2020. He models his game after another big-armed quarterback who spent nearly two decades haunting Bears fans.

“A guy like Brett Favre. A guy like Peyton Manning. They are both big inspirations,” Eason said. “I like the way they play the game. Their toughness and competitiveness; those are the guys I modeled my game after.”

There's no doubt Eason would offer the Bears more of a pure passer's skill set; there's no comparing his arm talent to Mitch Trubisky, who routinely struggled to place the ball on target on deep throws in 2019. Eason would instantly expand Matt Nagy's playbook and make downfield chunk plays more realistic.

Confidence is important, too. Eason, who said he's stressing the confidence he has in his arm during team meetings at the combine, isn't afraid to take shots downfield. Trubisky, on the other hand, doesn't play with that killer's instinct. And as we saw last season, it impacts the overall effectiveness of Nagy's system.

This Eason discussion assumes, of course, that he's on the board at No. 43 overall. A big week in Indianapolis could skyrocket his draft stock into the first round; there's been some speculation that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could even take him at No. 14.

Adding a player like Eason would create one heck of a storyline for training camp and a quarterback battle that would likely end with the rookie as the victor.

Check out these crazy 2020 NFL draft prop bets

Check out these crazy 2020 NFL draft prop bets

The NFL confirmed on Monday that the 2020 NFL draft will be a completely virtual experience with general managers, scouts and other key personnel conducting the three-day event from their homes. It'll be a big adjustment for a process that inherently relies on group decision-making in a face-to-face environment.

It'll be a new viewing experience for draft fans, too, who've become accustomed to top prospects strutting across the main stage donning their new team's hat and bro-hugging Roger Goodell. The emotion of the moment will be diminished, but it doesn't mean it won't be fun for viewers who want to up the ante for what amounts to the biggest fantasy football draft in the country.

The virtual NFL draft has spawned a new collection of prop bets in Las Vegas, and they're absolutely epic. Check it out:

Who will No. 1 overall pick hug first?

Mom 5/4
Dad 5/2
Girlfriend 3/1
Friend 7/1
Sibling 7/1

Highest number of people in the same room

Over/Under 9½

Total dogs showed during the first round

Over/Under 3½

Total cats showed during the first round

Over/Under ½

Will any draftee experience local technical difficulties?

Yes -300 (1/3)
No +200 (2/1)

Will any first-round draftee put on the wrong team hat?

Yes +300 (3/1)
No -500 (1/5)

Will any draftee be shown drinking beer?

Yes +700 (7/1)
No -2000 (1/20)

Will any draftee pop champagne?

Yes +600 (6/1)
No -1700 (1/17)

Ryan Pace won't like this brutal list of NFL draft mistakes

Ryan Pace won't like this brutal list of NFL draft mistakes

Ryan Pace has been the Chicago Bears general manager since 2015. He's been in charge of five NFL drafts and four first-round picks: Kevin White, Leonard Floyd, Mitch Trubisky and Roquan Smith.

According to a recent ranking of the seven biggest draft mistakes of the last five years — the span of time Pace has been in the Bears' big chair — two of his four selections make the cut.

Ouch.

6. Kevin White

To say White underperformed would be an understatement. He didn't play in 2015 because of a shin fracture, made it in four games in 2016, one in 2017 and nine in 2018. He caught 25 passes with no scores over 14 career games. 

With a top-10 asset mostly watching from the sidelines, the Bears went for six, three and five wins before Matt Nagy's arrival in 2018 to start a turnaround. White was the pick instead of Todd Gurley (10th), DeVante Parker (14th) and a host of defensive talent.

White was a massive whiff but, it wouldn't be fair to suggest his failures were solely due to a lack of talent. His body broke down before he ever had a chance to prove Pace made the right choice. He suffered multiple lower leg injuries that took a toll on his speed and explosive traits, two variables that made him a top-10 pick to begin with. 

The bigger whiff, however, may not have the same excuses baked into his resume of underwhelming play.

No. 3: Mitch Trubisky

The No. 2 pick in 2017 has been the butt of memes for the past few seasons, in part because the Chicago Bears traded up to draft him in the same first round that featured Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. 

The exploits of those two superstars don't need much explanation. Trubisky, on the other hand, has completed 63.4 percent of his passes over 41 games, throwing for just 48 scores and 29 picks while averaging 6.7 yards per attempt with a paltry 3.8 touchdown percentage. 

Things were so lacking as the Bears dropped from 12 wins to eight in 2019 that Chicago traded for Nick Foles, the failed $88 million experiment in Jacksonville. 

There's simply no way around it. If Trubisky loses the quarterback competition to Foles and 2020 is his last season with the Bears, he'll go down as the biggest draft bust in franchise history. No general manager wants to wear that badge during his tenure with a team, but Pace is quickly traveling down that ominous path.

An argument could be made that Leonard Floyd deserves an honorable mention for this list, too. His play since 2016 was too pedestrian for a lucrative second contract with the Bears, and if Trubisky is in fact entering his final lap with Chicago, only Roquan Smith will remain as a Pace first-rounder in 2021.

That's not how you build a championship team.