Drafting first round QB's despite starters in place something of a Bears tradition

Drafting first round QB's despite starters in place something of a Bears tradition

The good thing about a draft scenario like the Bears’ selecting Mitch Trubisky on top of having signed Mike Glennon for starter-grade money is that it provides an almost inexhaustible quiver of talking and writing points. To wit...

... the 2017 draft is far from the first time that the Bears have invested a lofty pick in a player at a position that had been staffed not all that long before with a pricey free agent or still had a distinguished veteran. Don’tcha kind of wonder how Sid Luckman, 32, All-Pro as recently as 1947, felt seeing George Halas use the No. 3 pick of the 1948 draft on Bobby Layne?

The Bears had Jim McMahon in harness (literally and figuratively) in 1987 when they used their first-round pick on Jim Harbaugh. They went QB at No. 12 overall (Cade McNown) in 1999 despite the coaching staff believing they could make something out of Shane Matthews. The San Francisco 49ers had Joe Montana in place when they dealt for Steve Young. Montana didn’t like it but 49ers history was obviously the better for it. Not that Montana ever wanted for motivation, but he earned the first of his three All-Pro designations in — take a guess — 1987.

GM Jerry Angelo dramatically out-bid the market for running back Thomas Jones in 2004. Jones was OK that season, but the Bears came back in 2005 to use the No. 4 pick of that draft on Cedric Benson because, as former Bear and longtime NFL analyst Dan Jiggetts said at the time, Jones still had questions after the first season in which he’d started more than nine games.

Jones didn’t like it, and didn’t like Benson, who exacerbated his overall situation with a long holdout that didn’t sit well with veterans. Jones eventually forced a trade after the 2006 season and Benson wound up a three-time 1,000-yard rusher, albeit for the Cincinnati Bengals. Jones appeared to get the situation; after never rushing for 1,000 yards in his career, he piled up five straight of 1,100 yards or more after the Benson pick. Just sayin’ ... 

... any assessment of Ryan Pace’s competence or lack of same is beyond silly at this point. The object of his affections hasn’t even put on a Bears jersey yet, just held one up for cameras. The obvious tack here is that if Trubisky is franchise-grade as the Bears project, then the acquisition was the right one.

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But the deeper perspective, on whether Pace was bidding against himself in the absence of known real offers, gets increasingly debunked. On top of Pace’s own experience of getting multiple calls from teams looking to trade up to No. 3 for a quarterback, and Pace knowing that when he didn’t want to deal that the next speed-dial by those callers would be to 49ers GM John Lynch, Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson suggested that Pace not only had reason for fear poachers, but also that multiple other teams shared Pace’s conclusion that Trubisky was the best quarterback in this draft.

Robinson said via SiriusXM NFL Radio that the Titans had gotten calls inquiring about acquiring their pick at No. 5. Those calls stopped when the Bears dealt up and grabbed Trubisky. Because Pat Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer and every other quarterback was still on the board, the conclusion was that those other teams also had targeted Trubisky, as Pace had ... 

... the brouhaha over whether Glennon felt betrayed/bemused/befuddled/belittled/beheaded over the Trubisky selection borders on the comical. (No comments directly from Glennon about his reaction, but nevermind that.) But If Glennon purports to know some of the history of the NFL’s charter franchise (and others), he should not only have known this was a possibility, but also should have expected it. And he’s a big reason why — specifically, if it were clear that Glennon was a 27-year-old No. 1 quarterback, the Bears can be more casual in filling out the QB depth chart. The Green Bay Packers didn’t use anything higher than a fourth-round pick on a quarterback until Brett Favre was 36 because they knew they didn’t need to. The Bears are far from in that spot. Had they traded for Kirk Cousins, maybe; they didn’t.

To even link the Glennon signing to the Trubisky drafting is failing to grasp how teams try to staff the most important spot in their game.

Cases in point: the Seattle Seahawks signing Matt Flynn away from the Packers in 2012 for $20.5 million over three years, $9 million guaranteed. Flynn had all of two NFL starts at the time. The Seahawks rightly hedged their bet: They drafted Russell Wilson in the third round. Flynn then lost his job to Wilson by Week 1.

Glennon has 18 starts so maybe that’s why he got $18 million over two years. In any case, the Bears weren’t going to hang the future solely on a twice-replaced quarterback (by Josh McCown and Jameis Winston with Tampa Buccaneers) any more than Seattle was going Flynn-only.

Another in point: the Washington Redskins traded massively up in 2012 to draft Robert Griffin III. Then Washington turned around and invested a fourth-rounder in Cousins.

Bears QB Big Board, 3.0: NFL Draft may offer best options for long-term starter

Bears QB Big Board, 3.0: NFL Draft may offer best options for long-term starter

Week 11's Sunday night loss to the Los Angeles Rams may have ended the Bears' season, but it did offer at least a glimmer of hope for quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who's now stacked two reasonable games together after what was a miserable stretch of three games after he returned from a shoulder injury.

Sure, he only completed 55.8 percent of his passes against the Rams' stout defense, but that statistic is deceiving. There were several drops by Bears receivers, and Trubisky threw with more confidence and accuracy against Los Angeles than he has at any point this season.

Matt Nagy acknowledged as much with reporters Wednesday at Halas Hall and said the goal is for Trubisky to start Week 12 against the Giants, assuming he recovers in time from the hip pointer he suffered late in Sunday night's second quarter. It was an injury that forced him out of the game for the Bears' final possession and sparked a social-media firestorm about whether Chicago has finally decided to move on from its underwhelming former first-rounder.

But that won't be the case, at least not this season. And the next six games will determine If that will be the case at all. Trubisky has a chance to keep his gig heading into 2020 if he continues stacking positive game after positive game, even if fantasy football players don't see the statistics to back up that claim.

If he doesn't, the Bears will have more than a handful of viable options to replace him. We previously touched on Tennessee's Ryan Tannehill as an appealing Alex Smith-like reclamation project for Nagy's offense next season, assuming the Titans let him test free agency, but the more logical strategy for Pace to focus on is the NFL Draft, where a few first-round worthy prospects could find themselves still on the board when the Bears pick in the second round.

Remember: The Bears currently hold the 46th and 51st picks in Round 2. They could choose to package those picks together in an effort to jump back into the first round if they like a quarterback enough.

Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts will be the biggest beneficiary of Lamar Jackson's (Ravens) incredible season. Hurts is a dynamic dual-threat for the Sooners who right now profiles as a late-first-round guy. He wasn't pegged as that kind of prospect at the start of the season, but his growth under Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley has been remarkable. Riley's track record with quarterbacks -- Baker Mayfield (Browns) and Kyler Murray (Cardinals) -- helps, too.

Hurts is completing 73 percent of his passes for 3,039 yards, 28 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He'll eclipse 1,000 rushing yards too (currently at 983) and already has 15 rushing scores.

The Bears haven't had a game-wrecking quarterback like Hurts in the modern era. And with the way the NFL is trending (especially with the deteriorating play of offensive lines), a player who can make something out of nothing like Hurts has proven he can do is a massive asset.

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay released his updated 2020 NFL Draft Big Board on Wednesday and Hurts wasn't among his top 32. Granted, a lot will change between now and April, and Hurts is the kind of prospect who can blow the roof off of Lucas Oil Stadium at the NFL Combine, so his stock will certainly go up.

But as of now, he appears to at least be within reach for Pace. And he's moving up this week's rankings.

Bears' Quarterback Big Board (Nov. 20, 2019)

1. Andy Dalton (Bengals)
previous: 1 (Nov. 12)

2. Marcus Mariota (Titans)
previous: 3 (Nov. 12)

3. Ryan Tannehill (Titans)
previous: 4 (Nov. 12)

4. Nick Foles (Jaguars)
previous: 6 (Nov. 12)

5. Mitch Trubisky 
previous: outside looking in (Nov. 12)

6. Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)
previous: outside looking in (Nov. 12)

Outside looking in...

- Cam Newton (Panthers)
previous: 2 (Nov. 12)

- Jake Fromm (Georgia)
previous: 5 (Nov. 12)

- Teddy Bridgewater (Saints)
previous: outside looking in

- Jameis Winston (Buccaneers)
previous: outside looking in

-Jacob Eason (Washington)
previous: outside looking in

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Bears injury report: Trubisky full practice participant "feels a lot better"

Bears injury report: Trubisky full practice participant "feels a lot better"

The Bears have released their injury report from Wednesday's practice ahead of Week 12’s contest against the New York Giants and there’s (finally) some good news. Well, there is good news if you want Mitch Trubisky to be under center for the Bears.

Trubisky was a full participant in practice today following a hip injury that removed him from the Bears Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

This news comes after Matt Nagy’s insistence that if Trubisky is healthy, he will remain the Bears starting QB.

“We want him to be out there today at practice, we want him to be out there this week as our starter,” Nagy said of Trubisky earlier this week during a press conference.

It looks like Nagy will have his starting QB back in action this Sunday. Trubisky told reporters at Halas Hall today that he "feels a lot better." 

Other changes on the injured list: offensive lineman Bobby Massie was a full practice participant today after suffering a back injury. Tight end Adam Shaheen didn’t practice due to a foot injury. He has been on the injured list since Thursday of Week 11. Danny Trevathan didn’t practice due to an elbow injury he received during the Bears' game against the Lions in Week 10. Isaiah Irving was a limited participant after being on the injured list since Week 9 due to a quad injury. 

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