Jacob Eason

What the Bears should expect if they pick a quarterback in 2020 NFL Draft

What the Bears should expect if they pick a quarterback in 2020 NFL Draft

You might be excited if Jacob Eason or Jake Fromm or Jordan Love or Jalen Hurts slip to the Bears with the 43rd or 50th pick in this year’s draft, allowing Ryan Pace the opportunity to draft someone who could finally be a long-term fix for Chicago's football bugaboo. 

And you should be! The hope and intrigue of Fromm or Love or whoever showing up to Halas Hall with the backing of being a top-50 pick would be fun. The Bears have only picked one quarterback in Pace’s five drafts, that being Mitch Trubisky, who’s the reason why all anyone can talk about is what this quarterback-stricken team is going to do with the most important position in football. 

But drafting a quarterback outside the first round does come with a serious “buyer beware” message: Don’t expect that guy to be an immediate solution. 

Since the 2012 draft — the first under the current (and, likely, soon-to-be-former) CBA — taking a quarterback in the first round has been incentivized thanks to the availability the fifth-year option. It’s why teams like the Ravens and Vikings traded back into the first round to take Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater, respectively, with the 32nd overall pick: That extra year of team control afforded by the fifth-year option is incredibly valuable. 

That means most teams legitimately in the market for a starting quarterback or quarterback of the future will do whatever they can to get that guy in the first round. If a quarterback is on the board at pick No. 33, there likely are significant questions about his potential. 

Since 2012, 24 quarterbacks have been taken in the first round, while only six (six!) have been picked in the second round. Here’s how every quarterback picked in a draft since 2012 has fared, on average, in their rookie seasons, broken down by round: 

First round (24): 11 starts, 214/358 (60%), 2454 yards, 6.9 Y/A, 13 TD/10 INT, 4-7 record, 80.9 passer rating

Second round (6): 9 starts, 162/284 (57%), 1737 yards, 6.1 Y/A, 9 TD, 10 INT, 3-7 record, 71.0 passer rating

Third round (11): 5 starts, 105/172 (61%), 1152 yards, 6.7 Y/A, 7 TD, 4 INT, 3-4 record, 84.7 passer rating

Fourth-seventh rounds (40): 2 starts, 32/54 (59%), 360 yards, 6.7 Y/A, 2 TD, 2 INT, 2-3 record, 76.2 passer rating

And a bonus:

Mitch Trubisky (2019): 15 starts, 326/516 (63.2%), 3,138 yards, 6.1 yards/attempt, 17 TDs, 10 INTs, 8-7 record, 83.0 passer rating

So on average, second-round quarterbacks have been worse their rookie years than Trubisky was in 2019. 

Third-rounders look better thanks to Russell Wilson dragging those numbers up. Only two of those 40 Day 3 picks made much of a first-year impact (Dak Prescott and Gardner Minshew). 

The Bears’ best long-term bet is to start drafting quarterbacks every year — the thing Pace said was a good idea, but hasn’t followed through on, way back in 2015. Drafting one in the second round this year could get them the next Derek Carr without actually having to trade for Derek Carr.

But if they do, hope and expectations may not sync up. 

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

Should the Bears target QB/TE in second round of 2020 NFL draft?

Should the Bears target QB/TE in second round of 2020 NFL draft?

The 2020 NFL draft will be here before you know it. The Senior Bowl gets underway with practices beginning on January 20, and the NFL Scouting Combine will follow soon after from February 23 to March 2. Add in a slew of college pro days, and it's draft weekend.

Free agency will play a big part in which positions the Bears target with their two second-round picks, but the way the 2020 draft class is looking right now after the slew of underclassmen declarations, there are two positions that may make the most sense for GM Ryan Pace: quarterback and tight end.

This year's quarterback class will feature several first-rounders, including LSU's Joe Burrow, Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon's Justin Herbert. Other prospects like Utah State's Jordan Love and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts have also received some first-round praise. But that doesn't mean Chicago won't have a chance to land a promising player with starter's upside at picks 43 or 50.

Washington's Jacob Eason, for example, is a prime candidate to come off the board in the early portion of Day 2, and with Mitch Trubisky's status as the team's starter in 2020 on shaky ground, it's an absolute necessity that Pace add a prospect to the roster from this year's class.

Whether he pulls the trigger on a quarterback in the second round is anyone's guess, but if he does, Eason would be hard to pass up. Here's how The Draft Network broke down his game:

Eason has a cannon for an arm and projects best into an aggressive vertical passing offense to take advantage of his arm talent to the deeper levels of the field.

He'd bring that touchdown-to-checkdown mentality that Matt Nagy has preached to Trubisky, who has yet to look like anything resembling a consistent NFL starter.

Quarterback won't be the only focus for Pace early in the 2020 draft. He has to fix the tight end position too, and the recent decision by Notre Dame's Cole Kmet to declare for the draft was great news for the Bears.

Kmet will jockey for the right to be this year's top tight end prospect throughout draft season. But even if he earns that title, he probably won't be a first-round pick. The top tight ends in the 2020 class are clustered together as early second-rounders, which, again, is fantastic for the Bears. Chicago can upgrade from Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen with one pick, and Kmet could be that guy.

Kmet's skill set as a receiver, while offering the baseline minimum as a run blocker, make him an every-down player who could eventually do for the Bears what many of the league's more reliable tight ends do for their offenses. He'd be a massive upgrade over anyone Chicago fielded in 2019, and that includes Burton.

If the Bears were able to come away from the second round of the 2020 NFL draft with Eason and Kmet, the offense would at least have a candidate to start immediately next season and a much-needed prospect at the game's most important position. 

And that would be an absolute win.

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