Nov 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) throws in the second quarter against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
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Almost anyone you ask will tell you the Chicago Bears are in need of help at the quarterback position. The 2017 NFL Draft could be a place where they can find that help but is it a reliable and safe option?
Just ask any expert on the NFL and the NFL draft and they will tell you that taking a quarterback in the first round of any draft is always a risk. There has been success with some guys, such as Peyton and Eli Manning. But then you have failures with guys like Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell. Sure, you can miss on other players at other positions and recover, somewhat, but drafting a quarterback is the biggest investment you can make. It’s success or failure can set you back or put you ahead for years.
And a first round pick is like gold in the NFL. You don’t want to make too many mistakes with a first rounder.
No matter where you look in the NFL, you will find success and failure with first round selections. This is true regardless of what the position is. But having success or failure with a quarterback is extra rewarding or extremely frustrating.
You could write a book about the Bears’ problems at the quarterback position over the past several years. If one thing has been consistent with this team, it’s been the issues they have had at the most important position on it. They have tried to solve this problem several times over the last few years, the latest being the trade, in 2009, to Denver for Jay Cutler.
The Bears now appear to stand ready to do something about their long-standing issues at quarterback. But what will/can they do? We could go over the possibilities for hours but for now, let’s assume that Chicago decides they want to look at drafting a quarterback in the first round. Who is available? Should they even make such a selection with their first round pick?
As of this writing, Chicago has the third pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Many experts are saying that, at this time, there are three quarterback prospects worthy of first round consideration. They are (not in any particular order) DeShaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer.
Nov 10, 2016; Durham, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws to a receiver in the first half of their game against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
Now while these three players are ranked high, an aggregate of some of the top draft sites does not have any one of these three players valued as a top five pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. But that will change. So would the Bears be wise to take one at number three or should they go another direction? Granted, bowl games haven’t been played, all-star games are pending and the scouting combine hasn’t happened yet, so any one of these three guys could move their draft stock ahead and be worthy of the number three pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Or they could fall behind.
But so far, not one quarterback has been rated as a top five talent. Not yet anyway. Now, just because a player isn’t rated as a top five pick doesn’t mean that someone won’t take him in the top five of the NFL draft. And things are bound to change between now and draft time.
Now let’s consider what the most logical thing for the Bears to do with their first-round top five pick would be? Is a quarterback really the smart choice? Could someone else be a better fit and a wiser investment? Is taking a quarterback at this point in the draft too risky?
For the value, taking a quarterback with the number three pick in the draft is very risky and the Bears are inherently not accustomed (or willing) to taking huge risks. They tend to be very careful with their draft picks and don’t get too creative. Any trading they have done has been done on a limited basis. They usually make sure that the trades are low risk and wouldn’t do a lot of damage to the team if they fail.
The way that they could and maybe should go is to trade out of the third spot, moving down in the first round and picking up additional draft picks. Landing somewhere in the middle of the first round would put them in a good position. It would also give them additional ability to pick up more talent and improve the team.
It’s very likely the Bears could easily find a willing trade partner to execute a trade with. It happens all the time.
If Chicago does move down in the draft, a quarterback could be found somewhere in the middle rounds. It’s even possible that they could find one of the three top prospects in the middle of the draft’s first round.
Were the Bears to miss out on one of the three top quarterbacks, they could always try to get someone in the second or third round. There will be talent available in those rounds with guys like Brad Kaaya and Nathan Peterman probably being there, among others.
Chicago doesn’t necessarily have to take a quarterback in the draft. Keep in mind that a lot of what they do this off-season, with the quarterbacks they have already, will dictate what they do in the draft. There will be trade possibilities and free agents outside of the draft as well.
Even though Chicago has a newer general manager, they still have the same President and ownership. The President and ownership, as previously mentioned, does not tend to take risks or make drastic moves that could cost the team too much in draft picks or money. So don’t expect anything “grand” out of the Bears in the draft. What they should do (and what everyone thinks they should do) is most likely what they won’t do.
It will be interesting to see what the Bears decide to do with their first-round selection. They haven’t picked this high in the draft since 1972 when they picked third then as well. With that pick, they selected Southern Illinois offensive tackle Lionel Antoine.
This is going to be a critical draft for the Bears. They can get a lot out of the draft if they play their cards right. Let’s just hope they decide to step out of their comfort zone a bit and do what it takes to make this team a winner. That may mean skipping taking a quarterback in the top five, moving down while grabbing additional draft picks and getting that quarterback in a later round. That might be the Bear’s safest and best bet.
With the bust potential at their point in the draft being so high for a quarterback they may consider going another direction.
What do you think the Bears should do in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft? Should they take a quarterback at number three or trade down to get additional draft picks? Please discuss this in the comments section below.