The quarterback position is always on our mind. And even though Mitch Trubisky is locked in as QB1 and Chase Daniel is right behind him as the sidekicking/soothsaying/quarterback whispering back-up, there will come a time when the Bears will need a different option among the reserves.
To be clear, I’m not looking for someone to challenge Trubisky in camp – his hold on the job is as firm as can be, right now. Instead, this about the Bears investing in a developmental quarterback – someone who can keep the ball rolling if Trubisky were to miss an extended period of time or a signal caller who can grow into future trade bait, much like what the Patriots did with Jimmy Garoppolo a few years ago.
So while this isn’t to say the Bears should use their 2019 third-round selection in the upcoming draft on that guy, the Bears should be on the lookout for that option. With that in mind, let’s go over the Senior Bowl signal callers who could be on the Bears’ radar.
Trace McSorley, Penn State
I’m not going to base my assessment of a player on one tweet, but Gerry DiNardo’s latest describing McSorley is an eye-opener:
B1G @seniorbowl Every comment on Trace @McSorley_IX starts with his size then people say but he can play anyway.He’s physical,tough, accurate with short ball & 50/50 ball. He fits with the West Coast off which he’s running @ the game with Raiders & Gruden’s staff @PennStateFball
— Gerry DiNardo (@gerrydinardo) January 23, 2019
That one hits all the notes and buzzwords, doesn’t it? Accurate with short passes and 50-50 deep balls and a fit for the West Coast offense sounds like the type of quarterback that would thrive in Chicago if Matt Nagy was to get his hands on him. McSorley is a gritty, grinder type whose game can be kin to watching a high-wire act. Size is an issue (6-0, 203 pounds), but he threw for 18 touchdowns and added 12 more on the ground last year.
Ryan Finley, North Carolina State
After the Mike Glennon experience, I can understand why a quarterback from NC State might not be your cup of tea. But Finley completed 67 percent of his passes, threw for 3,928 yards, and had a 25-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Finley’s accuracy over the middle and ability to complete safe throws are strengths. The ability to process the game quickly and not put the ball in dangerous places are important concepts to have a firm grasp on as a developing quarterback.
Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
Part of me thinks Jackson should have stuck around for his senior year at Buffalo, but there comes a point in a player’s career where there isn’t anything you can learn in college that you can’t learn at the next level. Jackson is a physical specimen at 6-7 and 245 pounds, but one with big-throw capabilities. He threw for 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, but completed just 55 percent of his passes. That’s a red flag that opens up questions that need answers.
Will Grier, West Virginia
Finding a feeling for Grier’s future has its challenges. I’ve browsed through mock drafts that have him going as early as Round 1 and as late as Round 4. Maybe he lands somewhere in between? Grier put up some solid numbers for the Mountaineers last year, throwing for 3,864 yards, tossing 37 TD and just 8 interceptions. There is definitely some talent there, but the future is hazy. Grier was also pegged with a one-year suspension for the use of performance-enhancing substances, which led to his transfer out of Florida and into West Virginia.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Another prospect who might have benefited from one more year on campus, but an intriguing quarterback nonetheless. Stidham left Auburn despite finishing an underwhelming season in which he completed 61 percent of his passes and threw for just 2,794 yards. Throwing 18 touchdowns against just 5 interceptions isn’t bad, it’s just that there is something left to be desired. Then again, that makes him an ideal fit as a developmental project.
Gardner Minshew II, Washington State
Minshew made the most of his one season playing in Mike Leach’s air raid system at Washington State, winning the 2018 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, taking home the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Year award, and being named a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Davey O’Brien Award. He finished third in college football in completion percentage (70.7%) and second in passing yards (4,779), so there is plenty of accuracy to go along with volume. Minshew appears to have the type of skillset that would allow him to jump into being a serviceable backup sooner, rather than later, but isn’t projected to be a high-round pick just yet. Perhaps he can sway the minds of decision-makers at the Senior Bowl