Ridiculously early indications are pointing to as many as five quarterbacks going in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Yeah, it’s still nuts to me, too.
Further, as many as six of the best QB prospects could be spoken for by the time the Chicago Bears go on the clock. So if the front office had visions of drafting a developmental signal caller, the powers that be at Halas Hall might need to dig deep into the prospect files to unearth a diamond-in-the-rough type.
In that vein, Matt Miller’s mock draft at Bleacher Report is a seven-round behemoth that connects the Bears to a late-round quarterback who hasn’t previously shown up on our radar as a possible target.
With the 160th overall pick, Miller mocks Colorado quarterback Steven Montez to go to the Bears. Now, before we go deeper into the pick, this is where I clarify that Chicago does not own this selection. Miller has the Bears receiving this selection from the Las Vegas Raiders as part of the Khalil Mack trade. HOWEVER, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported the conditional pick they will receive as part of the Mack deal will come in the seventh round. For what it’s worth, that pick is projected to be No. 227. But for the sake of this post, let’s talk about Montez.
Montez checks in at 6-5 and 230 pounds, which is traditionally the type of measurements QB-thirsty front offices dream of when picturing their perfect quarterback. He was a three-year starter at Colorado, which has value somewhere in the evaluation process.
Montez also has two offseasons worth of work at the prestigious Manning Passing Academy, which is where college quarterbacks go to put in work that will help them get to the next level. Beyond that, there aren’t too many positives for Montez on the plus side of the analysis ledger.
For example, he never threw for more than 3,000 yards, or reached the 20 touchdown passing-milestone. That’s not great, especially when you consider he quarterbacked with talented players such as current Broncos running back Philip Lindsay, as well as projected first-round receiver Laviska Shenault. Montez’s stock was low going into the Senior Bowl, and did nothing to raise it during practices or on game day. That’s troubling, to say the least.
But hey, Miller’s mock not all bad. Here’s how the Bleacher Report pundit has the rest of the Bears’ draft shaking out:
- Round 2, Pick 43: Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
- Round 2, Pick 50: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
- Round 4, Pick 144: Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee (projected compensatory pick)
- Round 5, Pick 164: Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa
- Round 6, Pick 197: Shyheim Carter, S, Alabama
- Round 6, Pick 201: Trevis Gipson, EDGE, Tulsa (via Eagles/Jordan Howard trade)
- Round 7, Pick 234: Calvin Throckmortonmorton, OL, Oregon
Tight end trouble? Miller makes use of the second-round pick coming from the Las Vegas Raiders to send Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins to Chicago. Hopkins earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and won the conference’s Tight End of the Year Award, which will likely make him a hot target come draft weekend. The Bears met with Hopkins at the Senior Bowl, and could use a pass-catching tight end who has the potential to create plays in the passing game.
With the team’s other second-round pick, Miller mocks Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson to be picked by the Bears. Wilson is a 6-foot-7, 350-pound redshirt sophomore who was a standout performer (second-team All-SEC in 2019, Freshman All-American in 2018) for the Bulldogs throughout his college career. We know how much Bears GM Ryan Pace adores prospects who play their college ball at Georgia (*looks wistfully at Leonard Floyd, Roquan Smith, Javon Wims, Riley Ridley*), so I can only imagine how intriguing a two-year starter who excelled in the SEC is to this front office.
Miller’s mock draft has even more SEC flavor, as he mocks Tennessee receiver Jauan Jennings and Alabama safety Shyheim Carter to the Bears in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively. Sandwiched between those selections is another Big Ten product in Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia in Round 5. This mock rounds out with Oregon offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton being Chicago’s seventh-round pick. Nabbing a pair of offensive linemen, some secondary depth, and pass-catching help in the draft is one way to re-tool the Bears. Overall, this mock draft sprays to all fields and helps the Bears fill a variety of needs despite not owning a ton of draft capital. Not bad.
And yet, I can’t help but come back to the quarterback position.
Miller has 13 quarterbacks being selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, which feels about right. And for what it’s worth, there appear to be plenty of options after the middle rounds. Miller has Jake Fromm (58th, Vikings), Jalen Hurts (91st, Raiders), Anthony Gordon (158th, Falcons), Cole McDonald (214th, Patriots), James Morgan (222nd, Panthers), Nate Stanley (237th, Titans), and Kevin Davidson (255th, Broncos) being selected after the grouping of five projected to be taken in the first round.
So should the Bears be in search of a developmental rookie, there doesn’t appear to be a shortage of later-round picks.