The Athletic’s Chicago Bears fan survey is OUT. And as one might expect, the responses and reactions from more than 1,800 participants are equally entertaining and informative.
I would encourage you to check it out and get a grasp for what your fellow fans are feeling at the moment. In the meantime, there is one particular section from the polls that I wanted to highlight.
One of the questions asked Who will be the Bears’ starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2021 season? Obviously, we still don’t know who will be under center come the start of the 2020 season, but let’s talk about how Bears fans feel about the long-term look at the position. Because it’s becoming clear that Chicago’s long-term quarterback solution is not currently on this roster.
About 20 percent of the 1,569 responses voted for someone not currently on the Bears. Of those respondents, 106 (~6.8%) believe a rookie will be taking the snaps when the 2021 season gets underway. That might seem small, but it’s not quite out there either, now is it? As for whom that might be, The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain writes Ohio State’s Justin Fields picked up the most votes (21). I also saw North Dakota State’s Trey Lance receiving consideration. And with good reason, as both Fields and Lance are at the top of some way-too-early draft boards.
For instance, Lance is QB2 and Fields is QB3 in Dane Brugler’s 2021 draft class.
Lance’s diverse playmaking ability is his top trait according to Brugler: “Lance is just as likely to hit a receiver in stride 50 yards downfield as he is to tuck and scape 50 yards down the spine of the defense.” Giggity. And if that doesn’t pique your interest, this should: “(Lance) takes care of the football and rarely looks panicked, competing with a swagger that has become the identity of the Bison offense.”
Swagger and confidence? That’s essentially the opposite of what the Bears have had under center for the greater part of my lifetime watching the team.
Fields, meanwhile, is a superb talent.
Brugler lists Fields’ “confident demeanor” as his best trait. Additionally, Brugler underscores Fields’ “calm, cool demeanor” as one of his main takeaways from watching the OSU standout’s game film. He also writes: “Fields is impressive from a physical standpoint with his NFL-ready size, strong arm and agile athleticism. But his innate confidence is what really allows him to unlock those traits and be productive.” Well, shoot. No wonder Fields got a bunch of love from Bears fans in The Athletic’s poll. There’s clearly a lot to love there.
But there’s a catch. For the Bears to be in a position to draft Lance or Fields, they’ll need to (1) be bad enough to “earn” a premium pick or (2) follow the 2017 Chiefs/Texans blueprint. If you’ll recall, both of those teams traded future draft capital in order to move up to take a quarterback.
We’ll conveniently ignore the other notable trade-up to take a QB for the sake of this post.
And while I don’t love moving future draft picks so often, K.C. and Houston proved it *can be* worth it. And for what it’s worth, a way-too-early mock from Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling sends Lance to Chicago with the 12th overall pick. Otherwise, the Bears could be picking someone like Georgia’s Jamie Newman, who Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski has going to the Bears with the 14th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Of course, drafting a quarterback isn’t the only solution. Free-agents-to-be Dak Prescott and Cam Newton also received votes from fans. Yesterday, we discussed the non zero chance Prescott is takes the snaps as QB1 in 2021.
As for Newton, remember when reports surfaced in November that he would welcome a trade to Chicago? Fun times. We also discussed Newton as a possible target at various points this offseason. The Panthers reportedly tried shopping him to the Bears before they cut him. I’ll be curious to see what his market looks like after a year in New England.
But before we get to that point, we must go through the Mitchell Trubisky-Nick Foles training camp battle experience. So, yeah, maybe looking into the crystal ball with 2021 in mind seems foolish. But as Bears fans know there is never a bad time to look down the road at potential future quarterbacks.