Unless the Bears do something unexpected, they will finally again have their own first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. So not only do we have to track the first round in mock drafts for the first time since 2018, we also have a position trend on which to keep an eye.
ESPN’s Todd McShay shared his first way-too-early mock NFL Draft for 2021. And with the 14th overall pick, McShay predicts Chicago selecting North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.
Here is a snippet from what McShay had to say about the pick (ESPN+):
“Lance is big, athletic and tough, and he absolutely dominated the FCS last season. He threw zero interceptions on nearly 300 pass attempts in 2019 and offered dual-threat production, rushing for 50-plus yards in nine of his 16 games. The Bears need a guy they can build around, and they can’t afford to whiff this time.”
Before I dive into the pick itself, it’s important to note that this selection says a few things about how McShay sees the Bears’ season playing out.
For starters, Tampa Bay (which went 7-9 last year) originally owned the 14th pick in the pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. In other words, McShay’s projection for the Bears’ draft positioning plants the team in the top half of the draft — and in the bottom half of the standings. Additionally, there were five other teams that posted 7-9 record’s last year, with picks ranging from 11th to 16th. Ultimately, if Chicago picks in this range, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that its quarterback situation did not go the way it hoped. And from there, it’s possible that other changes lead the Bears to a place where drafting a franchise quarterback is a high priority.
As for Lance, as a player, this highlight captures his tantalizing upside:
On 3rd-and-23 in the FCS title game, Lance drops back, reads the defense, doesn’t see anything he likes, and used that plus athleticism to make a play, score a touchdown, and help NDSU pull away for a title. Instincts and athleticism? Sign me up!
There’s been plenty of buzz surrounding Lance as a prospect this summer. He might even be the top-ranked QB in this upcoming class if he opts to leave school early. In any case, it’ll be fun keeping an eye on what draft gurus have to say about potential Bears first-round picks for the first time in a few years.
Let’s face it. It’s not a foreign idea that the Bears’ long-term quarterback solution isn’t on this roster. Moreover, fans seem to be warming to the idea that The Guy is currently toiling somewhere else right now. And it’s never too early to think about the draft … right?