Ya Know, The Bears Don't Have to Take a QB in the First Round of the 2021 NFL Draft | Bleacher Nation

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Ya Know, The Bears Don’t Have to Take a QB in the First Round of the 2021 NFL Draft

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have a quarterback problem. Unfortunately, as things currently stand, they also have just the 13th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And while that’s a better spot than where they were projected to pick before Sunday’s loss, No. 13 likely keeps them out of range for one of this class’ premier QB prospects. But remember, this is an offense that ranks 29th in points and 31st in yards this year … quarterback is hardly their only problem.

So with all of that in mind, I *am* open to Chicago choosing a non-quarterback prospect in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft, even if it’s not necessarily our preferred route.

Which brings me to Dane Brugler’s first mock draft of 2020:

Brugler sends Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater to the Bears with their first-round pick. It would be a controversial decision in some corners – particularly among fans who desperately want a quarterback. But in an ironic twist, whomever happens to be Chicago’s next quarterback would likely love the pick. Go figure.

As you may well know by now, the Bears’ offensive line is a tangled mess. In its absolute *best* moments, its an average-to-slightly-above-average group. But we haven’t seen this group play consistently at its best, and it has become perfectly obvious that it needs an overhaul across the board. Hence, drafting a top-tier offensive tackle as a pillar for the offense is a sensible option. Moreover, selecting Slater would likely be well-received by a number of fans, analysts, insiders, and players.

Brugler clearly likes Slater enough to make him the second offensive lineman off the board. He recalls Slater’s handling of then-Ohio State star Chase Young, notes his “technically sound approach” at his position, and the flexibility to play all five offensive line spots. In short, drafting a plug-and-play starting offensive lineman would be a welcome turn of events.

And for what it’s worth, Brugler isn’t alone in loving Slater:

So … not only is Slater a top tier offensive lineman worth drafting early, this class appears to have depth. That’s good news.

But here’s the thing that is keeping from going full-go on drafting a lineman with the Bears’ first-round pick. There remains a possibility that Chicago could trade up to snag its dream quarterback prospect. And it’s not a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream, either. We’ll take Brugler’s mock draft as a road map toward chasing the dream.

Brugler has Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson going 1-2 in his first mock. Following the quarterbacks are OL Penei Sewell (Bengals), CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech), and CB Patrick Surtain (Chargers). This chain of events drops Ohio State’s Justin Fields to sixth, where the Panthers make him Teddy Bridgewater’s heir apparent. It would be a coup for Carolina to get Fields with the sixth pick. But it would be a bigger win for the Bears to leap-frog the Panthers and landing their potential franchise-changing quarterback.

Let me be clear. If Fields isn’t taken in the first two picks, it would behoove the Bears to burn up the phone lines until they can get into a position to draft him. Dial up Dallas. Call up Cincinnati. Listen to whatever Los Angeles would want for a return. Whatever it takes to move in front of the Panthers. And yes, trading up will be costly. I’m already imagining a scenario in which first-rounders in 2021 and 2022 go along with another pick from this draft class (a third?) and possibly a second-rounder in 2022. However, it might be worth it to land a prospect with Fields’ credentials. Because in most other drafts that don’t have Trevor Lawrence, Fields would likely be the class’ top prospect.

In the end, the Bears have a number of needs to address in the upcoming draft. And for the first time since 2018, they’ll have a first-round pick to play with when they go about finding solutions to their problems. For the record, I’d rather be chasing playoff position. But the idea of running down the next great stud offensive talent tickles me more with each passing day.

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.