The Chicago Bears have won consecutive games, diving head first back into the playoff picture, while forcing our discussions about the future to the back-burner … but only momentarily.
I say “momentary” because Matt Miller’s final scouting notebook at Bleacher Report has one doozy of a mock draft and I can’t just ignore it. Therein, Miller has Ohio State quarterback Justin Field dropping out of the
top-3 top-5 top-10 of the 2021 NFL Draft. No, seriously.
Miller has Fields falling to 11th. That’s where Miller projects the Detroit Lions to scoop him up as Matthew Stafford’s heir apparent. After all, Stafford is getting older and more expensive for a team seemingly on the cusp of a(nother) rebuild. Miller yields that Fields’ draft stock is a hot-button conversation around the league. Fields has undeniable talent, eye-popping ability, and drool-worthy tools. But, as was on display in the Big Ten title game against Northwestern, Fields’ processing ability and decision-making popped up as a red flag to anyone watching that game.
And ultimately, Miller concludes: “Fans shouldn’t anoint or automatically insert Fields as the No. 2 quarterback in this class. Not yet, at least.”
In other words, there’s a real chance that Fields’ draft stock takes a tumble. And if that turns out to be the case, the Bears better be interested.
Even with notable warts in his game, Fields is still a top-tier quarterback prospect in this class. In many other classes, particularly ones that don’t have Trevor Lawrence at the top, Fields would be considered the top QB prospect. The combination of loud tools, prospect pedigree, and experience against top competition tends to make front office executives go wild. Again, I don’t want to overlook the real issues Fields has when it comes to his game. Fields isn’t a polished prospect. Nor is he a finished product. However, I don’t want to get too bogged down in letting a small sample throw my evaluation of a prospect for a loop.
Considering the Bears’ needs at quarterback and Fields’ upside, this team would be wise to prepare contingency plans if he falls past the Jets (who have the 2nd pick) or Panthers (4th). The Falcons, Dolphins (who own Houston’s pick), Eagles, Cowboys, Chargers, and Giants all make for sensible trade partners. Although, the Falcons, Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants could all conceivably target Fields, themselves. Adding a quarterback on a rookie-scale deal, then jettisoning whichever in-house QB for a haul isn’t the worst idea. So, I reiterate the necessity to check in with potential trade partners just in case something pops up.
Remember, fortune favors the bold. And there wouldn’t be something bolder than trading up from the middle part of the NFL Draft to snag an elite quarterback prospect to inject some new blood into the organization. Just saying.