Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy likes what he sees in this crop of draft-eligible quarterbacks, and he’s fired up about diving into the evaluation process with GM Ryan Pace. Collaborating, if you will.
If you can stifle your laughter for a moment, we can get to some noteworthy quotes.
“Ryan and I are super excited about going through that right now, and how we do it,” Nagy said during Friday’s press availability. “It’s a challenge, but we look forward to it. There’s a lot of good quarterbacks in this Draft class.”
For his sake, I’m glad Nagy feels this way. Because it sounds like Pace is open to bringing another quarterback into the room. One far younger with more long-term upside than Andy Dalton or Nick Foles.
“We have a lot of experience in that room when you look at it now,” Pace said. “I think that does bode well for a young quarterback to enter that room with the experience of those two guys.”
And with that, both Nagy and Pace have hinted at Chicago bringing a new quarterback into the fold. Moreover, their words provide more anecdotal evidence that selecting a quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft is fully on the table. Drafting a quarterback became the most logical path to improving that position after failing to trade for Russell Wilson. And after hearing Pace and Nagy talk about the option, it seems realistic, too.
So, who’s it gonna be?
First, let’s highlight Nagy’s assessment that there are “a lot of good quarterbacks” in this class. Because, to me, that hints at a couple of things that Nagy isn’t explicitly saying. For instance, Nagy is suggesting he likes this quarterback class as a whole. Having Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields at the top puts this group in a good place. But players such as Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones, all of whom have tantalizing upside of their own, really bolster the group. However, the Bears not being in a position to draft anyone in that top-5 makes me wonder why Nagy would be so excited about a group from which he doesn’t figure Pace will be picking from later this month. Which brings me to thinking about how the build-up to the Draft can lead this thing into one of two ways.
For instance, it could mean that Nagy likes quarterbacks beyond the projected top-5. Maybe Kellen Mond, who makes Chris Simms’ top-5 but isn’t viewed that highly by other talent-evaluators, is someone catching Nagy’s eye. Mond has mobility, athleticism, and arm strength, but could stand to smooth out some mechanical things. Perhaps Davis Mills is a prospect who intrigues this front office. Mills was a five-star prospect coming out of high school, but injuries haven’t allowed him to play enough to show off that skill. There are some real post-hype sleeper vibes surrounding the Stanford product. And that QBs Coach John DeFilippo attended his Pro Day and asked for him to make a specific throw hints at possible strong interest from the team.
The alternative path fills me with intrigue and stress.
What if the Bears trade UP in the Draft to take one of the top prospects? If that’s the case, it would mean that Pace has the audacity to move future assets. That would be bold for a GM entering a lame-duck year. But it would also mean Nagy has enough conviction to push Pace to make a move. That is, of course, if they are truly working in a collaborative way. And if that is the case, then it would be a change from the 2017 process that got us here in the first place. As far as I’m concerned, straying from that path is an immediate step in the right direction. It’s a small step, to be sure. But a welcome one.
If that’s how the cookie crumbles, I’ll be equally impressed, fascinated, and worried as heck. Don’t get me wrong. A splash move at quarterback would lift the spirits of Bears fans thirsting for someone new under center. But Pace doesn’t have much (if any) goodwill left to deal from based on how he has navigated the QB waters in previous years. And because Nagy was unable to unlock Mitchell Trubisky’s talents, it’s fair to question if he should be allowed another spin at the wheel.
Pace and Nagy implied they have learned from the Trubisky experience. On one end, it’s Pace and the evaluation process — which should have changed drastically after 2017. And on the other, it’s Nagy and his coaching up a player whose limitations should have forced more schematic changes. In either case, both should have come away with a better sense of what to do at the position. And in some cases, what what-not to do. Unfortunately, nothing provides assurances they’ll get it right when the Bears go on the clock.
But in the end, the signs are pointing toward the Bears taking a quarterback at some point during Draft weekend. Who it is and how they go about it remains a mystery. Let the unraveling process begin.