The Chicago Bears are approaching what might be GM Ryan Pace’s most important draft. It could also very well be his last. With holes to fill throughout the roster and eight picks at his disposal, Pace sets out on a weekend in search of impact talent and players with upside. With all eyes on the 2021 NFL Draft, let’s check out some of the more promising draft-eligible prospects who have been rumored to be persons of interest.
Performance, Rankings, Accomplishments
• Measurements: 6-4, 217 pounds, 31-3/8-inch arms, 9-1/2-inch hands
• 2020 stats: 5 games, 129/195 (66.2%), 1,508 passing yards, 7 TD, 3 INT; 30 rushes, 37 yards, 3 TD
• Career stats: 14 games, 287/438 (65.5%), 3,468 yards, 18 TD, 8 INT; 63 rushes, 86 yards, 3 TD; 1 catch, 8 yards, 1 TD
• Accomplishments: USA Today listed Davis Mills as the top QB in the 2017 high school class. That put him ahead of 2020 NFL Draft picks Tua Tagovailoa (3rd) and Jake Fromm (4th). It also put him above 2021 NFL Draft classmates Kellen Mond (7th) and Sam Ehlinger (8th).
• Position ranking: 8th (ESPN), 7th (Pro Football Focus), 7th (The Draft Network), 8th (Pro Football Network)
The NFL.com Draft Profile Says…
I can’t help but be into Mills’ profile. The strengths highlighted in his profile are borderline drool worthy:
⇒ “Throwing motion is buttery smooth and effortless.”
⇒ “Ball comes out with some zip on a tight spiral.”
⇒ “Works with impressive anticipation for an inexperienced quarterback.”
The Bears sent John DeFilippo to scout Davis Mills at Stanford’s Pro Day. And DeFilippo even asked for Mills to make a specific throw. That’s noteworthy.
Where’s the Fit?
If the Bears had more stability at the top of the depth chart, signing off on drafting Davis Mills would be easy. Seeing if Mills’ prospect pedigree can shine through as a developmental project after rigorous work with Matt Nagy, John DeFilippo, and Bill Lazor would be something worth watching. Unfortunately, the Bears don’t seem to be in a position to roll the dice and make that bet with someone of Mills’ stature. At least, not as a first-rounder. Not with his knee injury history that has seen him undergo multiple surgeries. And certainly not with the lack of experience under his belt. Post-hype sleepers are totally my bag, but I’m hesitant after the last QB the Bears chose who happened to have limited experience.
All things being equal, Mills would be a Day 2-3 target who could develop in a more stable situation ahead of him on the depth chart. An anonymous West Coast scout for an AFC Team said of Davis: “He’s going to be a starter. He was a big-time player coming out, but he just hasn’t been healthy, which is the only reason he never became a bigger name.”
There’s a real chance that Mills becomes just another hot-shot prospect who never pans out as a pro. But there is a non-zero chance that Mills beats the odds, gets a clean bill of health, and shows why he was highly regarded in the first place. Maybe if the Bears can’t snag a stud at the top of the draft, Mills could be a fall-back option after filling other needs with earlier picks.