Why the Bears Are Meeting with the Draft’s Top QB Prospects (And It’s Not Just About Trades)
For the second time this month, a report has surfaced declaring the Bears will have eyes on the NFL Draft’s top quarterback prospects.
You’re up, Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith:
Before you rage reply to this bit of news, worried that they’re actually going to draft a quarterback to replace Justin Fields, let’s hash this out.
Smith cites reporting from CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, who still notes that these meetings aren’t an indication that the Bears are going quarterback with the first pick. Moreover, Jones relays that his sources believe the Bears are not drafting a QB in Round 1. And that Fields remains entrenched as Chicago’s QB1. With that being said, we need to discuss this bit of reporting.
Remember earlier in February when ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was reporting that the Bears will “do their homework” on Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, and Kentucky’s Will Levis. As we discussed when that report dropped, a little bit of homework never hurt anyone. In fact, not taking these extra steps would be malpractice from this front office.
I mean, it wasn’t that long ago when Ryan Pace didn’t do his due diligence in the quarterback selection process in 2017 (While I’d like to leave the past in my rearview mirror, there are times to bring it up — if only to not make the same mistake again. A wise woman taught me that over mimosas. And to think, I used to believe nothing good happened before noon on a weekend).
Anyway, GM Ryan Poles, Assistant GM Ian Cunningham, and everyone who reports to them should be unearthing every morsel of knowledge that can come from draft-eligible prospects. After all, the more they know about Young, Stroud, Levis, Anthony Richardson, or anyone else who might shoot up draft boards, the better positioned they’ll be in trade talks with interested parties.
But what if these meetings aren’t necessarily all about the quarterbacks? Or even all about leverage for trades. Follow me for a moment.
What if the Bears want to talk to Bryce Young about his Alabama teammate Will Anderson Jr.? The Bears could conceivably take Anderson with their first pick. And it could be useful to get some background from someone who faced him in practice daily. Perhaps Chicago’s conversation with C.J. Stroud could center around Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a receiver who Justin Fields seems to have an interest in teaming with again. Checking in with Florida’s Anthony Richardson could help dig up info on offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence, who is someone that should be on the Bears’ radar if you consider their needs in the trenches. Kentucky’s Will Levis doesn’t have a bunch of high-profile draft-eligible teammates, but playing in the SEC could give him perspective on a number of prospects. I could go on.
In the end, this could be helpful for so many reasons. So don’t let reports that the Bears will meet quarterbacks at the combine tweak you. Instead, think of it as a small part of a larger process. If anything, just consider it a notable step away from how the old regime would do things.