It’s elementary: Bears should take QB Watson, if he’s there

How often does a franchise in a 32-team league get the third-highest pick in the draft?

Not often.

So if you pick a loser with that choice, look out.

The ripple effect of failure is huge. Your future might be in insurance sales or lawn care. But as a big-time NFL executive, general manager, coach? Forget it.

Bears GM Ryan Pace (right) and coach John Fox can’t afford to mess up this draft after a 3-13 season. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson would bring hope to the franchise. | AP

The Bears simply need a good quarterback, yet the situation is complex and loaded.

If Clemson’s Deshaun Watson is there at No. 3, and you don’t take him, oh, boy.

Same with North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky.

If either turns into Warren Moon or Ben Roethlisberger, and you passed, you might as well tar and feather yourself and order that rail you’ll ride out of town.

If those two turn into JaMarcus Russell or J.P. Losman, you’re off the hook. Or even Akili Smith and Tim Couch. But do you know? And how do you know?

This draft will surely make or break Bears general manager Ryan Pace’s career. Same with aging coach John Fox, who could be sent out to pasture to eat clover with other cattle from a bygone era. Last season’s 3-13 record hangs over both men’s necks like an oaken yoke.

Jay Cutler’s blasé, dispiriting run as Bears quarterback for the last eight years put this city into suspended animation. Cutler was good enough to tantalize, bad enough to cause nightmares.

And the infamous Cutler Face set us back generations in the passion department. A Bears quarterback who has to manufacture emotion is like a possum that has to manufacture teeth.

Cutler hurt this NFL-loving city in numerous ways, no question about it. And that failure’s on several GMs from the past.

Now the Bears have veteran quarterback Mike Glennon to replace Cutler and help us forget about that whole era. But who is Glennon?

He’s 27, has started 18 NFL games, is tall — with a neck like a crane — and has a good arm.

Some folks say Glennon can be as terrific as Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan when Ryan’s cooking, or even a Manning brother, and all he needs is a chance. Others figure he’s closer to the norm, a stopgap until something better comes along.

But let’s say Glennon is, indeed, excellent and can lead this mediocre team to wins nobody expected. That’s great. Happy day!

But then he gets hurt. Nobody’s asking for this to happen. But such is the inevitable storyline for quarterbacks not named Tom Brady or Brett Favre. After that, the Bears would be “led’’ by recently acquired backup quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Dear God. We’ve seen that drill when Sanchez was with the Jets and Eagles. As Donald Trump would tweet, “Not a good quarterback. Bad.’’

So, in the froth of yet more drafting disaster, there go the careers of a number of Bears coaches and front-office guys (though no McCaskeys will depart because they wear bulletproof DNA overcoats).

And all this turbulence occurs because the Bears didn’t take a young, star-in-the-making quarterback with that No. 3 pick. But . . . but if they do take a QB at No. 3 — assuming they don’t trade up or down or anywhere else — and that youngster becomes a budding Cade McNown or Moses Moreno, the death spiral has merely been delayed for a year or two. It’s a fact the Bears have seen more terrible quarterbacks than most squirrels have seen nuts.

There’s a reason they pay Pace and Fox millions of dollars. They’re supposed to know things we don’t, have skills we never will.

So it’s within their pay scale to figure out this risk/reward algorithm and get it right.

If Watson were there and ready to roll, I’d snatch him in a heartbeat. He would represent hope and potential, two things the Bears have little of these days.

We’d all be delighted to see Watson grow into a leadership role, at least for a while. After that it would be, produce or take a hike, kid. Such is life.

So fix it fast, Bears. You go something like 3-13 again and get another No. 3 pick as your reward, you might as well fire everybody as high up as possible and fumigate Halas Hall.

Either that, or switch to insurance sales and lawn care.

Much easier jobs.

Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.

Email: rtelander@suntimes.com

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