PHILADELPHIA — The top two quarterback prospects in Thursday’s draft have never been to Halas Hall.
Both North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson said Wednesday that they did not receive an invitation for one of the Bears’ 30 private interviews.
That could be gamesmanship — the Bears were at Watson’s pro day, en masse, and can study his voluminous film clips, and spoke to both men at the NFL Scouting Combine— or an indication the team is just not interested in them.
“I though they’d be showing more interest,” Trubisky said at Shriners Hospital for Children, where players gathered to mingle with patients. “But who knows — some teams like to be secretive about it.”
Watson has heard the same.
“People have different roles, different opinions, different ways they do things,” Watson said. “Some teams, they’ve seen enough and they need to evaluate other people. Some people want you to come and get to know you more. You never know what’s going to happen.”
The Bears definitely wanted to get to know DeShone Kizer more. The Notre Dame quarterback visited Halas Hall twice, as allowed by the NFL’s rule that considers the Fighting Irish a “local” team in Chicago.
“I think the more time you spend with the teams, the teams are gonna get to know who you actually are,” Kizer said. “You can go and prepare yourself all day long for a formal interview at the combine, but your true personality comes out the more you spend time with them. Hopefully they had a good image of me, and I think I portrayed myself pretty well.
“If that opportunity does come, it’ll be cool to go back home and play in front of the fans I’ve been playing in front of, as far as the relationship between Chicago and Notre Dame.”
The interviews — or lack thereof —could be an indication of where the Bears will consider taking a passer in the draft. Kizer could slip to the second round; the other two aren’t likely to do the same.
Kizer, though, has stopped trying to figure out whether the Bears want him, or are just utilizing a beneficial rule.
“It’s their job as professionals,” he said, “to not allow me to know anything.”