When it comes to this year’s draft, the Bears surely hope that other teams find their Mitch Trubisky. Whatever a team does to assess a quarterback, like take a covert trip to campus like the Bears did, the Bears are all for it.
The Browns (first, fourth picks), Giants (second), Broncos (fifth) and Jets (sixth) all need quarterbacks, and a run on them early in the draft undoubtedly will benefit the Bears, who hold the eighth pick.
With the NFL Scouting ombine starting Wednesday, here’s a look at quarterbacks who will affect the Bears’ draft plans.
The hired guns
The combine can be more important for free agency. It’s where talks begin and markets are set for players. Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum and A.J. McCarron highlight the free-agent class.
RELATED STORIES What to watch for when Pace, Nagy hold court at combine Bears finalize coaching staff
Similar to the Bears’ signing of Mike Glennon, bringing in Keenum or McCarron shouldn’t deter teams from drafting their own Trubisky. But signing Cousins, who was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016, to the deal he will command likely would prevent a team from using a high draft pick on another quarterback.
After using the franchise tag the past two seasons on Cousins, the Redskins are moving on. Their trade for Alex Smith will be official on March 14, the first day of the new league year.
With a veteran-laden defense and proven receivers, the Broncos would appear to be a good fit for Cousins. The Jets reportedly also are keen on him. The Vikings shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Cousins would be an upgrade over Keenum.
The blue chips
USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen are considered the best quarterbacks in the draft, but they have their warts. Neither lived up to their potential or hype in college.
With new general manager John Dorsey, the Browns should be closely watched with two of the first four picks. Dorsey coveted Trubisky last year when he was with the Chiefs.
Teams were concerned about Trubisky’s inexperience last year. For Darnold, it’s his high turnover rate (20 in 2017) and his throwing motion. For Rosen, it’s his outspoken personality and durability.
The big arm
Wyoming’s Josh Allen recently caused a stir on social media with a video of a throw from his knees that hit the crossbar from 50 yards away.
It was reminiscent of what Kyle Boller did before the Ravens drafted him with the 19th overall pick in 2003. Of course Boller, whom Allen is often compared to, turned out to be a regrettable selection for the Ravens.
Allen stands out for his ideal size (6-5, 233 pounds) and natural ability, but he completed only 56.2 percent of his passes at Wyoming. Boller completed 47.8 percent of his passes at California.
Allen’s inaccuracy stood out during Senior Bowl practices, but he was better in the game.
The wild card
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield is the most accomplished quarterback, but at 6-1, he doesn’t have ideal size. He also comes from a spread system and has a track record worthy of debate.
Teams will like that Mayfield went from a walk-on to a three-year starter and a Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma. His teammates apparently love his demeanor and fiery passion.
But there is more to consider, especially since Mayfield will be the new face of an organization.
In February 2017, Mayfield was arrested and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing an officer.
During the season, Mayfield directed a crotch grab at Kansas’ bench during a game. He also received negative publicity for planting an Oklahoma flag in the middle of Ohio State’s field after a victory.
The later picks
Quarterbacks also will affect the Bears’ second-round pick and ability to move around in the draft.
The Cardinals (No. 15), Saints (No. 27), Steelers (No. 28), Vikings (No. 30) and Patriots (No. 31) are among the teams that could address quarterback early this year.
The second tier of quarterbacks includes Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and Washington State’s Luke Falk.
Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.