With no clear future at quarterback and the Bears about to hold a competition between draft bust Mitch Trubisky and journeyman Nick Foles, a couple of NFL Draft experts have some advice Chicago might not want to hear:
ESPN’s Mel Kiper and NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah argued the Bears should kick the problem down the road a year rather than take a quarterback with one of their prized second-round picks. The Bears are in the tricky position of starting with the Nos. 43 and 50 picks overall, then having nothing until the fifth round.
Kiper’s advice is to address skill-position needs rather than gamble on a second-round quarterback, such as Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Washington’s Jacob Eason or Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. That would leave the Bears looking at quarterbacks on the third day of the draft, where the odds of hitting the jackpot are even worse.
‘‘I mean, who do you like in the second round?’’ Kiper said. ‘‘Jacob Eason had struggles late in games. He’s inconsistent, but he’s got a rocket arm and size — imposing size. Jake Fromm . . . do you think his arm is strong enough? . . . Those would be the two [quarterbacks to consider]. Jalen Hurts is that wild card that I’d put in the second [round].
‘‘Of that group, if you feel one of those guys has the chance to be a really good quarterback, then you would think about it. But the opportunity to get a tight end or a receiver that could help Foles or Trubisky may be the way to go.’’
Eason, who checked in at 6-6 and 231 pounds at the combine, might creep into the end of the first round. He completed 64.2 percent of his passes, averaged 240.9 yards per game, threw 23 touchdown passes against eight interceptions and felt good enough about his NFL chances to leave Washington a year early.
Fromm’s projections vary as much as any quarterback in the field, with analysts labeling him anywhere from a second-round pick to a fourth-rounder. After a big sophomore season, Fromm saw virtually all his skill players leave Georgia, and his numbers dipped across the board.
Hurts might be the biggest risk in the draft, but with great risk comes the possibility of great reward. He was a star at Alabama before Tua Tagovailoa overtook him, then shined at Oklahoma, too.
‘‘I think Jake Fromm is probably not a good fit in Chicago, so [Eason and Hurts] would be the two guys that you’d be trying to sort out,’’ Jeremiah said. ‘‘I think it makes more sense to have that competition to see Trubisky, what he can do under this type of pressure. You know what you have in Nick Foles.
‘‘I would not use one of those two [second-round] picks on a quarterback. . . . Use those two picks to try to help your football team right now. I just don’t like the options they’re going to have right there at that point.’’
That doesn’t mean the Bears should rule out quarterbacks altogether. They still can sift for gold in the late rounds.
Jeremiah recommended Oregon State’s Jake Luton, who has a similar build to Eason, and Kiper went with Florida International’s James Morgan. Kiper said he thinks Morgan is decisively the best of the late-round quarterbacks.
‘‘He can make the throws, he moves well in the pocket — I like the way James Morgan plays,’’ said Kiper, who listed Hawaii’s Cole McDonald and Colorado’s Steven Montez next. ‘‘Morgan would be the guy for me. . . . I think in the sixth round, he’d be a really good pick.’’
Bears general manager Ryan Pace said shortly after his hiring that he wanted to draft a quarterback every year, but Trubisky at No. 2 in 2017 is the only one he has taken. The most recent quarterbacks the Bears drafted before Trubisky were David Fales (sixth round, 2014), Nathan Enderle (fifth, 2011) and Dan LeFevour (sixth, 2010).