ESPN’s Mel Kiper: Bears have no shot at elite QB prospect with 20th pick in NFL Draft

With the top five quarterback prospects expected to go in the top 10-12 picks, the Bears won’t find their franchise player at No. 20.

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Mel Kiper says if the Bears want a QB early, they should either trade up for one of the top five or trade down and take Kyle Trask.

Mel Kiper says if the Bears want a QB early, they should either trade up for one of the top five or trade down and take Kyle Trask.

Gail Burton/AP

The Bears need to give up the dream of landing a franchise quarterback at No. 20 in the upcoming NFL Draft. Although there are examples of QBs being taken there or much later and turning into stars, the odds are against it.

And waiting for one of the top five prospects to fall to them at No. 20 is completely unrealistic, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said Monday. He’s rarely at a loss for words but seemed genuinely stumped by the quarterback puzzle that general manager Ryan Pace is trying to solve this offseason.

“I don’t think any of the [top] five will be there — that’s the problem,” Kiper said. “If [the Bears] move up, that’s the only option.

“They keep holding out hope, it seems like, that they can make a trade for Russell Wilson, but I don’t necessarily see that happening. And they didn’t make a move to try to get Carson Wentz. I don’t know where they’re gonna go for a quarterback. Marcus Mariota’s name has been circulating. But they’re a tricky team to try to figure out who the quarterback’s gonna be.”

The Bears were rumored to be pursuing Wilson and Deshaun Watson, but there has been little evidence either player is legitimately on the trading block. In Wilson’s case, not only would the Seahawks have to surrender their franchise quarterback, but they’d also have to absorb a $39 million dead-salary-cap hit. They’d be blowing up their team, which seems extremely unlikely coming off a 12-4 season.

No other stars are expected to be available in free agency or by trade. The Bears would have to settle for another team’s backup, such as the Raiders’ Mariota, or a cheap veteran such as Alex Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bears also haven’t ruled out bringing back Mitch Trubisky.

Any of those quarterbacks would leave them still searching for a permanent answer, and again, they can forget about the five supposed gems of this draft class: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Alabama’s Mac Jones. Kiper predicted all of them will be gone no later than the 12th pick, leaving Florida’s Kyle Trask as the top quarterback the Bears could hope to land early in the draft.

Trask is viewed as a raw talent — does anyone employed by the Bears have enough job security to wait on his development? — but finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting after throwing for 4,283 yards and 43 touchdowns with eight interceptions for the Gators.

“I mean, Kyle Trask, if you want to go to the sixth quarterback in this draft . . . if you move off of No. 20 and get into the late first or early second, then I think [he] would make sense,” Kiper said. “He’s got a second-round grade. . . . If they like Kyle Trask, I would move down from No. 20 and get him in either the late portion of Round 1 or early in the second.”

That’s far from an enthusiastic endorsement, and the Bears’ bleak chances of drafting a prized quarterback raise further skepticism about their plans for the position. All they have at the moment are Nick Foles and a bunch of hypotheticals, and there are limited options to fix that.

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