Do Bears have the stomach for using top pick on a QB? Doubtful
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With history as our guide, can we all agree that the Bears wouldn’t know a quarterback from a three-legged dachshund?
What concerns me heading into the NFL draft Thursday is the vibe emanating from Halas Hall that no quarterback is worthy of being chosen where the team is choosing — No. 3 overall.
Now, maybe the Bears are taking part in the time-honored strategy of lying through their mouth guards when it comes to the draft. They could be offering up some misdirection in the hopes of landing the quarterback they really want or of pushing another team to make a draft-day trade that would help the Bears. General manager Ryan Pace says he’ll take “the best player available,’’ and, on the surface, that doesn’t sound like a quarterback, does it?
Let’s say that the Bears’ hints and whispers are true, that there isn’t a quarterback they want with the third overall pick. Doesn’t it concern you that North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky has steadily moved up many a mock draft, to the point where he might be gone before the Bears even make their first-round pick? It certainly worries me. What does everybody know that the Bears might not know?
You could make the very sound argument that they shouldn’t care what the spectacularly inept Browns, who have the No. 1 pick, think of a quarterback. Or the 49ers at No. 2.
And you can feel comfortable asserting that there is nothing more dramatic than the sound of a first-round quarterback failing, a fairly regular sound in the league. So why risk everything on one?
But other people believe Trubisky is NFL-ready, despite having started only one year for the Tar Heels. Others believe in Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer.
What if this truly is the Bears’ best chance to finally solve a problem that has dogged them for years?
It’s a question that should scare the bejabbers out of any Bears fan. The instinct, given the team’s history, is to believe they’ll do the opposite of a franchise-altering move. A right turn into a wall instead of a left turn in the direction of a Super Bowl.
Maybe I have this wrong. Maybe Pace will act the soft-spoken savant, make the prudent pick — a fast, strong defensive lineman who will be another piece in a resurgent defense — and everyone will look back on that pick years from now and smile with gratitude.
If Pace chooses Trubisky, Watson or any of the quarterbacks, it will be the one of the gutsiest decisions in Chicago sports history. A wrong pick at quarterback with the No. 3 pick will be the end of him in this town.
But if he does choose a quarterback who turns out to be a star, Pace will be a sports hero here.
I don’t see a swashbuckler when I look at Pace. I see caution and consensus, pencils sharpened and paper stacked neatly on his desk. I don’t see someone rearing back and throwing when it comes to decision-making. I see a safe, 10-yard out pass.
I hope he proves me wrong.
But Pace does like Watson’s athleticism and pedigree — consecutive years in the national championship game, with Clemson winning one of them.
To succeed as an NFL general manager, you have to take risks, and that might mean taking someone who doesn’t appear to be the best player available. That’s a nice way of saying, if the Bears take a safety with the third overall pick, no matter how good he is, I might get physically ill. Taking a safety in that spot is like a multimillionaire putting all his money in a savings account and earning .06 percent interest annually.
Maybe Trubisky isn’t the top-ranked player. But no one looked at Brett Favre as a future Hall of Famer when the Falcons took him in the second round of the 1991 draft. NFL history is filled with players who turned out to be better than their draft profile.
It’s worrisome that Pace didn’t think it necessary to draft a quarterback in his first two drafts as the Bears’ GM. It’s worrisome that he seemed to get into a bidding war with himself to sign free-agent quarterback Mike Glennon.
And it just figures that when the Bears really, really need a good, young quarterback and own a high first-round pick, this year’s QB class has more questions than answers.
Where are John Elway and Dan Marino when you need them? Perhaps hiding in this draft. And that’s the scary part.
Follow me on Twitter @MorrisseyCST.