The Chicago Bears took a big swing at Russell Wilson, and wound up with Andy Dalton. If they panic trade for a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft, the front office and fans may well emerge similarly disappointed to how the pursuit of Wilson played out.
See, giving up a huge haul of future draft assets actually makes sense if someone is as proven as Wilson. He’s the only QB in history to have a winning record in each of his first nine seasons, and hasn’t missed a single start to date.
Yours truly pretty much nailed the reported offer Bears general manager Ryan Pace made for Wilson. Now, we’ve got the team’s official Twitter page ecstatic about Dalton as the QB1, and possibly the worst situation in the NFC North at the most important position in sports.
Dalton is a serviceable backup at this point in his career. Even with weapons like Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb on the Dallas Cowboys in 2020, Dalton only managed a pedestrian 87.3 passer rating. The Red Rifle ranked 24th out of 38 QB qualifiers in Pro Football Focus’ player grades.
Chicago Bears should stick to reality in QB pursuit
The latest NFL rumors swirling around the Windy City suggest Pace may get “desperate” to save his job:
“The sense I get talking to people is the Bears are almost desperate to come away with a quarterback in the first two rounds this year. If they can’t make a move to get one of the top five, Davis Mills of Stanford is a signal-caller they really like.”Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline on Chicago Bears’ QB plans in 2021 NFL Draft
Talk about a real recipe for disaster — and a guaranteed way for Pace to be given the pink slip after 2021, probably alongside head coach Matt Nagy.
Granted, who can blame the Bears exec for getting a little antsy? He went from potentially acquiring a top-five field general with an historic knack for winning and a Super Bowl title to his name in Wilson to settling for Dalton.
In that PFN report cited above, Pauline floats Stanford’s Davis Mills as a possibility, which is quite fascinating, because in writing a piece last night about the best landing spots for the second tier of QB prospects, Mills’ ideal situation was redshirting in Chicago for a year!
Why Davis Mills is the best QB for Chicago Bears to draft
Mills hails from a Stanford program that runs a pro-style offense. With only 11 career starts under his belt for the Cardinal, though, Mills is definitely green entering the NFL.
But whatever he lacks in experience, Mills makes up for with excellent accuracy, poise in the pocket and quick decision-making. All those skills are notable, because usually they come as a product of live reps. Being so advanced in those areas despite limited game action hints at the type of upside Mills has.
With a creative play designer in Nagy and a savvy veteran to mentor him in Dalton, Mills wouldn’t be pressured to play right away. With Kellen Mond and Kyle Trask earning hype among the second wave of quarterbacks in the 2021 draft class, there’s a strong chance Mills would still be on the board in Round 2 when the Bears pick at 52nd overall.
If there’s a sense that Mills might not make it that far, Pace can always trade up from there to get him. It wouldn’t cost nearly as much draft capital, nor would Mills bear the burden of expectations that inevitably accompany a first-round pick.
Even if it took trading back into the end of Round 1, though, the Bears wouldn’t have to sacrifice multiple future Day 1 selections to move up from No. 52, like they would if they tried to vault from 20th into the top five.
Mills gives Pace and the personnel department the most versatility in terms of how to fill out their QB depth chart going forward. Dalton is only a stopgap option who’ll hopefully be serviceable for most of the 2021 campaign. Can’t expect much else from him.
This way, Bears fans aren’t screaming at their TVs and giving up on the season. There’s a glimmer of hope Mills could be pressed into duty, and thanks to his NFL-centric college background at Stanford’s program, impressive arm talent and underrated athleticism, he could wind up being one of the steals of the draft.
So, Ryan Pace: Don’t do it. Don’t cave to the pressure. Mitchell Trubisky was a big whiff. Just get past that, be patient, and stay the course! Be it Mills, Mond or Trask, all of them seem to have more upside than Dalton, and won’t cost the future of the team — not to mention a potential shot at the Russell Wilson sweepstakes next offseason.