The Chicago Bears QB draft board can be a rather fluid thing. Sort of like the city’s infamous weather. It can change every day (or every five minutes). The point is it might not be set in stone just yet. GM Ryan Pace knows he can’t afford to get such a momentous decision wrong. It’s obvious enough he is gunning for a quarterback early. It’s a matter of when and who it ends up being.
Up to now most rumors have persisted that it’s a two-man race between North Carolina standout Mitch Trubisky and Clemson star Deshaun Watson. To date Watson holds the slight edge to much greater experience and team success including of course his national championship victory. Many feel he embodies the most traits Pace looks for.
Does he though? Not according to Eric Galko of Sporting News is a respected draft expert who also created Optimumscouting.com. He believes the true QB1 for the Bears is somebody rarely mentioned. None other than Texas Tech gunslinger Patrick Mahomes.
I wouldn't assume #Bears QB target in the top-10 is Deshaun Watson.
One source I spoke to yesterday believes their QB1 is Patrick Mahomes.
— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) April 19, 2017
Almost no matter what, I've been told, the #Bears want to leave the first two rounds with a Quarterback in this draft.
— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) April 19, 2017
Assessing the Bears QB draft board likelihood
This is actually a fascinating revelation for two reasons. First is the fact that recent draft buzz indicates Mahomes is not expected to drop out of the top 10. He’s got the best arm in the class and has apparently been knocking his interviews out of the park. Not to mention the fact that teams are learning how much freedom and control he had of the offense at Texas Tech. This suggests he’s not quite the “system” QB many claim he is.
Former Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden even went so far as to say if he had the choice he’s take Mahomes ahead of the other quarterbacks.
Coach Gruden picked his guy. Good choice, Jon. pic.twitter.com/W4U8GB4hqK
— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) April 19, 2017
The other reason? As of now he is the only projected top 10 quarterback that the Bears have met with multiple times. This is according to the best information available. It’s possible the team might be concealing some of their meetings but here is how it stands. They met with Trubisky once at the scouting combine and haven’t met with Watson at all. Again, this is based on the best information available.
#Bears have done extensive work on Kizer & Mahomes, met w/ Trubisky twice & have been told they've kept their meeting(s) w/ Watson quiet.
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) April 19, 2017
Most of the buzz around Watson seems to stem from their highly public display at the Clemson pro day when Pace, head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and QB coach David Ragone were all in attendance. It was an overwhelming display of interest from the organization hierarchy that seemed to signal Watson was their focus.
Was he though?
The sneaky interest in Mahomes
What’s lost to some people is the fact that the Bears met with Mahomes too. Not once, not twice but on three separate occasions during the pre-draft process. They met with him in a brief interview at the scouting combine. Then they held a private workout with him near the Texas Tech campus following the pro day schedule. Last but not least, they reportedly had him in for a visit to the team facility in Chicago.
The only other quarterback whom they met with that much according to public knowledge is DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame. All signs though point to him falling out of the first round entirely. Thus Mahomes has garnered the most interest based on known meetings. It’s also worth noting one other fact. In two drafts Ryan Pace has always taken a player he met with privately.
Mahomes also checks the box of being a unique, special talent. He’s athletic and can run but it’s his arm that is impressive. People won’t stop talking about it. Already he is drawing comparisons to Brett Favre.
Here's the video of Pat Mahomes spinning the football 62 mph. Obviously not a catchable pass, but, still fun pic.twitter.com/VIR9IQcEAR
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) April 19, 2017
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) April 18, 2017
Is the risk worth it?
The big sticking point that holds people back on Mahomes is experience. He started two seasons for Texas Tech and didn’t win a ton of games. In fairness most of that wasn’t his fault but it’s still a sticking point. They feel he needs time to acclimate within an actual pro system, learning how to play with poise and precision. Right now he’s too much of a backyard player.
Though his arm and creativity have led to some incredible plays, that’s going to get him killed eventually in the NFL. The big question is can he play from within the pocket and run the offense? The Bears have two men in Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez who can show him the ropes. If ever they were prepared to take on a challenge like this, it’s now.
It comes down to whether Pace and Fox are willing to pull the trigger.