The Chicago Bears 2020 draft plans remain in flux. Will they involve a quarterback? It’s possible. The question becomes is that quarterback going to be a possible replacement of Mitch Trubisky or a backup? Both are valid. Trubisky has struggled out of the gate in 2019, going two games (and counting) without a touchdown pass. This has led many to wonder if what they saw last year was his peak as an NFL player.
On top of that, there are lingering concerns about their backup situation. Chase Daniel remains uninspiring. He’s a veteran and knows the system but has clear limitations. He’ll also be a free agent next year on top of that. Thus GM Ryan Pace has to at least consider adding a quarterback. It’s a matter of when and how. If it’s going to be the draft, then what about Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger?
Here is a breakdown on what the Longhorns signal-caller offers.
Chicago Bears 2020 draft look at Sam Ehlinger
- Has the size teams seek. Stands 6’3 and has the muscle mass that should be able to handle NFL hits.
- Mobility is a major asset to his game. Not just solid speed for a QB but also strong in his lower body, able to break tackles.
- Being a run-first type of quarterback requires a certain degree of toughness. He has it.
- Many QBs are predisposed to just check it down a lot. This kid has no fear in regards to taking his shots down the field.
This play typifies what’s to like about Ehlinger as a passer. He gets the snap and surveys. Pressure from LSU quickly starts to squeeze the pocket. He doesn’t panic, sees his option and turns it loose right before the rush gets to him. The ball is high enough to where it gives his receiver a chance and right on the money to where it enables him to turn and run for the TD. A textbook pocket pass.
- Will give his receivers a chance to make a play. Doesn’t solely rely on scheme getting guys open.
- While he’s aggressive as a passer, he’s also not careless with the football. Just five interceptions in the last 17 games (at the time of writing this).
- Accuracy is strong from the short to intermediate passing areas. He’s rarely off-target when allowed to set his feet.
- Does a good job of selling his fakes on run-pass option plays, freezing defenders just long enough to give his backs time to find space.
- Gutty. The guy never folds his tent late in games. He’ll make some plays and give his team a chance.
- As arms go, his would be called average. When he’s allowed to set his feet he can put velocity on it but it’s a chore when asked to throw deep.
- The touch on his deep throws is iffy at best. The farther he has to throw it, the less reliable it becomes.
- Tends to be a one-read QB. If his first option isn’t there he’ll usually start scrambling or just take off and run.
- Field vision can be hit and miss. Sometimes will find the open man but others will outright miss him.
- Throwing motion could use some tightening up. Has a slight windup that could prove vulnerable to savvy edge rushers.
- Accuracy tends to suffer when forced to throw on the run or is under pressure and can’t step into it.
- Teams that blitzed him a lot tended to fluster him. He doesn’t always see where it’s coming from nor have a quick escape option to beat it.
Pro comparison: Dak Prescott
Prescott came into the NFL with many of the same questions. Less-than-ideal arm strength. Iffy ability to process the field as a pocket passer. However, his mobility, toughness, intangibles, and gutty mentality helped him have immediate success with Dallas. Ehlinger has a similar build but is a bit taller and might even be a better runner. If he can learn to operate crisply from the pocket as Prescott has, he can have success.
Projection: 4th round
Ehlinger falls into that category of quarterbacks who are considered good-not-great prospects. He has plenty of physical traits to like along with his ability to stay cool under fire. However, teams won’t be able to look past that limited arm strength. He’s going to fall down boards because of it. That said there will be one who secures him early on Day 3 of the draft and ends with a solid backup at the very least.