For some time now, experts have projected the Chicago Bears to take a defensive playmaker, instead of a quarterback, with the third overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. In fact, the few quarterbacks that originally garnered top-ten pick discussions have all seemingly slipped in stock, with some not being taken until the second round in recent mock drafts.
It is likely the Bears take a defensive player, however the need for a young quarterback does still exist in Chicago, and therefore the Bears should look to the later rounds for a quarterback to bring in and develop behind assumed starter Mike Glennon. So who do they draft? Who’s available? Here are three names that should be available in rounds three and four that the Bears could possibly bring aboard to groom into their next starter.
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
Last season stats: 5,052 yards, 41 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 65.7% completion
Ok, so Mahomes isn’t likely to be available in the fourth round, I lied. However he is valued as a second- or third-round prospect, and is extremely interesting as a quarterback.
He doesn’t have the size of a prototypical pocket passer at only 6-2, yet in flashes throughout last season showed the arm strength that you would like out of a pocket passer as well as the willingness to stay in the pocket and wait for his receivers to open up downfield.
He doesn’t have the flat speed of a truly mobile quarterback, or even other quarterbacks in this draft. However he has on more than one occasion shown his athleticism, extending plays with his feet to buy his receivers time, and sometimes tucking and running himself (285 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns in 2016-2017). Truly, the man is an interesting prospect.
There are few knocks on Mahomes, but they are large ones. First, there is his decision-making, perhaps his biggest problem, and then there is the system he played in at Texas Tech – the spread-out air-assault in which he threw the ball 30+ times with regularity. Now, some of the problems with his decision-making could also be contributed to the system, as the goal was to force the ball downfield in chunks through the air. It is very likely that in a more controlled, balanced offense Mahomes could shine.
Mahomes is definitely a risk, but with his sheer talent he could also be a sleeper pick if he falls until the third round. He will most likely spend the first season or two of his career on the bench, regardless of who drafts him, but he has the ability to develop into a successful starter if he can clean up his play.
Davis Webb, California
Last season stats: 4,295 yards, 37 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 61.6% completion
Webb is more of a pure pocket-passer than Webb, and is also more likely to be around in the third or fourth round. He has a very strong arm, and is extremely accurate (despite his completion percentage), consistently dazzling with accurate passes downfield and fitting the ball into tight windows. Along with impressive throwing characteristics, he also possesses a keen presence in the pocket and knows exactly how much time he has to work.
The knocks on Webb are the same as those of fellow Cal quarterback Jared Goff from last season. Webb needs to improve not only his decision-making, but also needs to work on moving through his progressions instead of throwing to a pre-determined target. Some scouts are unsure of Webb because, like Goff, he will have to work hard at running an offense under center rather than in the spread he ran at California. He also has a decent amount of work to do with his mechanics. Webb will take some work, and just like Mahomes will most likely spend his first season as a backup, wherever he lands, but if he puts in the work to improve upon his fundamentals, his physical abilities are good enough where he could find himself leading a team early in his career.
Brad Kaaya, Miami
Last season stats: 3,532 yards, 27 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 62% completion
Kaaya is, perhaps, the one quarterback in the draft most fitting the “pocket passer” label…and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Many scouts have said that they feel Kaaya has little, almost non-existent, mobility, and that he cannot throw the ball under pressure at all. That all being said, when his pocket is perfect, Kaaya is without a doubt the most accurate quarterback on this list, and has a big enough arm to make defenses pay deep.
He did not blow anyone out of the water last year, but his decision-making and his ability to complete the tight passes truly do stand out on tape. He has shown potential as an NFL pocket passer on several occasions, yet on others has been the definition of unimpressive.
Kaaya is the biggest risk on this list, but if a team can work to calm him down under pressure, he could very well turn out to be a sleeper.
One final note, although I did not have him on this list, another quarterback to look out for is Chad Kelly out of Ole Miss. While his 2016 season was cut short by a torn ACL, diminishing his stock, he is an interesting prospect to say the least. Earlier this year, I advocated for the Bears drafting Kelly, saying that his big arm and toughness reminded me of another Bears quarterback – Jim McMahon. Kelly should be around in the fifth and sixth rounds, and even if the Bears draft another quarterback earlier, it couldn’t hurt to bring in more than one rookie to attempt and develop them into the future of the team.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Chicago Bears article is published, fill out our email notification form.