The Chicago Bears made numerous offseason moves in free agency to re-shape the team for 2017, but none were more significant than the team’s release of quarterback Jay Cutler, and the signing of Mike Glennon to replace him.
And yet, the Bears might not be done addressing the quarterback position this offseason.
Greg Gabriel is a long-time NFL scout who served as the Bears’ college scouting director for nine years, as part of a scouting career that began in 1981. His experience in the game and in front offices allows for a different perspective. And from his point of view, the signs are pointing to the Bears will take a quarterback in the first round.
Over at CBS Chicago, Gabriel puts himself in the shoes of a NFL decision maker leading up to the draft. He notes the Bears signed free agents at most positions, leaving the team open to drafting the best player available with each pick. This even allows for the possibility for the Bears to trade out of the third overall pick and add valuable selections later. Even still, Gabriel sees the Bears taking a quarterback somewhere in the first round. And while most draft pundits are down on this class of quarterbacks, Gabriel is in the minority and sees upside and potential in this class.
Does this mean general manager Ryan Pace will choose on with the third overall pick? Not necessarily.
HOWEVER, Gabriel wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears chose a quarterback with that pick, and sees Clemson’s Deshaun Watson as a player who fits the criteria laid out by Pace. With Glennon in tow, Watson can develop without being rushed into a pro style offense on a team without many viable pass catching options.
There are some valid arguments to choosing a quarterback at some point in the first round, even though there is a higher amount of risk if it is with the third overall pick. The importance of the position – and getting it right – is at an all-time high and won’t be going down any time soon. And even though the Bears addressed the starting position on a short-term basis with Glennon, the team’s quarterback situation as a whole is still filled with question marks. Is Glennon the real deal? Does backup Mark Sanchez have anything to offer other than the sage advice of a well-traveled former first-round pick who has quarterbacked in some of football’s largest and most hostile markets? What does third-stringer Connor Shaw bring to the table as a developmental piece?
As far as this position is concerned with the Bears, there are still more questions than answers.
And that includes whether the Bears are high on DeShone Kizer, with whom we just learned they’ve now visited three times.