Emma: Assessing Bears' QB Options In NFL Draft

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(670 The Score) When Bears general manager Ryan Pace joined the organization in January 2015, he privately planned to take multiple chances at the quarterback position.

Pace saw the potential reward of drafting a quarterback every year, understanding what it could mean to develop players at the most important position in the game. But the Bears have selected just one quarterback in Pace's five drafts in Chicago: Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 overall in 2017.

In the first couple years after selecting Trubisky, the Bears chose to surround him with sounding boards in the quarterback room rather than searching for developmental players. But after Trubisky struggled in 2019, the Bears were left with no choice but to add at the position. So they traded for veteran quarterback Nick Foles in March to create what Pace has termed an "open competition" entering training camp.

What the Bears haven't found is a long-term answer at quarterback.

Trubisky, 25, is entering the final season of his rookie contract. The Bears haven't exercised his fifth-year option, which means it's possible this is his final season in Chicago. Meanwhile, the 31-year-old Foles doesn't have the track record to suggest he's more than a stopgap solution. Foles can also void his contract after each season if his performance allows. 

Whether the Bears covet a quarterback with one of their two second-round picks or see the value in a late-round flier, there's appeal in drafting a potential long-term answer at the position. With that in mind, let's break down what options the Bears could have.

Early rounds

The Bears' first two selections come in the second round at No. 43 and No. 50 overall. Barring another Pace surprise, the Bears are unlikely to trade into the first round, but there could be enticing quarterback options available in the second round.

The best-case scenario for the Bears would that Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert or Utah State's Jordan Love somehow drop out of the first round. It's unlikely, but every draft seems to have a highly regarded quarterback who falls. The 6-foot-6 Herbert has drawn comparisons to Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Love has tremendous arm talent that interests NFL teams.

Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, an Alabama transfer, offers a different playing style. He's considered the top dual-threat quarterback in this class, having thrown for 3,851 yards and rushed for 1,298 yards for the Sooners in 2019. 

A potential selection of Hurts would offer Bears coach Matt Nagy the opportunity to create new play packages within his offense. Early on, the Bears could potentially use Hurts much like the Saints have utilized multi-talented quarterback Taysom Hill.

Washington's Jacob Eason is projected to be selected in the second round by many analysts, while Georgia's Jake Fromm is receiving some consideration in that range as well. While opinions are mixed on Eason and Fromm, both have proved themselves at a high level of college football.

The Bears don't own a third-round or fourth-round pick. So if a quarterback whom they covet is available in the middle rounds or one has dropped further than expected, the Bears would have to make a trade to nab him -- and likely sacrifice future draft capital to do so.

Later rounds

After the second round, the Bears' next pick is set to come in the fifth round at No. 163 overall. From there, they own two more selections in the fifth round, one in the sixth and one in the seventh.

While the Bears lack draft capital, their roster is mostly set with depth. So their five mid- to late-round picks should allow Pace to take some chances on prospects, including at quarterback if he sees fit.

Florida International's James Morgan, Colorado's Steven Montez and Iowa's Nate Stanley are projected to be late-round picks. Arizona's Khalil Tate is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback who has upside, but his development would take time. He wasn't invited to the NFL Combine. Hawaii's Cole McDonald has good athleticism and is also projected as a late-round pick.

If the Bears are aiming to find a Gardner Minshew-type prospect in the late rounds, it could come from Minshew's replacement at Washington State in Anthony Gordon, who threw for 5,579 yards and 48 touchdowns in 2019.

Michigan State's Brian Lewerke and Michigan's Shea Patterson are pro-style quarterbacks out of the Big Ten who will draw consideration from teams on the third and final day of the draft. 

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.