LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears have spent only four draft picks on quarterbacks (Kyle Orton, Dan LeFevour, Nate Enderle and David Fales) since 2005 -- and none of those have been under current general manager Ryan Pace.
The Bears need a franchise quarterback.
One of the best-case scenarios would involve trading for New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo, which could possibly cost Pace second- and third-round picks. If -- and that’s a big if -- Garoppolo comes to Chicago, the Bears would still have to infuse the roster with young quarterback talent.
The list of 2017 quarterback prospects is not overly impressive. The Bears might not be interested in taking a quarterback in Round 1 but later in the draft could be a different story.
With that in mind, we spoke to four college football analysts for scouting reports on eight of the top quarterback prospects in the 2017 draft (and beyond).
Player: Mitch Trubisky
School: North Carolina
Size: 6-foot-3, 220 pounds
Mel Kiper Jr. ranking: 1
ESPN college football analyst Trevor Matich’s take: "He has all the physical tools. He’s very mobile and has a live arm. Good accuracy. So, he can throw the ball well. He also has good leadership. Trubisky has everything you want in a quarterback. Now he has to prove he can do it on the field. I had high hopes for him this year as a Heisman candidate, but maybe that was too much, too soon for him. He needs to show that alpha-dog mentality in order to succeed in the NFL. When you don’t have that, you hang onto the ball a little too long and in college you can get away with that. In the NFL, that will get you smashed. But he has the physical skills, and if NFL scouts believe in their interviews with him that he can pick up the offense, and precisely implement it, and make those quick decisions, then there is no reason this guy cannot have success in the league."
Player: Patrick Mahomes
School: Texas Tech
Size: 6-foot-3, 230 pounds
Kiper ranking: 2
ESPN college football analyst Dusty Dvoracek’s take: "I love this kid. I thought coming into the year he was arguably the most talented quarterback in the country. I’ve called a bunch of his games and watched a lot of tape. He’s got a great arm. He’s a former baseball player and his dad was a baseball player. Big-time arm. He can make all the throws on the field. He also has that Matthew Stafford ability to throw the ball from so many different arm angles. He’s a good athlete and a good runner. But he’s really good when things break down and he can extend plays and evade the rush -- whether it’s keeping his eyes downfield or tucking it and running. When things go off schedule, he really steps his game up. In the offense Tech runs, you can put a lot of quarterbacks in there and move the ball, but to make plays on third down, you got to have a good quarterback. He’s that. And he’s tough. I’ve seen him play beat up several times.
"The negative is he’s coming out of a Kliff Kingsbury system. Can he translate to taking snaps under center? I’m going to say that he can, but that’s questionable. He also has that gunslinger mentality. He sometimes gets in trouble by trying to make throws he shouldn’t try to make. He’ll run around and throw back to the middle late and throw a pick. Or he’ll try to fit a ball into a window that he probably shouldn’t try to fit it into."
Player: Deshaun Watson
Size: 6-foot-2, 210 pounds
Kiper ranking: 5
ESPN college football analyst Brock Huard’s take: "If I’m a decision-maker, I’m looking for a quarterback who elevated the program. Deshaun Watson did that at Clemson. I had a defensive coordinator say to me that people want to compare Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Watson and say they are the same guy. They are not. One is an NFL wide receiver; one is an NFL starting quarterback.
"Deshaun is NFL ready. He is phenomenal off the field. He’s the anti-Jay Cutler. He would be a breath of fresh air for the Bears. He would come into that organization and people would just gravitate towards him. He’s a lot longer and more athletic than people think. He’s very gifted athletically, and I think he’s a smooth passer that makes every NFL throw. There will be a transition from their scheme at Clemson to the NFL level, but when Nick Saban says that preparing for Watson was as difficult as preparing for Cam Newton, people take notice."
Player: DeShone Kizer
School: Notre Dame
Year: Redshirt sophomore
Size: 6-foot-4, 230 pounds
Kiper ranking: 4
Matich’s take: "Kizer is mobile enough to be in the NFL. You don’t have to be Steve Young or Cam Newton. So, he’s mobile enough to be in the pocket and do the rollouts. Actually, he has way more than enough mobility for that. He has an accurate arm and a strong arm. All that leads me to believe he has an excellent chance to be a very good NFL quarterback. I can’t think of anything right now that might hold him back. There are always going to be questions about a rookie quarterback’s maturity or ability to move to an NFL scheme on offense. From what I’ve seen on tape, Kizer seems to be a good leader and the team tends to rally around him. I’ve seen him make throws into certain windows that lead me to believe the physical tools are worth the price of admission. A strong arm is mildly interesting. Accuracy is non-negotiable. What you have to do is read the defense, anticipate and get the ball to a tight window on-time. In his college system, I’ve watched Kizer do that time after time. That to me is worth the risk to take a chance on a guy like that as long as mentally you believe he can take the next step."
Player: Brad Kaaya
Size: 6-foot-4, 210 pounds
Kiper ranking: 6
Matich’s take: "Kaaya is such a determined guy. He’s got physical tools, but he does have to pick up a little heft. But everything I’ve gathered about Kaaya -- he is everything you want in terms of leadership and preparation before the game ever kicks off. He cares about knowing the game plan. He cares about understanding defense and he puts in the time and the effort to learn those things and that bleeds out to the rest of the players. His arm is good enough, in my opinion. His body is a bit light and he needs to add about 20 pounds to avoid getting hurt. But he is the guy who cares about the mental side of the game and knows that side is important. At times, you’ll get a hot-shot quarterback that physically overpowers college football that comes into the NFL and thinks they can do it there too because they’ve done it their whole life. Kaaya is not that guy. Kaaya is going to be a coachable guy. That’s a huge part of it."
Player: Luke Falk
School: Washington State
Size: 6-foot-4, 206 pounds
Kiper ranking: 3
Huard’s take: "From the neck up is what I like the most about him. Falk fancies himself Tom Brady, and if you talk to WSU coach Mike Leach, Leach thinks it’s an infatuation. Falk’s mannerisms, his throws on the sidelines, his fundamentals, his footwork, the way he wears his uniform and helmet -- he thinks he’s Tom Brady. From the neck up is where most of the similarities are.
"He’s just a slight guy. That would be my biggest concern when projecting at the next level. He’s just narrowly built and he’s been hit a ton in college. That always makes me nervous to project to the NFL level. He’s had a couple concussions, knee, and shoulder injuries. That would be my biggest concern spinning his story forward. I mean, arm strength is good. Not great. What he is required to do in terms of the system he runs is impressive. Maturity, humility, and character -- he is strong in those areas and I’m sure that would be redeeming to the Bears organization. I just don’t know how much more there is for him to grow as a player or if he’s maxed it out."
Player: Wilton Speight
Year: Redshirt sophomore
Size: 6-foot-6, 243 pounds
Kiper ranking: N/R
Big Ten Network analyst Howard Griffith’s take: "The frame on the kid is one of the things that jumps out immediately. He’s really coachable. He can make all the throws and he understands where the ball needs to go. He does a really good job of carrying out his fakes, and with his ballhandling. I think he has a lot of upside. Somebody is going to draft this kid. I don’t know if that is part of the Harbaugh-effect -- Jim will talk to folks about him. I don’t think he can come in and be a starter right away -- he’s a backup -- but then if he gets his opportunity down the line we’ll see what happens. But I think he has as much upside as anybody. Still, he has to work on the deep ball. He can throw it, but sometimes it’s under thrown. Those are all things that can be corrected. He’s been under center, he’s been in a shotgun, he runs a pro-style offense at Michigan. There’s a lot of upside there."
Player: Mason Rudolph
School: Oklahoma State
Size: 6-foot-5, 235 pounds
Kiper ranking: 8
Dvoracek’s take: "I’m a big fan of this kid. His size is off the charts. He looks the part. I’ve been watching this kid since he was a true freshman. He doesn’t have this unbelievable zip on the ball, but he can make every throw with that stature. He will hit that 15-yard out route from the far hash. I’ve watched him do it time after time. Throws a really good deep ball. He’s a really good athlete for a guy his size. I just think he has really good pocket presence. They have a terrible offensive line at Oklahoma State -- he is constantly under duress -- and I feel he does a nice job in the pocket and allows things to come open. He’s going to let those routes develop knowing that he’s going to take one on the chin. He’s a good leader, too. I don’t really have any negatives on him. To me, he checks all the boxes. To me, he is a prototypical NFL quarterback. I mean, it’s the Big 12, so nobody runs a pro system, but it’s far closer to a pro system at Oklahoma State than it is at Texas Tech."