As the weakest team of the past regular season, the Chicago Bears are allowed to pick first place in the 2023 draft – but in all likelihood they will not use this great opportunity for a new quarterback.
Can look forward to a promising Bears future with him on board: quarterback Justin Fields.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
In the past 29 years, the football city of Chicago has only appeared in the National Football League playoffs six times. For the proud and historic franchise from the “Windy City”, which in the old days was eight times NFL champion and in 1985/86 also won the Super Bowl once, clearly not enough.
And especially in recent years, those responsible for owner Virginia Halas McCaskey, the daughter of Bears legend George “Papa Bear” Halas, had expected more than just the three final rounds after the regular seasons 2010, 2018 and 2020.
Fields’ qualities promise great things
But big quarterback hopefuls like Jay Cutler (former first-round pick of the Denver Broncos and active in Chicago from 2009 to 2016) or Mitchell Trubisky (second overall pick 2017 and already sent away in 2020) were never able to meet the expectations placed on them. Even short-term interim solutions with the veterans Andy Dalton or Nick Foles were nothing.
So a new investment followed: With the eleventh pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Bears got a certain Justin Fields, who had traded nine moves up the order at the time. One of the main reasons for this step back then was that Fields is simply a modern and therefore difficult to calculate quarterback.
That’s exactly what Fields showed in the regular season that ended this weekend, his second as a so-called sophomore. His pass rate rose from 58.9 to 60.4 percent, he threw 17 touchdown passes instead of seven and was particularly convincing as a runner. In 2021 it was “only” 420 rushing yards and two scores, now it was an incredible 1143 yards plus eight touchdowns. On the other hand, the big mistakes increased, especially in the passing game (eleven instead of ten interceptions and nine instead of four fumbles), but all in all Fields revealed his enormous qualities and almost completely took over the overall weak offense of this team.
Fields “knows exactly what he can improve on himself”
In the end, however, the return was lower – as in the previous year: In his two seasons with the Bears, the playmaker only led his team to five successes. The Bears also ended the most recent regular season with ten bankruptcies in a row, which was a new negative record for the franchise. However, the 3:14 balance achieved at the end ensured that the first pick of the upcoming draft (from April 27th to 29th, 2023 in Kansas City) went to Chicago.
But what do the Bears managers intend to do with it? In the past, a great playmaker talent has often been signed – and with Bryce Young (Alabama), CJ Stroud (Ohio State), Will Levis (Kentucky) and Anthony Richardson (Florida) there are promising talents this time too. However, general manager Ryan Poles made it clear at a press conference in front of the US media that he “really should be blown away” by a potential quarterback investment.
Rather, he emphasized that Fields is developing in the right direction and enjoys the trust of the bosses: “We are excited to see how he will continue and where he will move next. He also knows exactly what he can improve. He showed how much influence he can bring to the game with his legs, there were also highlights with his arm. Now we have to bring that together and then we’ll have something really good to start with.”
Nevertheless, Poles and his team will take a close look at the new draft class and discuss which names could fit the Bears. He doesn’t want to rule out a fresh quarterback, but that’s currently very unlikely. Aside from getting a promising defensive or offensive player with that top pick, Chicago would give away the first overall pick for several lower picks to a team that may be in dire need of a quarterback themselves — and thus several lower picks secures to plug the numerous holes in the roster.