NFL draft preview: Will Bears seek developmental QB in late rounds?
First in a series
The NFL's increasing infatuation with quarterbacks could manifest itself more this year than it has ever before.
At this point, it appears that quarterbacks could be taken with the first three picks, and it wouldn't be surprising to see five taken in the first 20 selections.
That's a good thing for the Bears at No. 8 because they believe they already have their franchise passer. An early run on quarterbacks means the Bears will have more elite players to choose from at other positions.
In his second season, Bears quarter back Mitch Trubisky now has the quality receivers that he was lacking as a rookie, thanks to the free agent additions of wideout Allen Robinson, slot receiver Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton. He also has an offensive-minded head coach in Matt Nagy, who will make sure the Bears' scheme will incorporate what their young quarterback does best.
That's the good news. The bad news is that Trubisky will be operating in his third different offense in three seasons. He will also be working mostly with receivers he has never thrown a pass to in a regular-season game. By the time he took over in Week Five last season, incumbent Kevin White was already on the injured reserve list.
The backup QBs
Both of Trubisky's backups this year are new and, although both have extensive experience learning Matt Nagy's offense, neither has much experience playing in it -- or in any other offense, for that matter.
In eight seasons, the undrafted, 6-foot Chase Daniel has thrown 78 passes, including just three in the past three years. The 31-year-old has a wealth of experience compared to the 6-foot-6, 26-year-old Tyler Bray, who has played in one game and thrown one pass since entering the league with the Chiefs in 2013 as an undrafted rookie.
According to spotrac.com, the Bears rank 26th in the league in total QB salary. Even though they may have overspent for Daniel, only $3 million of his $10-million, two-year total counts against the cap this year. Trubisky ($6.598 million) takes up the larger share of the $10.393 million team total, while No. 3 Tyler Bray is at $795,000.
Bears draft projection:
Day One: Before the Bears make their choice in the first round, there might be more teams that draft a quarterback than don't. The Bears will not continue that trend.
Day Two: As neither Daniel nor Bray is projected as a starter, it's possible the Bears could draft a developmental quarterback later in the process. As a team still in a rebuilding mode, with multiple urgent needs and lacking a third-round pick, the Bears cannot afford any luxury picks this early.
Day Three: Given the way quarterbacks are expected to fly off the board this year, it's unlikely that someone like Richmond's Kyle Lauletta will still be available when Round Four starts. He has some intriguing physical similarities to Trubisky, but his lower level of competition will drop him down a couple rounds.
But it's more likely the Bears would wait longer for a quarterback, and they might consider Mike White. He put up huge numbers in Western Kentucky's run-pass-option offense, which utilizes concepts similar to some of those the Bears will use in Nagy's offense. In two seasons as the starter, White threw 63 TD passes and just 15 interceptions, while completing 66.4 percent of his passes. He's not a great athlete, but the former pitcher has a strong arm and could be a competent backup with some development.
Bears draft at a glance
QB depth chart: Mitch Trubisky; Chase Daniel; Tyler Bray
QB needs: Negligible
Bears draft picks: Round 1 (eighth overall); Round 2 (39th); Round 4 (105th) and (115th); Round 5 (145th); Round 6 (181st); Round 7 (224th)
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