The Chicago Bears have no shortage of needs heading into the 2021 NFL draft — from cornerback to wide receiver to offensive tackle to quarterback. And with a first-round pick for the first time in three years, the Bears are poised to address one of those needs in a big way immediately.
While general manager Ryan Pace has only drafted a quarterback once in six years, Chicago is primed to select one in this year’s draft. Now, whether or not that involves Pace trading up to grab a top-five prospect or settling on a Day 2 prospect remains to be seen.
With the Bears in the running to draft a quarterback, we’re ranking the top 10 quarterback prospects in this year’s draft.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
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Lawrence is the clear-cut No. 1 quarterback prospect in this draft class, and he’s a lock to be drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the first overall pick. Lawrence appeared in the College Football Playoff all three years at Clemson, including two National Championship appearances with one championship win. In 2020, he completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,153 yards, 24 touchdowns passing and five interceptions, as well as rushed for eight touchdowns.
Zach Wilson, BYU
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Wilson quickly climbed up the draft board following his impressive 2020 season, where he’s a lock to be the second quarterback drafted by the New York Jets with the No. 2 overall pick. He completed 73.5 percent of his passes for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions. Wilson led BYU to a 11-1 record and a Boca Raton Bowl win over Central Florida.
Justin Fields, Ohio State
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While there’s some separation between the top two quarterbacks and the rest, Fields should be the third quarterback taken in the NFL draft. But there’s been talk about his stock dropping, which if true, Chicago should certainly look to make a move to trade up and land him. In 2020, Fields completed 70 percent of his passes for 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions, as well as added five rushing scores.
Trey Lance, North Dakota State
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While Lance is one of the more intriguing quarterback prospects, he’s also one of the biggest questions heading into the draft. Lance only played in just one game last season, where he completed 15-of-30 passes for 149 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. But Lance has quite an impressive skillset that would make him an attractive prospect for a quarterback-needy team.
Mac Jones, Alabama
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Jones rounds out the top five quarterback prospects list. He threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions while leading Alabama to an undefeated season and a National Championship. While Jones had an impressive 2020 season, there have been many that doubt whether or not that efficiency can transfer to the NFL, especially given the plethora of weapons around him. But there have been talks about the San Francisco 49ers, who traded up to the third overall pick, shocking everyone and drafting Jones.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
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Mond is a quarterback that could drop to the third or fourth round given his inconsistent performance. In 2020, he completed 63.3% of his passes for 2,282 yards, 19 touchdowns, three interceptions and three rushing touchdowns. While Mond’s stats didn’t wow anyone given Texas A&M’s impressive season, he did have his moments, including improved accuracy and leading the Aggies to an impressive fourth-quarter comeback win over Florida.
Kyle Trask, Florida
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Trask had a monster of a year in 2020, where he completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 4,283 passing yards, 43 passing touchdowns and eight interceptions. Although he certainly benefitted from having two of college football’s most electrifying playmakers in Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney. While Trask has a strong pocket presence, which should be attractive for teams, he does lack mobility, which has some teams concerned. Still, he should be a second-round pick.
Davis Mills, Stanford
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While Mills missed the start of the season due to testing positive for COVID-19, he was efficient for Stanford, completing over 66 percent of his passes for 1,508 yards, seven scores and three interceptions. Mills saw his draft stock rise following a solid pro day, and he’s certainly an intriguing prospect for a team looking to develop a quarterback.
Jamie Newman, Wake Forest
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Newman opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL draft, which could certainly hurt his draft stock. In 2019, Newman completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 2,868 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He appeared in the Senior Bowl, where he struggled on the final day of practice and the game. Many believe Newman could fall to Day 3.
Feleipe Franks, Arkansas
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While Franks has an impressive arm and good size, he struggles reading the field and is inconsistent with his mechanics. In 2020, Franks completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,107 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Franks looks to be a late-Day 3 pick or undrafted free agent.