When the time came for the 2021 NFL Draft to start, Chicago Bears fans were on edge. The tensions were high and expectations were low.
But, who could blame them?
This is a fan base that’s coming from quarterback purgatory decade after decade. The franchise leader in passing, all-time, is Jay Cutler for crying out loud.
I think it’s safe to say the franchise may have a new number one in that category — a few years down the road.
General manager Ryan Pace did exactly what he needed to do, and landed the Chicago Bears’ next franchise quarterback in Justin Fields.
The Bears traded up to pick number 11 overall by swapping a few picks with the New York Giants and took Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. In total, the Bears gave up this year’s first, next year’s first, along with a fourth and fifth rounder.
Widely considered the second-best quarterback in this year’s draft class for quite some time, it wasn’t until mid-season last year that BYU’s Zach Wilson overtook Fields with his tremendous amount of hype.
Still, many think Fields was the second-best quarterback in the draft — including yours truly. The athleticism that Fields possesses, accompanied by the way he played in big games… it’s undeniable.
At 6-foot-3 and weighing 228 pounds, Fields ran a blistering 4.43 in his 40-yard dash during his pro day. This kid makes plays with his legs almost as good as he does with his arm. And, oh, his arm… it’s not half bad either.
Over his last two seasons with the Buckeyes, Fields tossed 63 touchdowns to only nine interceptions while throwing for over 5,300 yards. And oh, by the way, he rushed for 867 yards and 15 touchdowns to go along with that.
Fields joins a Bears quarterback room that features two veterans on the second half of their careers, and shouldn’t have a problem beating them out for the starting job in training camp. If, for some reason, Andy Dalton gets the start Week 1, it won’t be long until Fields gets his shot.
What Bears fans are about to see on the field is something the NFC North hasn’t seen from a Bears quarterback, ever.
The Bears might also have the second-best quarterback in the division very soon, here. Obviously, Aaron Rodgers still reigns supreme. But, Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff? They have their moments. I’ll put my money on Fields surpassing them both by Year 2, if not sooner.
This pick is a home run for Ryan Pace and lets the NFC North know that he means business. He knew his job was on the line, and this selection goes to show he’s not about to go out without a fight.
Fields may end up securing the job of not only Pace, but Matt Nagy, for a long time. The things Nagy can do within his offense, with Fields, is going to be a thing of beauty to watch. Finally, we can confidently say the Bears have a franchise quarterback. It’s been far too long.