The Chicago Bears need a quarterback. This is not a revelation. In fact, it might be pretty difficult to find anyone alive who is not aware of this.
It is the most important position on the field and a position that the Bears have certainly not filled well over time. Let’s just say that they have had a less than stellar history of quarterbacks.
So naturally, the majority of the talk surrounding the Bears leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft has centered around the available quarterbacks. Makes sense.
Though, those that follow the Chicago Bears closely know that they need a lot more than just a quarterback. If the once-proud franchise wants to be welcomed back to the land of relevance, they have a few other holes to fill as well.
In fact, it might actually be easier to point out the areas where the Bears do not need help.
And that really concludes the list of areas in which the Bears seem to have a complete, NFL-caliber group. The translation for this is that there is a lot of work to be done.
It could be argued that linebacker is another position of strength for the Bears, but it’s not as strong as it may seem. They will be returning All-Rookie Leonard Floyd as well as Jerrell Freeman and Pernell McPhee. However, their prize of 2016 free-agency, Danny Trevathan, is recovering from a serious knee injury. It appears that he will miss the beginning of the season and possibly the entire season.
In addition to this, McPhee has missed significant time since joining the Bears in 2015. He has only played in 23 of 32 games during that span. In other words, it has been tough to count on him being on the field.
Based on this, linebacker should probably be included with all other positions, outside of running back, on the list of needs.
Despite this long list of needs, the projections on what the Chicago Bears will do with the third overall pick in the draft have really focused on just a few areas.
Many of the mock drafts out there, and there are a lot of them, have the Bears selecting one of the top three quarterbacks (DeShaun Watson, DeShone Kizer or Mitch Trubisky) with the third overall pick. There is a case to be made for all of them. If this happens, it would certainly not be a surprise.
At some point they have to find a franchise quarterback. Right?
— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) February 15, 2017
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticChi) February 15, 2017
Several other mocks have the Bears selecting defensive lineman Jonathan Allen from the University of Alabama. The defensive line could use an upgrade and Allen is the best lineman out there not named Myles Garrett. Most mocks have Garrett as the top selection in the draft.
Selecting Allen would not really be much of a surprise either. It would be a safe pick and would definitely improve the defensive line immediately. He is a disruptive force that can get to the quarterback and play the run equally well.
— BearsWire (@TheBearsWire) February 15, 2017
Another position that has recently popped up more frequently in the mock drafts for the Bears is safety. This is definitely a position of need. Free safety or strong safety, it doesn’t really matter. They need both.
To be honest, the Bears haven’t had a standout safety since Mike Brown, who last played for them in 2008.
Let’s break this down.
The last time a safety was selected in the top three picks of the draft was 1991. That’s when the Cleveland Browns selected Eric Turner from UCLA with the third pick. Since that time there have only been two safeties selected in the top five of the draft. Sean Taylor (fifth overall in 2004) from Miami (FL) and Eric Berry (fifth overall in 2010) from Tennessee.
History certainly does not back the Bears selecting a safety at number three. Of course this doesn’t mean that GM Ryan Pace wouldn’t do it. It just doesn’t seem likely.
So it seemingly comes down to two options. Providing the unforeseen, such as trading the pick, the Bears will likely either select a quarterback or select Allen at number three.
If it is a quarterback, then which one it will be is another debate. As previously mentioned, there are arguments to be made for all three of the top guys, as well as others.
Will Pace decide to go after a franchise quarterback, strengthen his defensive line or do something completely unexpected?
Chicago Bears fans are eagerly waiting to find out.
Todd Thorstenson is a staff writer covering the Chicago Bears as well as Illinois Fighting Illini football for EndZoneScore.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Thor1323