By Gary Davenport
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
The Chicago Bears entered the first round of the 2021 NFL draft in a rough spot. The team had a massive hole at the game’s most important position, a hole the Bears tried (and failed) to fill with an impact player earlier in the offseason. But thanks in part to backing into the playoffs at 8-8 in 2020, the Bears held the 20th overall pick in Round 1, which was perceived by just about everyone as too late to get one of the top five quarterbacks in the class.
By the time 10 picks had come off the board, just two of those quarterbacks were left. The Bears saw an opportunity to get a franchise quarterback and took it, sending a package that included the team’s first-rounders in 2021 and 2022 to the New York Giants.
At No. 11 overall, the Bears selected Ohio State’s Justin Fields. It was a bold move, and an expensive one—more costly than the move up to select Mitchell Trubisky in 2017.
But in taking that leap, Chicago general manager Ryan Pace made the wisest move of Round 1. The Bears now have an athletic, mobile, accomplished passer who could finally be the signal-caller who leads them out of their quarterback wasteland.