For starters, the head coach will be more involved in the process. And you can bet Nagy is eager to get his opportunity to help identify a potential franchise quarterback in this spring’s draft. In lobbying for another chance to fix things, Nagy no doubt had to emphasize his desire to take a big swing at finding another starting quarterback.
But the Bears aren’t picking in the top three like they were four years ago. They own the No. 20 overall pick and might have to get creative with an aggressive and pricey trade up in the first round or be more resourceful by trying to snag a quarterback at No. 20 or in the second or third round.
That won’t be easy. But it’s not impossible. Just look at this weekend’s playoff games. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers was selected No. 24 overall. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson was taken at No. 32. New Orleans’ Drew Brees lasted until the second round and Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady, if you hadn’t heard, was around deep into Round 6.
Oh, and the Kansas City Chiefs owned the No. 27 overall pick four years ago before trading up to No. 10 to grab Patrick Mahomes.
The Bears have a huge task on their hands in finding a new starter. Again. Further complicating matters is the uncertainty of how the pre-draft process will unfold with the COVID-19 pandemic still restricting a normal evaluation process.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl has been canceled. The East-West Shrine Game, too. The Senior Bowl is still slated to be played in Mobile, Ala., later this month. But it’s uncertain what format this winter’s scouting combine will take on and whether there will be pro days in the weeks leading up to the draft.
Further, no one can say whether the NFL will allow talent evaluators to visit prospects on campuses or whether players will be allowed to take pre-draft trips to team facilities this offseason. To truly work through a full assessment of a quarterback class — something Pace and the Bears mismanaged in 2017 — a comprehensive and exhaustive process of evaluating and vetting players is necessary.
This year might have significant restrictions. Overall, though, Pace and Nagy have to work in tandem and have a clear vision of what they’re seeking.