What would a Chicago Bears draft be if it wasn't for questions surrounding the team's decisions at quarterback?
The 2020 NFL Draft is no exception. General manager Ryan Pace, who traded a fourth-round pick for veteran Nick Foles earlier in the offseason, had two opportunities to select Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round. Instead, he picked Notre Dame tight end, Cole Kmet, and Utah cornerback, Jaylon Johnson.
Neither Kmet or Johnson is a bad pick. They'll each play significant roles for the Bears in 2020. But were they the right picks? Should Pace have continued his offseason investment at quarterback by taking Hurts, who ultimately came off the board to the Philadelphia Eagles just three picks after Johnson?
It's certainly a question worth asking, considering the Bears could be entering quarterback purgatory this year. Foles isn't a sure thing (the Bears are his fifth team in nine seasons) and Mitch Trubisky is more than likely in his final year in Chicago. If Foles fails (or decides to void his contract at season's end), Chicago will face the worst possible team-building scenario: quarterback desperation.
The presence of Foles isn't a sound reason to pass on Hurts. The Eagles, who already have a franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz, didn't shy away from taking a player who not only can contribute along the lines of Taysom Hill in 2020 but can also build trade value over the next few preseasons. At worst, Hurts will be a solid backup quarterback. At best, he'll be a viable starter. He could fall somewhere in-between; he could develop into a really nice trade asset.
Philadelphia's recent success is due in large part because of the strategic approach that general manager Howie Roseman has deployed. He didn't shy away from taking tight end Dallas Goedert in the second round of the 2018 draft despite the presence of Pro Bowler Zach Ertz on the roster. Now, two seasons later, Philadelphia has the best 1-2 punch at tight end in the league.
It's true that comparing quarterback decisions to choices at tight end isn't apples to apples. But the Eagles were fearless in their approach to the NFL draft; the Bears were safe.
And remember this: Pace could've (and would've) had one of either Kmet or Johnson even if he pulled the trigger on Hurts. It's not like Hurts was an all-or-nothing proposition.
But here we are (again) with the Bears. The long and swinging tail of Chicago's quarterback failures will creep into the 2020 season. If Hurts develops into a productive NFL starter, even three or four years from now, this year's unassuming second round will be viewed in a similar light as the epic disaster that was 2017.
2020 NFL Draft: Should the Bears have taken Jalen Hurts in the second round? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago