New 2021 mock draft has Bears trading up for exciting quarterback prospect

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Bryan Perez
·2 min read
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The Carolina Panthers’ decision to trade for former New York Jets first-round pick, Sam Darnold, has sent shockwaves through the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Panthers had long been considered a candidate to trade up for one of this year’s top quarterback prospects, or at the very least, select one with their first-round pick at No. 8 overall.

Now, with Darnold in tow, Carolina is a prime candidate to trade out of their first-rounder if a quarterback slides to their selection.

In the latest 2021 NFL mock draft from The Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling, the Panthers trade down with the Chicago Bears, who land North Dakota State’s Trey Lance with the eighth pick.

The Panthers should absolutely take Lance themselves here, but after trading for Sam Darnold and picking up his fifth-year option, that seems unlikely. Instead, they incite a bidding war between the Bears and Washington. I think the Bears are slightly more desperate, which means they end up offering whatever extra pick it takes to seal the deal over Washington’s best offer.

Yes, the Bears have publicly committed to Andy Dalton as their starter for 2021, but there’s no plan past that. The Ryan Pace/Matt Nagy combo is running out of time to save their jobs, and taking a long-term quarterback prospect like Lance might help their case to buy more time. Dalton starts Week 1, and Lance takes over as soon as he’s ready. It shouldn’t take him long to be better option than Dalton, either.

While I like Easterling’s thought process with this move — i.e., go up and get a quarterback — I’m not sure the targeted player is the right one.

Lance is an exciting prospect who’s entering the league with the kind of traits that NFL coaches covet, but he’s an extremely inexperienced starter who’s played only against FCS competition.

He doesn’t fit the profile of the kind of quarterback who can save jobs, especially not the jobs of two guys — Pace and Nagy — who are entering a win-or-else season.

Should the Bears trade up for a quarterback this year? Absolutely yes. Should it be for Lance? Nope. Instead, go get Justin Fields, whose apparent draft-day slide is looking more and more like a legitimate possibility.