MOBILE, Ala. - The 2020 Senior Bowl is wrapping up its three days of practices Thursday in Mobile, Ala., and for Bears fans who were hoping GM Ryan Pace would uncover an NFL Draft gem at quarterback, it's time to move on. Those guys aren't here, and unless Pace gets aggressive in free agency or focuses on one of the several underclassmen who've declared, it's going to be a disappointing offseason for the anti-Mitch Trubisky contingent.
To be fair, Utah State's Jordan Love and Oregon's Justin Herbert have lived up to the billing as first-round passers throughout the week. Both have high-end NFL arm talent and will be picked way before the Bears' first selection, No. 43 overall. As a result, Pace has to divert his attention to the next tier of prospects, several of which failed to prove worthy of a second-round choice over the last few days.
Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts' struggles with consistent accuracy throughout 2019 was on display in Senior Bowl practices, especially on Day 1 where he looked nothing like a fringe-first-round pick he was hyped up to be when the Senior Bowl rosters were announced. He's played more like a Day 3 selection, and while his skill set will likely lead to some highlight moments during the actual game, his practice reps have sparked more questions about whether he has the arm talent needed to make an impact as an NFL starter.
Michigan's Shea Patterson was downright brutal. To his credit, his throwing motion improved from a labored shotput style to a more compact release, but he just doesn't have the baseline talent needed to project as a developmental starter. He'll have a place in the league as a backup (maybe?), but he doesn't offer the kind of starting-quality traits that the Bears need to add in a young passer behind Trubisky.
Washington State's Anthony Gordon has his fan club among Bears backers, but his 199-pound frame and average arm strength may have him destined for undrafted free agency. There's no denying his level of production in Mike Leach's offense last season (5,596 yards and 48 touchdowns), but he doesn't project as an NFL starter and it's even a stretch to say he can be a legitimate No. 2. His performance during practices has been forgettable, and that's not how any quarterback wants to be described.
Colorado's Steven Montez, who began the week as a likely undrafted free agent, did nothing to suggest that should change. He has really good size (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) and his arm is adequate enough to make NFL throws, but he's a wildly inconsistent passer who hasn't done much during his time as the Buffaloes' starter to think his ceiling is overly high on the next level. Like Patterson and Gordon, Montez is going to wait a while for his name to be called come draft weekend.
So where does that leave the Bears in their hunt for an improved quarterback depth chart?
Washington's Jacob Eason and Georgia's Jake Fromm are the only viable options at this point in Round 2. Eason's NFL-ready arm and Fromm's experience and accuracy rank higher than any of the Tier 2 quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl and with such a sizeable gap between their skill set and those other guys, Pace will have no choice but to be aggressive and select one at No. 43 or 50 if his goal is to end April's 2020 draft with a rookie in the quarterback room.
Bears unlikely to find quarterback they need from 2020 Senior Bowl originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago