Geoff Schwartz: Why Bears shouldn't trade up for QB in 2021 NFL Draft

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Geoff Schwartz: Why Bears shouldn't trade up for QB in draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

If you take a look at Ryan Pace’s offseason to-do list, you’ll probably see one phrase bolded, underlined and circled many times over: “Fix the offense!” Everyone knows it, and everyone knows how the team needs to go about it. Find a new starting quarterback, and invest in the offensive line. It seems the entire city of Chicago wants Allen Robinson to stay too, but before addressing the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, Pace has to make sure he’s got someone to get him the ball. After that, Pace has got to make sure whoever’s throwing the ball is well-protected.

But how should Pace go about addressing both the quarterback and offensive line questions? With trade rumors simmering, free agency set to open up in one month, and the draft not far behind, there are endless possibilities for Pace to fill the Bears’ roster holes. Before the Super Bowl, we spoke with Geoff Schwartz, former NFL offensive lineman and host of the “Geoff Schwartz is Smarter Than You” podcast, and he offered up how he would go about it if he were in Pace’s position.

“Obviously your quarterback situation comes first, right?” Schwartz said on NBC Sports Chicago’s “Countdown to Kickoff” show. “I don’t think Trubisky is going to be back, so what are you going to do with that position? Once you get that figured out, whether that’s via the draft, or you trade up, I don’t think you have the capital for Deshaun Watson, but maybe you do— I don’t know who the other options would be, but you get someone else and then you figure out the tackle situation.”

While Schwartz thinks the Bear should bring in new offensive linemen in April when the draft begins, he does not think that’s where and when they should find their new QB.

“I do not think there’s a guy you trade up for in this draft,” Schwartz said. “But if you love Zack Wilson, if you love Justin Fields, Trey Lance from North Dakota State, if they believe he’s their guy, then make it happen.”

But what about a guy who may be available when the Bears pick at No. 20, Alabama’s Mac Jones?

“Mac Jones I don’t see being good in the NFL,” Schwartz said. “I think we’re seeing a new version of quarterback that has to be mobile. Mac Jones is not mobile. I think we look at how open his wide receivers are at Alabama— Tua (Tagovailoa, fellow Alabama alum) is having this problem in the NFL— they’re not open in the NFL. You have to throw them open. You have to say, ‘Ok, he’s not open now, but if I throw the ball now, he will be open then.’ That anticipation, you don’t have to do that at Alabama. You don’t have to anticipate, these guys are wide effing open.

“I’m worried about Mac Jones’ mobility, and his ability to throw into tight windows when it’s not perfect.”

That leaves the Bears to trade for a quarterback, or to sign one in free agency. Fortunately for Pace, he has plenty of serviceable options in either avenue. However, once the Bears do find their next QB, Schwartz thinks neither trade, nor free agency are the best ways to address the offensive line.

“The way to do it is through the draft,” Schwartz said. “Most teams are not letting high-level tackles leave, because they’ve got to keep them on their teams! They’re going to re-sign them early and not let them hit the market if they really value them. My brother (Mitchell Schwartz) is an example. The Browns did not value Mitch, he went to Kansas City, he’s a four-time All-Pro. So it can happen that way, but it is much easier to draft and develop your offensive linemen. This is a great class for offensive tackles, and the Bears should take advantage of that. It’s a very deep tackle class for the draft this year. You can get someone, even in the second round, who’s really good.”

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