The Bears did it.
Despite the skepticism going into the 2021 NFL Draft, Chicago got their franchise quarterback.
Justin Fields — a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and one of the top prospects in this year’s draft — is a Chicago Bear.
It almost sounds fake, especially since this is Chicago we are talking about. Good quarterbacks don’t play in the Windy City like Chicagoans don’t put ketchup on a hotdog. That’s just how it is and how it has been.
For the longest, Bears fans have been accustomed to effortlessly pointing out everything wrong with the numerous quarterbacks who have suited up for their team. And, because it’s now become second nature, that might be what some are doing right now about Fields.
But now is not the time to question the 22-year-old QB. Instead, the fanbase needs to embrace this move for what it symbolizes: hope.
When the Bears traded the No. 20 overall pick, next year’s first, a fifth rounder this year (No. 164) and a fourth in 2022 to move up to No. 11 with the Giants and selected Fields, the franchise drafted arguably the most talented quarterback the organization has ever seen.
In 22 games at Ohio State, Fields threw for 5,373 yards, 63 touchdowns and ran for 15 more scores. In the Sugar Bowl against Clemson last season, Fields outdueled No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and passed for 385 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-28 beatdown.
Fields’ collegiate career was filled with plenty of impressive performances, especially in the biggest games. And this is the exact opposite from general manager Ryan Pace’s first quarterback selection in Mitch Trubisky — who had just 13 starts at North Carolina.
Selecting Fields shows the Bears have learned from their mistake in 2017. That alone should get Bears fans excited for what is to come
Along with Fields’ playing experience, he has the attributes coach Matt Nagy is looking for in the position, which are leadership, decision-making and versatility.
ESPN’s Matt Bowen highlighted some of Fields’ top traits and how they can fit in Nagy’s offense.
Like the move by the #Bears here. Be aggressive.
Fields has the high-level tools/traits. Can see the deep ball accuracy on tape. And he can play outside of structure.
Scheme him up in Nagy’s offense. pic.twitter.com/qCCwYrH7LV
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) April 30, 2021
There is plenty to like about Fields, but like any prospect, nothing is guaranteed. What will help him, though, is that Pace and Nagy have been in this situation before with a rookie quarterback. Instead of playing Fields before he is ready, the Bears have Andy Dalton and Nick Foles in place.
Even though fans would like to see Fields as soon as possible, this is a move for the long term. If that means Fields has to sit behind Dalton to begin his career, then so be it.
Not everyone gets a second chance, but this current Bears regime got that in Fields, so Pace and Nagy are going to do everything they possibly can to ensure Fields is set up to succeed.
The 6-foot-3, 227-pound quarterback with a cannon for an arm is the best opportunity the franchise has ever had to finally solve its more-than-half-a-century-long search for a QB.
Yes, it may be tempting to let doubt creep in, but try to keep the previous quarterbacks right where they belong — in the past.
Fields gives Chicago a fresh start. And, more importantly, a quarterback that has the potential to make Chicago a force in the NFC for years to come.