The 2006 Chicago Bears
There seems to be a narrative that a quarterback drafted by the Chicago Bears will save general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy’s job. I should be more specific. A quarterback drafted in the first round seems to be the answer to many popular YouTube draft analysts.
While I value their draft content, I need to explain why that is incorrect. The Chicago Bears are a rare breed. I feel like that is one reason we all love them. The Chicago Bears went to a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman and lost. The Chicago Bears dominated the mid-to-late 1980s with Jim McMahon. Those are all valid frames in history.
I understand that I have listed three quarterbacks drafted in the first round that found success. I am not arguing that taking a quarterback in the first round would be a mistake. The argument is would that save Ryan Pace or Matt Nagy’s job? After a successful season in 2001 (13-3), Jerry Angelo, Dick Jauron, and the Chicago Bears regressed poorly, only winning four games in 2002.
Angelo then traded down from the number four overall selection to 13 and traded down from 13 to 14. The Chicago Bears drafted Michael Haynes at 14 and Rex Grossman at 22. Grossman did not start full-time until 2006. Dick Jauron and Angelo should have focused on adding talent to help starting quarterback Jim Miller.
Trading down is not always the answer in the NFL draft as well. Sometimes you should grab a playmaker. Rex Grossman then sat for three seasons learning behind some regressing (or talent deficient) quarterback play from the starters before leading the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl birth in 2006. Well, the running backs and the defense got the team to the championship (sound familiar?).
Lovie Smith, hired in 2004, finished with a 4-11 record. With a future quarterback on the roster, the Chicago Bears missed a possible trade-up for Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. The Bears for sure missed on drafting Aaron Rodgers in 2005.
However, Tommy Harris did his job, helping the Chicago bears make it to the Super Bowl in 2006. If Matt Nagy thinks he can draft a quarterback like (let’s be honest) Kyle Trask or Mac Jones in the first round and wait for them to develop, then Matt Nagy will become like John Fox, sitting somewhere else, telling the world how he put that team together.
John Fox might be correct, but he still gets zero credit for that. There is always the slight chance that said quarterback beats out Andy Dalton in training camp (that’s not always a good thing) and becomes a true face of the franchise.