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Your indispensable guide to the NFL Draft
The Bears need a QB still, Chris Simms seems to actually know stuff and what and how to watch.
It’s Draft Day—well, day one of the three day draft extravaganza—and it could be the night we learn which young quarterback the guys who replace Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy in three years will be saddled with. Are you excited?
The Bears are picking 20th as their reward for riding a hot, lucky start to a hopeless first round playoff loss to the Saints.1 The draft is awash in quarterback talent and the Bears have little to no hope of drafting any of the five—count ‘em, five—QBs expected to go in the first round.
So, either they do what Pace does best (needlessly give away draft capital to trade up for a player that won’t work out) or they will have to settle for a round two type talent.
The Bears gaping roster holes are not limited to the quarterback position, so trading away picks to move up is ill-advised. They need a cornerback, two tackles, wide receiver depth, and somebody to remind Robert Quinn which guy on the other team is the quarterback.
We, as fans, are fixated on the quarterback because until that position is fixed none of the rest of this shit matters. How important is having a first-round talent on your roster? After the draft it’s projected that 22 of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL will be first round picks including the QBs of all 16 AFC teams.
The Bears took a big swing in 2017 when they traded up to draft Mitch Trubisky and that failed miserably, but they also haven’t given themselves any other shots at it.
When he was hired in 2015, Pace said his expectation was that the Bears would routinely draft quarterbacks and always have a developmental quarterback on the roster. They’ve only drafted Mitch in the last six years and I don’t know what Tyler Bray was, but I know it wasn’t a developmental quarterback.
Then again, Pace focused on all the right things when it came to picking Mitch. Like the bullshit story about Mitch’s grandmother’s Camry.
And, how are any of these people still employed by the Bears after this?
But, like Mark McGwire once famously told Bob Costas: “My testicles are now the size of raisins.” Wait. No, not that. “I’m not here to talk about the past.”
That was it.
Or, as this dehydrated puppet who now does Medicare Helpline commercials2 once said, “The past is for wimps and losers.”
Did Mike forget to put his top teeth in?
So, we look ahead.
Wait, this guy knows things?
You guys remember Chris Simms, right? Phil’s kid, lefty, played at Texas, drafted by Jon Gruden in Tampa played a little bit, ruptured his spleen, that guy. For the last few years he’s been popping up on NBC during Notre Dame games and Football Night in America, but mostly during Mike Florio’s AM Terry Bradshaw Death Watch show.
What you might not know is that for the last four drafts, Simms has ranked quarterbacks, often contrary to the consensus, and he’s been pretty spot on.
In 2017 he had Patrick Mahomes rated first, then Deshaun Watson, then a broken Juggs Machine and then Mitch.
In 2018 he had Lamar Jackson ranked as the top QB only to cave late in the process and have him second after Josh Allen, then Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. Pretty spot on.
In 2019 he had Kyler Murray first (to be fair, so did everybody), then Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins, Ryan Finley Jarrett Stidham and then Daniel Jones.
Last year he made news, not for ranking Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert 1-2, but for having Tua fourth after Jordan Love.
So, he’s been pretty good.
This year he’s the one “expert” who doesn’t have Trevor Lawrence rated first. He has spunky BYU go-getter Zach Wilson first. It’s not a case of him thinking Lawrence isn’t good, it’s that he thinks Wilson’s slightly better. His overall QB rankings are, Wilson, Lawrence, Mac Jones, Kellen Mond (seriously, from Texas A&M), Justin Fields and Trey Lance.
He doesn’t just rank QBs, though that’s what he’s known for. Here’s his full mock draft:
In this mock Justin Fields falls past the Bears (and everybody else) to 32. I just don’t think there’s any way if one of the QBs falls to 20 that the Bears don’t grab it like a life preserver and Pace and Nagy use it to buy themselves three more years of, “It takes a while to develop a QB.” Though, Slater would be a helluva pick at 20 if that happened, and could fill their second biggest need (left tackle) for a decade. Or, until he ruptures every disk in his back trying to tackle a guy after an Andy Dalton interception.
If the Bears decide to wait until the second round to address quarterback, and they want Mond or Stanford’s Davis Mills, they probably will have to trade up from pick 52. I’m not going to pretend to know anything useful about Mond, but Mills strikes me as being super unspectacular, like Notre Dame’s Ian Book without…you know, success. And if the Bears somehow end up with Book, I’m going full Sylvia Plath.
Supposedly, Pace has put Nagy in charge of deciding which quarterback they pick, and I do not buy the idea that George McCaskey won’t let them trade future picks in an effort to get the guy they want. George was cool with them trading every pick for the next decade and Akiem Hicks and Kyle Fuller (back when he was still on the team) to Seattke for Russell Wilson. Clearly, George is in the “you still have the job, so do the job” mode with these two stooges.
I think we’re all pretty certain that both of those boobs got secret contract extensions either before last year or early in the season, and they aren’t lame ducks like the national media dopes insist they are. They shouldn’t be lame ducks. They shouldn’t have the jobs they do, but whatever.
You can watch the draft on ESPN, ABC or NFL Network.
ESPN has Mike Greenberg leading their coverage. He takes over for Trey Wingo who took over for Chris Berman who took over for Art Linkletter or whoever the fuck did the draft back when Pete Rozelle was smoking nine packs of smokes a day and convincing Jim Finks not to trade a first rounder to the Raiders for Howie Long because he hated Al Davis so much.
Greenberg hosts some plucky little AM gabfest that few people watch, but apparently they never stop talking football:
Greenberg will be joined by Mel Kiper Jr., the man who invented pretending to know shit about these college kids, Louis Riddick and Booger McFarland. I hope Booger just keeps crashing that weird sideline forklift thing they made him ride on Monday Night Football into the desk over and over again. Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will read shit off their cell phones out loud. Suzy Kolber will interview the draft picks, and hopefully by the end of the night she’ll have had a few cocktails and will tell us more stories about what an asshole Keith Olbermann was on their old espn2 highlight show.
The ABC broadcast will be completely unwatchable. Trust me. It sounds like a good idea, it’s the College Gameday crew of Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, and Desmond Howard, joined by Todd McShay. The Bachelor and David Pollock will be at the kids’ table with the most recent reason that Dan McNeil’s career is over, Maria Taylor.
But here’s the thing. Last year this version of the the coverage was just four hours of soft focused features with plinky piano music on the draft picks about how their mom was a crack addict or their whole family died when grandpa tried to use the propane grill in the living room. Granted, the always treacly Tom Rinaldi is off to Fox Sports, but somebody at Disney thinks casual fans love this sad shit. When I watch a draft, the only reason I want to have to cry is when Dave Wannstedt purposely drafts dudes with torn ACLs.
Last year, “Sports Guy” Bill Simmons pissed and moaned about how ESPN wasn’t using any of their NFL guys on the draft coverage. He went on and on about it, only to finally be told that he must have been watching the ABC coverage. They don’t make millionaire sports and culture geniuses like they used to.
NFL Network has done the unthinkable. They finally have told Michael Irvin and Steve Mariucci to “just sit this one out.” Those two added nothing but volume.
Their coverage will have Rich Eisen, Daniel Jeremiah, Charles Davis and David Shaw (Stanford head coach) at the big table. Squinty dimwit Ian Rapoport will be monitoring Schefter’s Twitter feed and reporting from that. My ex-girlfriend Melissa Stark will do the draftee interviews, and Joel Klatt and Kurt Warner will be sitting awkwardly at a card table wondering how a current college coach got a better seat than they did.
I tend to gravitate toward the NFL Network coverage, though a lot of that was out of habit of just wanting to avoid Berman at all costs. But both they and ESPN have pretty solid groups this year.
So, instead, you’ll want to tune in to our Twitch stream where Hub Arkush, Jeff Joniak, Maurice Douglass, Cairo Santos and I will be giving live pick by pick analysis.
Jesus, can you imagine if that was true?
[Cue Moe with his head in the oven again]
OK, so for real, I’ll be doing a running diary of the first round that I’ll be sending out to the paying subscribers during the draft every 10 picks or so, and then some kind of wrap up afterwards. If you haven’t subscribed yet, there’s a 15% off sale this week and here’s a handy little button to click:
While you await the big event, why not listen to the Movie Deep Dive Podcast Mike Pusateri and I did on the movie “Draft Day” with the movie’s biggest fan, ESPN Radio Chicago’s David Kaplan? Oh, you say you’ve already listened to it? Well, listen to it again. What could you possibly have going on that’s better than that?
Drew Brees was so embarrassed to only throw two touchdown passes against the Bears (and to lose the NVP Award to Mitch) that he quit the game two weeks later.
Are we sure Ditka’s alive? That video has serious Weekend at Bernie’s vibes. And you just know that he’d have had it in his will that his agent was still supposed to book him in ads even after he died as long as the checks clear.