Good morning, frents …
I’d like to start off this morning’s newsletter by wishing Silvy of ESPN1000 the best in his fight against non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Anyone who’s followed Chicago media for the last two-plus decades knows that Marc Silverman is one of the industry’s true good guys and it’s not hyperbole to say he has the entire city in his corner as he starts this journey.
Kick this thing’s ass, Silvy! #silvystrong
You can listen to Silvy’s announcement during Tuesday’s show (top of the 5 o’clock hour) by downloading the new ESPN 1000 app or here if you have Spotify.
You can’t win if you don’t play
Trigger warning: Click on this video at your own risk
Quick: Can you name the four quarterbacks the Bears have drafted since 2010?
I’ll get you a double dog next time I see you at 35th Street Red Hots if you can — though I’m confident you’ll be the one buying.
There’s Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick in 2017, of course. Fairly certain you remember that one and he’s the only one drafted by Ryan Pace.
But the other three? You’d have to be the hardest of hardcore draft nerds to remember the quarterbacks the Bears have brought home to meet Virginia in the last decade.
• There was David Fales in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. He came out of San Jose State and played in exactly one game for the Bears, throwing five passes against the Vikings in the final game of the 2016 season.
Still, that was five more passes than …
• Idaho’s Nathan Enderle, who the Bears took in the fifth round of the 2011 draft (160th overall). He obviously never got in front of Jay Cutler and was waived in 2012 without ever having appeared in a game.
• Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour, a Benet product who was taken in the sixth round of the 2010 draft and cut a few months later.
And that’s it. That’s the list. One guy who might get the GM who drafted him fired and three other guys who didn’t even have a cup of coffee because they weren’t around long enough for the pot to finish brewing.
Go all the way back to the Bears Super Bowl title year and the list doesn’t get much better. The Bears last good quarterback drafted is probably the first in the crop: Jim Harbaugh with the 26th pick in the 1987 draft.
I bring this up, of course, because the draft is this weekend and people are talking about Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and what the Bears should do if he’s around at picks No. 43 or 50 during Friday night’s second round.
I personally don’t think he’ll last that long given his pedigree leading two blue-blood programs and the NFL’s constant search for quarterbacking talent. Most evaluators have Hurts as a borderline first-round talent, which is a lot different than “guy who will be around for the Bears to select out of a sense of obligation midway through the second.”
Any dreams of Hurts in a Bears uni are probably just that.
But it does raise a general question of why the Bears don’t roll the dice on the quarterback position in more drafts.
Most of this century can basically be divided into three eras. The time they spent waiting for Rex Grossman to develop, get healthy and then stop sucking, the seven seasons the city spent fighting over Jay Cutler’s talents and the current Mitchell Trubisky experience. (Wheee!)
Grossman is the only one on that list who had competition drafted behind him (Kyle Orton in the fourth round of the 2005 draft) while both Cutler and Trubisky were pushed by career backups of varying paychecks (but the same ceiling) until the team spent a lot of money this offseason to bring in a career backup with a slightly higher ceiling in Nick Foles.
(By the way, Ryan Pace met with the media on Tuesday and said he’d “get to” the decision of picking up Trubisky’s fifth-year option after the draft. As if he hasn’t had at least six months to make a decision that should probably take about 10 minutes, tops.)
Anyway, there are two reasons the Bears haven’t taken that many risks at QB, even as the characters in the front office have changed over the years.
The first is that their ever-present black hole at quarterback has sucked up plenty of draft capital along with our hopes and dreams. You can’t afford to get cute when you’re taking damage to multiple drafts in trading for Cutler or sending John Lynch bodies to move up one damn spot for Trubisky.
It’s a problem that compounds itself. The Bears missed on Trubisky and so they had to give up their compensatory fourth-rounder in order to bring in Foles. With no first- or third-rounder because of the Khalil Mack trade, the Bears can’t afford to take a flier in this year’s draft.
The second is that it’s damn hard not to outright waste the pick. Here’s the list of the 363 quarterbacks that have been taken the second round on since 1985. For every Tom Brady or Russell Wilson or Brett Favre, there are literally dozens of guys selling medical equipment and insurance after bouncing around a few training camps. Good quarterbacks rarely hide themselves.
But when you’re a team that hasn’t had a franchise quarterback in not only my lifetime, but also my father’s, what does it hurt to try? As they say about the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play.
The Bears, however, are rarely willing or able to gamble.
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• Brad Biggs with three things we learned from Ryan Pace’s pre-draft press conference (including that we’re in for another kicker competition … maybe an extended lockdown doesn’t sound all that bad). (Tribune)
• Minor League Baseball is reportedly ready to agree to MLB’s plan to cut the number of affiliated teams from 160 to 120, a reduction that would heavily affect the lowest levels of the game. The list of 40 teams was leaked last fall: There are no Cubs affiliates on the list, but the Great Falls (Mont.) Voyagers — the White Sox’s advanced rookie team — could be cut. (Baseball America)
• Fans are suing MLB to get refunds. (Sun-Times)
• Loved this:
• Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet on why he turned down a chance to play for the White Sox. (NBC Sports Chicago)
• Fanatics is running the “All In Challenge,” which features auctions of experiences with athletes and celebrities to raise money for charities that provide food to the needy. Several Chicago athletes are involved. Here’s what they’re offering with the current bid as of this writing:
- Meet David Ross at Cubs Opening Day: $15,500
- Go “glamping” at Wrigley Field: $15,000
- Have Nick Foles speak at your event: $13,000
- Vegas golf trip with Kris Bryant: $9,750
- Go to a Penn State tailgate with Allen Robinson: $7,500
- Gameday experience with Anthony Rizzo: $65,000 (winning bid)
• Midway Minute was featured in a newsletter about what it’s like to run a sports newsletter when there are no sports. What a time to be alive. (Revue)
• I’ve been spending my nights writing the newsletter and watching full concerts on YouTube. They’ve been a source of mental nourishment during the lockdown and I look forward to putting on the headphones each night and getting to work.
Anyway, I don’t know who needs to see this full Chicago concert today, but I’m confident someone out there does. What a great band.
That’s it for today. Reminder: No newsletter on Thursday morning as I gear up for the draft and the next round of The Last Dance this weekend.
As always, thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter. Spread the word.