Why the Bears Didn’t Draft Patrick Mahomes (and What if They Did?)
I try not to write too much from the perspective of a Bears fan, for a variety of reasons. For one, I try my hardest to write everything without any kind of bias. If I say something on the pod, I want people to know that it’s genuinely what I think. One of the other major reasons is that I don’t really enjoy writing about a team that has repeatedly broken my heart. However, the recent trend of “I can’t believe the Bears didn’t draft Mahomes” opinions from people that have clearly been borrowing books from Marty McFly, has annoyed me enough to write a post about 2 things. 1, Why the Bears didn’t draft Patrick Mahomes and 2. What would have happened if they did.
Cast your mind back to April 2017. We’d been subjected to “Salt Bae” for a few months, but were a couple away from the joys of “Distracted Boyfriend”… Yes it’s that old. Anyway in the lead up to the draft, the talk amongst the experts was where the big 3 QBs would go. You had DeShaun Watson who according to NFL.com’s comparison was closest to Marcus Mariota, with “teams having to weigh up whether the inconsistent field vision and decision making against his size, athleticism, leadership and production”. Patrick Mahomes, who had the big arm, but developed some bad habits and had drawn comparisons to Jay Cutler (I wonder why Chicago would be hesitant) . Finally there was Mitch(ell) Trubisky who despite only starting 13 games and running a spread offence, was considered the most pro ready and showed all the traits of an NFL QB. All the QB’s however were believed to be risky with most mocks seeing them slide to generally between 12 and 32. Pretty much no one had Chicago drafting a QB.
So why was it believed that the Bears weren’t interested in a QB, well because it was believed that they had one. Yes it was believed that 2017 would be the season that Mike Glennon threw down his clipboard and finally became the starter that it was believed he could be and judging by his $45m contract, it was thought that the front office believed it too. No one thought the Bears were drafting a QB, even within the organisation. If they did they might have pulled Glennon to one side and said “Listen mate, maybe don’t go to the official Chicago Bears draft party”, which was an event he attended. Which must have been incredibly awkward. I certainly didn’t think the Bears were drafting a QB. Right up to the pick itself I was convinced the Bears were in love with Jamal Adams and the reason they moved up in the draft was because the Niners liked him, but they could let him slide to pick up draft picks and Solomon Thomas.
The pick itself confused some, angered others and for a growing minority of Bears fans gave birth to a group that genuinely believed that the Bears had drafted their franchise QB. For the first time since Sid Luckman. As the draft went on, both the Chiefs and Texans realised that QBs were a hotter commodity than they’d realised and moved up to pick Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson respectively.
Simply put the Bears wanted a QB and Trubisky was the consensus no. 1 available. Even if, at the time, he was a reach at no. 2.
So what happens if the Bears draft Patrick Mahomes.
Well in this world we have to imagine a GM that has fallen in love with a risky project QB, but they feel confident that he can sit behind starting bridge QB, Mike Glennon. OC Dowell Loggains had a project QB to play with but would have known he wasn’t ready. Also in 2017 the NFL was changing. Teams were beginning to incorporate more college concepts to make their shiny new QBs more effective straight away. Loggains and the Bears didn’t get the memo.
In 2018 though the Bears would bring in Matt Nagy to run something similar to what the Chiefs were running. Matt Nagy relies on moveable pieces and scheming Receivers open, with running backs to pull linebackers out of position and a QB that can make good decisions when opportunities arrive. In Patrick Mahomes, he has that. The Bears were arguably a QB (and yes a kicker) away from making the Superbowl. I firmly believe that if the Bears get past the Eagles, they go on to face the Patriots and stand a pretty good chance of winning.
So here we go… If the Bears drafted Patrick Mahomes, in 2018 they probably win a Super bowl. Now excuse me while I climb into this wardrobe and cry for a bit.
All of this though is dependant on changes to the way the NFL looks at offences. Carson Wentz and the Eagles went a long way to change the ethos in the NFL, but Andy Reid probably took it a step further with Mahomes. I’ve been a big fan of coaches meeting players in the middle. Realising what they’ve got in a player and adapting to it. That’s what Andy Reid did with Patrick Mahomes and it’s worth noting, not what Matt Nagy did with Mitch Trubisky. It just so happens that Mahomes who Andy Reid described as having a photographic memory, would work with what Matt Nagy has tried to do with the Bears offence.
So whilst we can all look at the 2017 draft with the hindsight of a time traveller, it’s worth noting that the narrative was very different at the time. Also whilst the Bears probably would have won a Super bowl with Patrick Mahomes, I don’t think anyone saw him being a sure fire nailed on future Hall of Famer.
Don’t forget to check out the podcast, we’ll be going through all the teams, starting this week with the teams of the AFC East!