USC quarterback Sam Darnold

Kelvin Kuo/USA Today Sports

Gabriel: Bears Hoping A Quarterback Frenzy Takes Place Early In NFL Draft

As many as four quarterbacks could be taken before Chicago selects at No. 8.

Greg Gabriel
March 29, 2018 - 10:41 am
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By Greg Gabriel--

(670 The Score) In an ideal world for the Bears, there would be three and perhaps even four quarterbacks selected before Chicago chooses at No. 8 in the NFL Draft. And as the big day approaches, it's appearing more likely that will prove to be the case as UCLA's Josh Rosen, USC's Sam Darnold, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield jostle to prove they're the best quarterback available.

The Browns are a near lock to select a quarterback with the No. 1 pick, as they only have one quarterback on their roster right now in Tyrod Taylor. A key team in this equation then follows, as the Giants hold the No. 2. They have a quarterback need but when assessing what they've done in free agency, it appears as if they're also trying to still build a team around 37-year-old Eli Manning to make one more run. So it remains unclear if they want to draft a quarterback themselves, draft a difference-maker at another position or perhaps trade back with a foe that desires a quarterback. If the Giants stay at No. 2 and want a non-quarterback, they'll likely select Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb.

The Jets have the third selection by virtue of their recent trade with the Colts. Because they spent so much draft capital to move up, they're probably locked into taking a quarterback. So at least two and perhaps even three quarerback should be selected in the first three picks.

The Browns also hold the No. 4 pick, where they'll have two options. the first is to take the top non-quarterback available. The second is to trade down with a team that covets a quarterback. Because of talents of Barkley and Chubb, a trade offer would have to have a high premium to get the Browns to move out of the No. 4 slot.

The second key team picking in front of the Bears is the Broncos at No. 5. Before free agency began, Denver looked like a sure bet to take a quarterback. Then it went out and signed Case Keenum to be its starting quarterback. While it’s only a two-year deal, it's a strong investment at $36 million, with $25 million guaranteed.

The Broncos selected quarterback Paxton Lynch late in the first round in 2016. Are they willing to give up on him so soon? The belief in league circles is that the Broncos are eyeballing one quarterback in particular and if he's there, they'll pounce. If he's not, they'll select a non-quarterback.

The Colts find themselves at No. 6 after picking up three second-round picks from the Jets to move back from No. 3. Indianapolis has closely evaluated what most analysts consider to be the top four non-quarterbacks: Barkley, Chubb, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

At No. 7, the Buccaneers could be willing to trade down, with their quarterback position settled with Jameis Winston. They're looking for the proverbial best player available. The Bears would welcome the sight of a team trading up into the Bucs' spot at No. 7 and taking a quarterback.

If four quarterbacks are selected in the top seven, the Bears would have the choice of at least one of the top four non-quarterbacks in Barkley, Chubb, Fitzpatrick and Nelson.

While we don't know what the Bears' draft board looks like, they'd be happy if one of those four is available. If they're all gone, Chicago could possibly trade down, though that would take a willing partner. If only two quarterbacks are taken in the top seven, that could make a quarterback-hungry team -- the Bills or Cardinals perhaps? -- act and try to move up. A move back from No. 8 to No. 12, where the Bills reside, should net the Bears a third-round pick, according to long-used trade charts that serve as a foundation for such deals.

The Cardinals hold the 15th pick, so a move up to No. 8 could cost them perhaps as much as a second-round pick. That would put the Bears in a quality position.

Of course, much has to play out before then and on draft night. About the only certainty is that we can count on the unexpected.

Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who's an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.