Sometimes it's about who you know. Sam Ehlinger might have the ultimate connection in that department come NFL Draft season.
The Chicago Bears announced Monday the hiring of former Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman. Herman, 45, will serve under Matt Nagy as an offensive analyst/special projects.
Herman complied a 32-18 record with the Longhorns the past four seasons, including a 4-0 record in bowl games. His departure from the school came due down to crucial moments.
The Longhorns had yet to win the Big 12 Championship since 2009 when Herman was brought in from Houston in 2017. Four years later and they've been to the conference title game once.
Herman now will have a chance to revitalize his career at the NFL level. Ideally, teams live or die by the production of a quarterback. Chicago finished 8-8 last season behind the tag team of Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles.
Trubisky was the better option of the two, but that doesn't mean he'll be the Bears franchise quarterback. Chicago did not pick up his fifth-year option entering the 2020 season, making him a free agent.
Chicago will certainly be in the market for a quarterback, but will they trade up for a top-five name in April's draft? Will the needs elsewhere be forgotten?
Although perhaps not ideal, Ehlinger could be an option as a Day 3 selection.
The connection between coach and quarterback is unlike any other in sports today. During their four years in Austin, Ehlinger was the "it" factor for the Longhorns' offense.
Herman gave a budding freshman the keys to the Longhorns kingdom. He didn't disappoint.
Ehlinger threw for 11,436 yards and 94 touchdowns against 27 interceptions. He finished with a career rating of 145.0 with an average pass of 7.7 yards per play.
Compare that to Trubisky's 6.7 career passing yards and there could be a higher upside.
Ehlinger's draft status has his stock teetering from a fifth- to seventh-round selection. The Bears will need to prioritize their offensive line as much they do the QB. Chicago allowed 36 sacks, but consistent pressure certainly led to more hurried throws from Trubisky and Foles.
Herman's knowledge and work with Ehlinger could entice Bears general manager Ryan Pace to select him late. That doesn't mean Chicago will view him as a first-team contender, but there's potential to say the least.
Ehlinger's Pro Day on March 11 will give NFL scouts a better chance to evaluate his final draft grade. The good news? He already has a foot in the door of a team in need of an option under center.
CONTINUE READING: Sam Ehlinger's draft dream? It's close