Someone to Keep in Mind

If quarterback plans go awry on Days 1 and 2 for the Bears in the draft, a good fallback plan might just be Wake Forest's Jamie Newman
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It pays to have a backup plan.

The Bears had one when they couldn't trade for Russell Wilson, signing Andy Dalton. Although, it does appear they may have liked Ryan Fitzpatrick better as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reported they considered signing him but Pittsburgh got it done first.

After backup plans, there is the plan of last resort. In free agency, that might have been bringing back Mitchell Trubisky. It didn't get to this.

From all the attention they paid to passers, it appears the Bears would like to add one of the first-round quarterbacks in the NFL Draft. The fallback in case this fails might be a second-rounder like Davis Mills.

It's extremely possible they could get beyond this point without a quarterback if the picks fall in a way to prevent it. Mills could be drafted in the early second round or even the late first round and then they'd need to turn to someone else if they wanted a quarterback.

It's possible they do not have another one graded high enough to select at the 52nd spot or the 83rd spot.

They could even get to Day 3 without one, and there are four options who make sense in late rounds. Sam Ehlinger of Texas and Shane Buechele from SMU both played for new Bears senior offensive assistant Tom Herman at Texas. Both need to check many more boxes to be able to start games in the NFL but might rate as project types.

Feleipe Franks of Arkansas has the strongest arm in the draft and proved it in the past at camps by throwing beyond Patrick Mahomes and Trevor Lawrence. He's also a fast runner, having gone sub-4.6 in a pro day, although he doesn't seem to play with that kind of speed. His decision making can leave something to be desired, according to scouting reports.

The best option after the second group of quarterbacks — Mills, Kyle Trask and Kellen Mond — might be Wake Forest's Jamie Newman.

This is a quarterback whose stock has plummeted while others rose. One reason is he opted out after transferring to Georgia in 2020, so no one has seen him play. If teams really hold this against players, they need to go visit a hospital where COVID-19 patients are suffering.

There had been some other concerns about his accuracy.

He never reached 61% accuracy in a season and was under 60 in three seasons. NFL Draft Bible's scouting report says his accuracy, "...tends to come in the short-to-intermediate range of the field." They did say his arm is plenty strong enough for the NFL.

"He is sure to be a project and his upside is as great as any quarterback in the draft, but there is some unknown to him," NFL Draft Bible's scouting report said.

Newman's downfall seems to have stemmed from his transfer after the 2019 season.

He opted out then without playing at Georgia, "...leading some in the scouting community to question whether he struggled to pick up the new playbook during his transition," NFL Draft Bible said.

Going into 2020, Pro Football Focus had actually ranked Newman the highest deep-ball passer among the "power five" quarterbacks, and third among returning quarterbacks behind only Justin Field and Trevor Lawrence.

The deep ball metric is a throw going at least 20 yards in the air downfield, and Newman had thrown 19.8% of his passes this far. Of his 2,868 yards, 1,159 of them and 13 touchdowns came on deep passes and only three interceptions came then.

Newman was heading to a stellar 2019 season when something happened to derail him. Top receiving threat Sage Surratt went out for the year in a game on Nov. 9 with a shoulder injury.

From the game when Surratt left through the end of the season, Newman completed only 47.4% of his throws, averaged 162 yards passing a game, had six touchdowns, six interceptions and an NFL passer rating of 66.7. Prior to the game when Surratt was injured, Newman winged through the year with a 109.7 NFL passer rating, 67% completions, 257 yards a game and 20 TDs to five interceptions.

Clearly, he missed having his quality receiver.

Newman is a strong runner and sometimes breaks tackles. He brings athleticism as well as a history of passing success with competent receivers.

NFL Draft Bible grades him as a fifth-rounder.

If the Day 1 or Day 2 quarterback draft plans for a team like the Bears fall through, they could do much worse than selecting Newman as a developmental player behind two veterans.

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