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Panic Drafting?

Bears have to make sure they're not taking Davis Mills too early if they decide he's worth a first-round pick at No. 20

It happens every year, or at least it seems this is the case.

Once a clump of quarterbacks gets set for the first round of the NFL Draft, there is a late push to get another one into the first round.

The classic case was in 2018 Lamar Jackson snuck into Round 1 with the last pick. In 2019, it was called a poor quarterback year with just two first-rounders and then Dwayne Haskins not only pushed into Round 1 but came bursting up boards be taken in the middle of it.

So once the big five for this year seemed set, the speculation began about who would be the sixth quarterback in a very good year. 

The name of Stanford's Davis Mills is popping up more and more after Florida's Kyle Trask became the early favorite, based on extensive experience in a high-powered passing attack.

Both Matt Miller of Bleacher Report and NFL Network's Peter Schrager have put Mills among the first-rounders, possibly with the last pick to the Buccaneers for obvious reasons. After all, Tom Brady probably won't be playing at 50. At least you'd think this will be the case.

Among the teams to show the most interest in Mills so far in the run up to the draft has been the Bears. When they sent passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo to watch Mills, it made big news on social media.

When Mills was going to be available to the Bears in Round 2 and they couldn't go after one of the first five with a trade up, then at least they could focus on a real need like tackle or cornerback in Round 1, or get much faster at slot receiver. Then they could take a QB in Round 2.

With all the discussion of Mills somehow sneaking into the bottom of Round 1, the Bears have to ponder the possibility they may need to actually use the 20th pick in the draft to take him.

There are good arguments in favor of it and good arguments against it, and some of these are Bear-specific.

Yes Draft Him 20th

Mobility: Questioned earlier by some, but it must have been those who didn't watch games or much film of him. He isn't Trey Lance or Justin Fields but he moves very well in the pocket and to the outside of it to buy time to throw. It was obvious in games. At his pro day, he silenced all this talk with unofficial 40 times of 4.58 and 4.66 seconds.

Pro Style: Stanford coach David Shaw is well known for being a pro-style offensive trend setter and quarterbacks coming out of his system are used to reading defenses and knowing their options in the passing game.

It's difficult to call him the most pro-ready quarterback of Round 2 when Trask has thrown so much but Mills definitely has experienced what it's like for a pro quarterback.

Arm strength: There were doubts about this, as well, but analysts raved about the throws he made in the rain at his pro day and how he showed an ability to throw the deep out. There were questions about this earlier.

Stands up to pressure: Pro Football Focus ranked him fifth in the nation at delivering under heat. NFL Draft Bible labels him "fearless."

Accuracy: In 13 games and 11 starts over the 2019 and 2020, he completed 65.8% percent for 3,468 yards with 18 touchdowns to eight interceptions. His accuracy wasn't simply a number. He placed the ball in ideal spots to allow for yards after the catch.

READ: Davis Mills Scouting Report from NFL Draft Bible

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Are You Nuts?

Decision making: Although he has experienced the pro-style offense, he wasn't particularly sharp at times with eight interceptions, and they usually stemmed from poor decisions. He tended to try to thread the needle when something was wide open underneath.

Size: He's 6-foot-3 3/4, 217 pounds. So there are questions whether he could hold up to wear and tear. It's one of the concerns for 6-3, 214-pound Mac Jones. This might sound fine size for a college passer but most teams look for soit meone the size of Carson Wentz or Josh Allen, who are 6-5, 237. Trey Lance is 6-4, 226, Justin Fields 6-3, 228 nbro

Arm: Although his arm showed out stronger at his pro day than some believed it would, he didn't have quite the wide range of deep throws like passers like Lance, Fields or Zach Wilson.

Experience: And you thought Mitchell Trubisky was green. Trubisky had 572 throws and 13 starts. Mills has made only 11 starts and 438 passes. At least Mills was a starter over the course of two seasons, which counts somewhat as he's being exposed for two years to the game as the team's starter. But 11 starts is not much.

The Bears

Once the idea of trading down in Round 1 to take him might have been a possibility. However, there are teams waiting at the end of Round 1 who could be willing to go for Mills. The Saints and Tampa Bay come to mind.

If the Bears drafted him at No. 20, it could raise eyebrows. It will no doubt lead to plenty of scrutiny of Pace after he was willing to move up and take Trubisky. "Here he goes again, overvaluing a quarterback," will be the refrain.

However, if he did this with Matt Nagy in tow and collaborating, it would lessen some of the heat.

Nagy had very good judgment in Kansas City when he called Patrick Mahomes a rare talent during the scouting process. Plenty of NFL people thought otherwise.

If they have conviction on a particular passer, they need to act on it regardless of what happened in the past and what others say.

With the Bears, Mills would need to sit behind Dalton this year at the very least. He's not a plug-and-play quarterback like Trevor Lawrence, or even a quarterback with great speed as a runner who could let his athletic skills take over until he learns the pro game. But definitely scouts detect traits which could lead to something big down the road.

Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy sees plenty of college players close up, and after watching Kellen Mond and Mills he said neither would make it past Round 2.

This being the case, the Bears better be ready to pick their quarterback at No. 20 and look for offensive linemen or cornerbacks in Round 2 if they feel strong enough.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven