Why didn’t Bears draft a developmental QB like Jake Fromm? ‘The board fell a certain way,’ GM Ryan Pace says.

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CHICAGO — Every 30 minutes or so Saturday, ESPN would flash Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm’s photo on its broadcast and note he was one of analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s top-rated players still available in the NFL draft.

A little more than an hour in, analysts talked about how Fromm’s questionable arm strength and poor combine performance likely contributed to his dropping below Washington’s Jacob Eason and Florida International’s James Morgan, selected in the fourth round by the Colts and Jets, respectively.

Finally, more than three hours into Day 3 of the draft, the Bills took Fromm with the 167th pick in the fifth round.

Among the teams to pass on Fromm were the Bears. They traded a future fourth-rounder to get Tulsa edge rusher Trevis Gipson at No. 155 and used their original fifth-round pick, No. 163, on Georgia Southern cornerback Kindle Vildor.

For the fifth time in six drafts, general manager Ryan Pace didn’t find the right fit for a quarterback with any of his picks. Mitch Trubisky, taken at No. 2 in 2017, remains the only quarterback Pace has drafted.

“It just has to align for us,” Pace said Saturday night. “Every draft, different positions, there are strengths and weaknesses. But for us to take any position, it just has to align for us the right way. So sometimes there’s players we like at that position, and the board doesn’t fall that way for us.

“That’s what happened for this draft, and we’re OK with it because we came away with seven players that we’re really excited about.”

To be fair, the Bears already got their quarterback this offseason when they traded their fourth-round pick to the Jaguars for Nick Foles. But Pace has said he sees value in trying to draft and develop quarterbacks, and with questions about whether Foles or Trubisky is the long-term answer, this year it might have made sense to pick one. Teams with much steadier quarterback situations did so.

Pace also passed twice in the second round on Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, whom the Eagles took at No. 53.

Among the other possibilities that didn’t line up: Morgan was long gone by the time the Bears picked in the fifth round. Pace traded his two picks in the sixth round — when the Jaguars selected Oregon State’s Jake Luton — to get Tulane wide receiver Darnell Mooney at No. 173. And the Titans selected Hawaii’s Cole McDonald two picks before the Bears’ first seventh-round pick at No. 226.

The Dallas Morning News reported the Bears were among the teams to talk to James Madison quarterback Ben DiNucci about an undrafted free-agent contract. But the Cowboys scooped up DiNucci at No. 231, not long after the Bears drafted offensive linemen Arlington Hambright and Lachavious Simmons.

So the Bears march on with Trubisky and Foles competing to be the starter and Tyler Bray, who has one career pass attempt since 2013, as the third-stringer. Without a first-round pick, any quarterback the Bears selected in this draft was going to be more of a project than an immediate contributor. And perhaps Pace, who appears to be in win-now mode, didn’t see the point in taking such a player.

Pace, however, stuck to his mantra that the Bears must take the best player available.

“From Mitch to Nick and to Tyler Bray, we have confidence in our quarterbacks, and we’re looking forward to that,” Pace said. “The board fell a certain way. We have to be disciplined with it, and that’s just the way it played out.”

As for Fromm, who left Georgia a year early, Bills general manager Brandon Beane told ESPN he wasn’t planning on drafting a quarterback but Fromm was “too good to pass up” at No. 167. Fromm, whose leadership was among his most praised traits, said he was excited and blessed to receive the call.

“My entire career, I’ve always kind of been the guy left out, the guy over(looked), the guy who’s not tall enough, not strong enough,” Fromm told reporters on a video call after the draft. “Can’t do this, can’t do that. For me, it’s just showing up to work and competing and doing whatever I can to help the team win.”


Here’s a look at where quarterbacks were drafted this year. The Bears picked at Nos. 43, 50, 155, 163, 173, 226 and 227.

— Round 1 (No. 1) — Bengals: Joe Burrow, LSU

— Round 1 (No. 5) — Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

— Round 1 (No. 6) — Chargers: Justin Herbert, Oregon

— Round 1 (No. 26) — Packers: Jordan Love, Utah State

— Round 2 (No. 53) — Eagles: Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma

— Round 4 (No. 122) — Colts: Jacob Eason, Washington

— Round 4 (No. 125) — Jets: James Morgan, Florida International

— Round 5 (No. 167) — Bills: Jake Fromm, Georgia

— Round 6 (No. 189) — Jaguars: Jake Luton, Oregon State

— Round 7 (No. 224) — Titans: Cole McDonald, Hawaii

— Round 7 (No. 231) — Cowboys: Ben DiNucci, James Madison

— Round 7 (No. 240) — Saints: Tommy Stevens, Mississippi State

— Round 7 (No. 244) — Vikings: Nate Stanley, Iowa


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