The 2016 NFL Draft will give the Chicago Bears another chance to select a quarterback for the future.
With Jay Cutler slotted to be the starter again in 2016, the Bears won’t be drafting a quarterback to step in and play right away. That makes it unlikely they'll take a quarterback with the 11th overall pick.
Instead the Bears will look to grab a passer who can develop under Cutler and learn the offense before being thrown into the fire. Those guys can be found in the middle rounds of the draft and this year’s class has a few interesting candidates the Bears should definitely consider.
Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State (6-4, 233)
After struggling to find playing time at Florida, Brissett transferred to North Carolina State and saved his college career. He didn’t 'wow' anyone at the Senior Bowl or scouting combine but he could be a sleeper in this year’s draft. He’s got a strong arm and great elusiveness in the pocket. He can hurt you with his feet and also understands when to throw the ball away. He doesn’t commit a lot of turnovers. Brissett will be an option for teams searching for a solid backup they can develop into a stable starter in the future.
Projected: 5th round
Kevin Hogan, Stanford (6-3, 218)
Hogan has a good quarterback build and was solid in replacement of Andrew Luck at Stanford. He’s got one of the best arms in this year’s class and has nice touch on his downfield passes. His accuracy isn’t great but it’s good enough for him to be considered in the middle rounds. His quirky delivery, deep pass accuracy and lack of mobility are the big concerns in Hogan's game.
Cardale Jones, Ohio State (6-5, 253)
Jones emerged onto the scene with Ohio State after starter Braxton Miller and backup J.T. Barrett went down in the 2014-15 season. Taking over, Jones immediately filled the leadership role on offense and led the team to a national championship. The biggest thing that stands out is his arm strength. He’s got arguably the strongest arm in the draft and can really deliver the football out of the pocket. Jones has to improve his accuracy, which is dangerously inconsistent. He also wasn’t very good completing passes on the run, all of which led to his eventual benching last season.
Projected: 5th round
Brandon Allen, Arkansas (6-1, 217)
Allen started three seasons for the Razorbacks and really broke out his senior year. The biggest jump came in his completion percentage when he completed 66 percent of his passes in 2015. Allen’s accuracy really stands out. He can complete passes in the pocket and is good in designed rollouts. Allen's arm strength isn’t great but he can be a solid game manager in the NFL.
Projected: 6th round
Cody Kessler, USC (6-1, 220)
Kessler played in a pro-style offense at USC and put up some big numbers. He looked comfortable making all of the throws in the Trojans' offense. His quick release is something that stands out and his ability to get out of the pocket when in trouble really helps his cause. He has some considerable downsides, as he lacks ideal height for an NFL quarterback and his accuracy is sub-par.
Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech (6-4, 234)
Driskel really struggled with accuracy at Florida in his freshman and sophomore seasons. He transferred out and improved at Louisiana Tech. He has solid footwork and he can move out of the pocket and keep plays alive if needed. He does struggle with leading his receivers, overthrowing receivers and sometimes panics when being rushed. He's a project but one with upside due to his size and athleticism.
Vernon Adams Jr., Oregon (5-11, 200)
Taking over for Marcus Mariota at Oregon, Adams Jr. had a nice season for the Ducks. His mobility is the biggest positive in his game as he showed the ability to scramble and make plays downfield. He's severely undersized and needs to improve on his accuracy moving forward, yet he's dangerous enough on the run to warrant a seventh-round flier.
Kevin Hogan: Hogan might be the ideal quarterback for the Bears to target in the later rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft. His size is a big positive, as he can stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball to his receivers. With Cutler as the starter, Hogan can sit a few years and develop. He will be a project, as they would have to work on his mobility and deep ball accuracy, but those problems are minimal compared to other quarterbacks in the late rounds of this year's draft. Hogan is reportedly a quick learner and could come in and win the backup job in Chicago right away.