Which QB Would Be the Best Fit?

The Chicago Bears will have Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton competing for the starting job, but GM Jerry Angelo will add another QB at some point in the NFL Draft. Four prospects have been targeted: Joe Flacco, Chad Henne, Colt Brennan, and Paul Smith. Who would be the best fit? We investigate ...

Joe Flacco – Delaware

The skinny: After transferring from Pittsburgh because Tyler Palko stood in his way on the depth chart, Flacco put up big numbers for the Blue Hens and is one of the darlings of the draft right now. At nearly 6-7 and 237 pounds, Flacco has protoypical size yet still moves pretty well both in and out of the pocket. His arm strength had all the scouts buzzing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile and the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.


QB Joe Flacco
Joe Giblin/AP Images

The pros: He has a cannon for a right arm, is capable of making all the throws, and carries a cool demeanor in the huddle.

The cons: He hasn't played against top competition, spent most of his college career operating out of the shotgun, and isn't overly strong in the weight room.

The projection: He should come off the board some time in the second round, possibly near the top since some team will inevitably fall in love with his arm.

The fit: Offensive coordinator Ron Turner loves to throw the ball down the field, which is Flacco's strong suit at this point. He'll need at least a full year of holding a clipboard since he ran the spread offense at Delaware, as his learning curve is expected to be steep. He moves better than both Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, but calling him mobile would be a stretch.

Chad Henne – Michigan

The skinny: Henne started at one of the nation's elite programs as a true freshman, although he didn't really improve statistically during his four years under center. He was never truly given the opportunity to air it out in Ann Arbor, but he proved right away both in Mobile and in Indy that he can put some serious pepper on the football. A classic drop-back passer, the fact that he hails from a school that always seems to produce quality NFL quarterbacks has to work in his favor.


QB Chad Henne
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The pros: He can make all the throws at the next level, ran a pro-style offense at Michigan, and has every intangible you look for in a field general.

The cons: He doesn't move very well in the pocket, makes poor decisions from time to time, and tends to hold on to the ball too long.

The projection: He started off as a third-rounder, but he's probably pushed himself into Round 2 since the evaluation process kicked into high gear.

The fit: If Henne falls to the third round, he would be an excellent choice since the Bears would then be able to address more immediate needs in Rounds 1 and 2. Henne knows how to play in cold weather, and he might even be able to push for playing time as a rookie if Chicago falls out of postseason contention late in the year. His plus arm will make Turner happy, although the offensive line would have to work overtime to keep him on his feet.

Colt Brennan – Hawaii

The skinny: He may have played in a pass-happy system that's extremely QB-friendly, but you can't deny the fact that Brennan threw more touchdown passes than any player in Division-I history. A cocky gunslinger with deadly accuracy, he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy this past season and put up ridiculous numbers every week. He didn't fare well at the Senior Bowl when forced to line up under center, although he looked much better at the combine a month later.

QB Colt Brennan
Dave Martin/AP Images

The pros: He's not afraid to make the high-risk throws, can buy extra time with his feet, and spots the ball on a dime with pinpoint precision.

The cons: His arm strength is adequate at best, he hasn't spent much time in a big-league passing attack, and no Hawaii quarterback before him has ever done a thing on Sundays.

The projection: He hurt his stock drastically with a poor performance in Mobile, but a solid showing in Indy probably moved him back into the late-third or early-fourth round.

The fit: Brennan isn't really Turner's kind of passer, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing since the Bears haven't had a Pro Bowler at the game's most important position since Jim McMahon in 1985. Accuracy is the most underrated quality for signal-callers these days, and Brennan hits his receivers in stride and allows them to make yards after the catch. While Grossman has all the arm strength in the world, he's only completed 54.3 percent of his throws during his five-year career.

Paul Smith – Tulsa

The skinny: A gritty overachiever who has the odds stacked against him from a physical standpoint, Smith just kept putting up big numbers for the Golden Hurricane week in and week out. When asked about his deficiencies at the combine, Smith seemed genuinely excited about his opportunity to prove all the prognosticators wrong. Head coach Lovie Smith is a Tulsa graduate, so you can be sure he's had an eye on his alma mater's pesky passer.

QB Paul Smith
David Crenshaw/AP Images

The pros: He's extremely smart both on and off the field, knows how to elude a rush to keep a play alive, and adapted to Tulsa's brand new offense practically overnight as a senior.

The cons: He's undersized at 6-1 and 208 pounds, has a tendency to throw off his back foot too often, and makes periodic mistakes trying to create something out of nothing.

The projection: There will be 10-12 quarterbacks who hear their name called first, but he's certainly worth a gamble in Round 6 or 7.

The fit: Like Brennan, Smith is not necessarily Turner's brand of QB and will have to prove himself for a year or two running the scout team. He has enough of an arm to get by with the short and intermediate throws, but the offense would inevitably take fewer shots down the field if Smith were at the controls. Nevertheless, the fact that he accounted for 60 touchdowns as a senior – 47 passing, 13 rushing – is sick.

Conclusion

Assuming the Monsters of the Midway can hold out until the third round and still get him, Henne appears to be the best choice among this quartet. He has the kind of arm strength necessary to make all the throws in Turner's down-the-field system, and his experience in big games and inclimate weather is comforting. Flacco is too much of an unknown, Brennan will most likely struggle in a pro-style offense, and Smith has too many physical obstacles to overcome.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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