Prior to the 2017 draft, Watson said in an interview with Rich Eisen that the Bears had talked to him.
“I’ve talked to some teams on the phone, Chicago, Baltimore and a whole bunch of different teams have checked in on me,” Watson said in that pre-draft interview.
The Chicago Tribune also reported that the Bears talked to Watson both at the Scouting Combine and at his pro day. ESPN reported in 2017 that the Bears sent a large contingent that included General Manager Ryan Pace and then-coach John Fox to Clemson’s pro day to watch Watson. The Bears were one of only four teams to send both their head coach and GM to Clemson’s pro day.
Perhaps Watson has just forgotten it three years later, but the historical record indicates that the Bears did, in fact, talk to Watson before the 2017 NFL draft.
The Bears undeniably whiffed when they traded up from No. 3 to No. 2 in the 2017 draft to select Mitchell Trubisky, when they could have stayed where they were or even traded down and selected Watson or Patrick Mahomes. But while the Bears came up with the wrong answer, they did their homework.