The Cardinals drafted quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in 2019 despite having used the 10th overall choice on quarterback Josh Rosen a year earlier. The Bears had a chance to do something similar this year.
They drafted Justin Fields with the 11th overall pick in 2021 but ended up with the No. 1 overall pick this year and could have drafted Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson or Will Levis.
Instead, they traded the top pick to the Panthers, opting to build around Fields with a strong belief he is their quarterback of the present and future.
Despite General Manager Ryan Poles doing his due diligence on the top quarterback prospects, Fields said the thought of the Bears drafting a quarterback never crossed his mind.
“No, not really,” Fields said Tuesday, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN. “It’s awesome for me getting that trust from the coaching staff. You guys don’t see it, but we communicate here all the time, we trust each other fully. Just having them behind me, they know the kind of leader I am to my teammates. They know how great I want to be, the work I put in. It’s just great to have them behind my back for sure.”
Fields has shown promise, running for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns last season with a league-leading 7.1 yards per carry. He completed 60.4 percent of his passes. But he led the league with 16 fumbles, threw 11 interceptions, averaged 149.5 passing yards per game and took a league-leading 55 sacks.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said earlier this offseason that Fields is “light years ahead” of where he was last season.
Fields explains it as a comfort level he didn’t have in 2022 while learning a new offense for the second time in two NFL seasons.
“It’s truly amazing when you have that feeling going in, knowing where your guys are going to be, more comfortable with the footwork stuff,” Fields said.