Coming into this year’s draft, the expectation was the Bears would take a quarterback at some point, if not in the first round then sometime over the weekend. Instead, Chicago couldn’t wait that long.
The Bears traded up from pick No. 20 to No. 11, then selected Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields as the franchise’s next quarterback.
In the deal, Chicago received the 11th pick in this year’s draft, and sent the No. 20 pick to the Giants, along with a 2022 first-round pick, a 2022 fourth-round pick and a fifth-round pick for 2021.
The 22-year-old heads to the NFL after beginning his college career at Georgia in 2018 before transferring to Ohio State in 2019. Fields starred in his two years with the Buckeyes, throwing for 63 touchdowns and nine interceptions over 22 games while completing 64.8% of his pass attempts.
The quarterback led Ohio State to the College Football Playoff each season, with the Buckeyes falling to Alabama in last season’s national title game.
The Bears last took a quarterback in the first round in 2017, when they traded up to tack Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 pick. Chicago infamously chose Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Trubisky struggled to kick-start the Bears’ offense and signed a one-year deal with the Bills this offseason to back up Josh Allen. The Bears signed veteran quarterback Andy Dalton this offseason on a one-year contract.
Fields’s draft stock was all over the board, his projection remaining in the top three until the final days leading up to the 2021 NFL draft. He had been a longtime favorite of the 49ers before reports surfaced that the franchise was more interested in Alabama’s Mac Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
Last week, Fields reportedly informed teams that he is managing epilepsy. He was diagnosed with the neurological disorder as a child and has seen his symptoms get shorter and more infrequent over time, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelisserro.
NFL Network reported that the disorder, which does cause seizures, has not impacted Fields’s football career, and doctors expect him to outgrow it. He does take medication for the diagnosis.
Fields is not the first NFL player to manage an epilepsy diagnosis, including Hall of Fame guard Alan Faneca, who took medication to control seizures throughout his career.
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