Davis Mills in the first round?! Are the Chicago Bears that desperate for a quarterback? According to the latest mock draft courtesy of CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco, they are. The Stanford quarterback has gradually climbed draft boards this spring, with the Bears among the teams present to watch him throw on his Pro Day. Now, some are saying a few quarterback-needy teams may reach for him in the first round when he has previously been projected to go on Day 2.
Mills was a five-star quarterback coming out of high school, but a surgically repaired left knee has raised some serious questions about his durability heading into the NFL. The 6-4, 225-pound quarterback had surgery on his knee before graduating from high school, and he re-injured that same knee his freshman year at Stanford. He completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 3,466 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions during limited 2019 and 2020 campaigns, which brings us to the primary knock against Mills: his inexperience.
A talented passer with great anticipation and decision-making skills, Mills has just 11 career college starts under his belt, which would make him a huge reach for any team looking to take him in the first round.
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Priscoe: Mills Has Potential
Priscoe thinks Mills might be worth the risk for a team as needy as Chicago is at the position. “This would be a great move for the Bears, but one that would shock the football world,” he wrote. “I am a big believer in Mills, who I think will be better than one or two of the top five quarterbacks. Mills could spend a year behind Andy Dalton and then take over next season. Let’s be real: Neither Dalton nor Nick Foles is the Bears’ quarterback of the future.”
Mills is one of the more intriguing and difficult to gauge quarterbacks entering the draft this year, largely because of his lack of experience. From Mills’ draft profile courtesy of Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:
There isn’t going to be an excessive amount of tape on Mills, but teams will see a player with below-average mobility, good size and plenty of arm talent for passing attacks looking to open up the entire field. Mills is still in the developmental stage as it pertains to his ability to command the offense and play chess against coverages and blitz looks. He’s made for a play-action attack that can promote his timing as a passer and help keep him protected. The injury background and lack of experience are potential stumbling blocks, but the talent is better than the production and worthy of a middle-round pick for development as a good backup to low-end starter.
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Mills’ Stock Rose After Solid Pro Day Performance
Mills had a standout Pro Day performance that featured Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo requesting specific throws. Mills delivered in more ways than one — in the rain, no less — completing 50 of 54 passes.
“He answered the bell,” draft expert Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network said about the performance, via Sports Illustrated. “A lot of pressure on Davis Mills with a limited number of starts (11), no combine, no all-star game opportunities, this was his one shot, and I thought he crushed it. He crushed it from the testing numbers that we got, and I thought it was a clean, really pure throwing session that he put on in the rain. The day could not have gone any better.”
If the Bears want Mills — and they very well may — reaching for him with the 20th overall pick could be disastrous and unnecessary, as he’s projected to go in the second or third rounds — maybe later. If Chicago shows a little patience and takes him then, it could also likely nab a solid offensive lineman or wide receiver in the first round, which would be a more ideal scenario for a team with a bevy of needs. Still, some great football minds are high on Mills, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
QB Davis Mills of Stanford has some of the most intriguing tape to watch of any player in this draft. He is the off the radar developmental QB that should be on the radar. Classic pocket passer, adequate mobility, good arm strength, exceptional touch…could be an absolute steal.
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) April 3, 2021
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