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The Implications of Tyson Bagent's Starts for the Future of Justin Fields


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Vince Carbonneau
January 30, 2024  (7:57)
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The anxiety among Bears fans regarding the future quarterback situation can be attributed to a timeless human tendency: the fear of uncertainty.

Generally, people view change with suspicion unless their current circumstances are utterly intolerableŚno pun intended in this context. What's preventing many from considering Caleb Williams as a superior option to Justin Fields is this deep-seated human apprehension of the unknown. It's a challenge to persuade anyone to look beyond this fear. NFL analysts might categorize it as a straightforward matter of resetting the salary cap for the quarterback position, but this concept appears sterile and disconcerting to devoted fans of the sport. It has little to do with the actual act of throwing or running with the football.
The reluctance to draft a potential bust persists, regardless of salary cap considerations, particularly when there is an incumbent quarterback whom fans are comfortable supporting. While Fields may have a modest .263 winning percentage as the Bears' starter, fans have grown accustomed to his presence.
The "Bust Factor"
In the 21st century, quarterbacks selected as the first overall pick have generally proven to be valuable, if not entirely successful. Busts have been rare, and this is a concern for Bears fans who may still recall the experiences with Justin Fields and Rex Grossman.
Neither of those two quarterbacks could be labeled as complete busts. Grossman did enough to avoid hindering a formidable defense from reaching a Super Bowl. Trubisky served as the quarterback for two Bears playoff teams, a feat unmatched since Grossman. They were disappointments rather than total busts, and it's worth noting that neither was drafted as the first overall pick. Here are the first overall quarterbacks selected since 2000:
- Bryce Young
- Trevor Lawrence
- Joe Burrow
- Kyler Murray
- Baker Mayfield
- Jared Goff
- Jameis Winston
- Andrew Luck
- Cam Newton
- Sam Bradford
- Matthew Stafford
- JaMarcus Russell
- Alex Smith
Among these selections, there is approximately a 23% chance of encountering a bust, based on modern NFL scouting techniques. Therefore, there is a reasonable likelihood that Caleb Williams won't turn out to be a complete bust.
Expanding this analysis further back in time, the percentage of quarterback busts chosen as the first overall pick remains relatively consistent. While statistical comparisons are challenging due to changes in the game, here are the other quarterbacks taken as the first overall pick since the common NFL-AFL draft:
- Terry Bradshaw
- Jim Plunkett
- Steve Bartkowski
- John Elway
- Vinny Testaverde
- Troy Aikman
- Jeff George
- Drew Bledsoe
- Peyton Manning
- Tim Couch
Out of this group, only Tim Couch failed to significantly elevate his team. Plunkett, while not a spectacular passer, was a gritty Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Bledsoe, although not in the same league as Tom Brady, had a solid career. Bartkowski was a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback who started for the same team for 11 years. Testaverde may not have lived up to first overall pick expectations, but he had a 21-year career with two Pro Bowl appearances. George never reached Pro Bowl status but exceeded 4,000 passing yards in an era when such numbers were uncommon. He even led the league in passing yards.
In summary, history suggests that the risk of selecting a quarterback bust with the first overall pick is relatively low, providing some reassurance for fans concerned about the unknown when it comes to Caleb Williams.
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JANUARY 30   |   61 ANSWERS
The Implications of Tyson Bagent's Starts for the Future of Justin Fields

Will Justin Fields stay as the starter?

Yes3150.8 %
No3049.2 %
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