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Projecting Chicago Bears skill-position depth chart and fantasy impact

By trading up for Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bears turned the narrative surrounding the franchise on its head.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson #12 of the Chicago Bears celebrates his touchdown with teammates in the second quarter of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field on December 05, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

While the Chicago Bears reached the playoffs in 2020, the berth felt like a Pyrrhic victory. The team again fell short at the sport’s most important position with Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles taking turns as the starting quarterback. While their shortcomings became apparent just weeks into the season, the Bears’ trip to the playoffs pushed them well out of position to land one of the 2021 NFL Draft’s top signal-callers.

That narrative changed on the first night of the draft. General manager Ryan Pace traded two first-round picks and more in order to move up for a potential franchise quarterback. That moment altered the entire perception of the Bears, who suddenly have a path toward sustainability after wandering the quarterback desert for so many years.

Quarterback

1. Andy Dalton
2. Justin Fields
3. Nick Foles

Running back

1. David Montgomery
2. Tarik Cohen
3. Damien Williams
4. Khalil Herbert

Wide receiver

1. Allen Robinson
2. Darnell Mooney
3. Anthony Miller
4. Marquise Goodwin
5. Damiere Byrd
6. Dazz Newsome

Tight end

1. Cole Kmet
2. Jimmy Graham
3. J.P. Holtz

Biggest offseason changes

The Bears have botched the quarterback position for longer than most of the franchise’s fans have lived. While no rookie signal-caller offers a guaranteed solution to the problem, Justin Fields represents the best bet the team has made at the position in over a decade. If Fields can provide even competent play in 2021, the Bears offense could transform from one of the league’s most depressing units to somewhere in the middle of the pack, a huge improvement for a team that snuck into the playoffs a season ago.

Biggest questions for fantasy football

The Bears didn’t trade up for Fields not to play him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the rookie will open the season as the starter. They also added veteran Andy Dalton earlier in the offseason and, like numerous teams in similar situations, Chicago’s coaching staff could opt for the more-experienced option in Week 1.

But short of Dalton rediscovering his 2015 form, Fields should take over at some point. When that moment occurs will have significant ramifications for the offensive supporting cast. Allen Robinson, the star wideout who has played with exclusively pedestrian or worse quarterbacks during his NFL career, could go from a fringe WR1/2 to one of the most coveted receivers in fantasy. Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet could experience similar rises, going from likely fantasy backups to starting options at their respective positions.

Even the ground game could see a boost from Fields. Across the league, quarterbacks with legitimate running ability have created more opportunities for the tailbacks with which they share the backfield. David Montgomery could realistically see bigger rushing lanes once Fields takes the reins, a change that could move him up a few spots in the fantasy hierarchy.