Bears GM: 'Andy Dalton Is Our Starter' Despite Trade Up to Pick Justin Fields

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 30, 2021

An image of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is displayed after he was chosen by the Chicago Bears with the 11th pick in the first round of thge NFL football draft Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace told reporters that veteran quarterback Andy Dalton is still the team's starter despite the team selecting Ohio State signal-caller Justin Fields with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft on Thursday. 

The Bears traded their first-round pick (No. 20 overall) and fifth-rounder (No. 164) this year as well as a first-rounder and fourth-rounder in next year's draft to move up nine spots for the New York Giants' choice at No. 11.

They then took Fields, who the Bleacher Report NFL Scouting Dept. ranked third overall (and second among quarterbacks) on its final big board. The scouting group gave Fields a 9.2 grade out of 10, putting him in the 9.0-9.4 range ("potential All-Pro").

Fields was sensational at Ohio State, completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 22 touchdowns (six interceptions) and rushing for 383 yards and five more scores. Ohio State went undefeated until the national championship, when it fell to Alabama.

The potential superstar has two seasons of excellent college production, however, as he had 51 touchdowns (41 passing, 10 rushing) for OSU in 2019.

Fields is clearly the future in Chicago. Dalton may have the inside track to be the Week 1 starter, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Fields take over sometime during the 2021 season.