Mitchell Trubisky, one of the top quarterbacks available in the 2017 draft—or the very best quarterback, depending on whom you ask—was selected by the Chicago Bears with the second overall pick in the first round Thursday.
The Bears moved up from the third overall selection, making a deal with the San Francisco 49ers. NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco shared the details of the trade:
The San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami and The MMQB's Andrew Brandt praised the 49ers for the trade:
Rotoworld's Evan Silva noted the Bears now have no shortage of quarterbacks:
Fox Sports' Skip Bayless and The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre were among the skeptics of the Bears' selection:
Trubisky has been one of the most examined, debated and polarizing figures in this year's draft class. Not surprisingly, there was a wide variety of reaction to his selection.
In a nutshell, the major concern when it comes to Trubisky is that he only started one year in college, which opens up a rabbit hole of questions. We'll try to address them here.
To begin, Greg Cosell of NFL Films offered his full scouting report on the young quarterback:
NFL Philosophy, meanwhile, focused on Trubisky's strengths:
So we have Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith and Andy Dalton all mentioned when evaluating Trubisky. Any other comparisons?
"Call me crazy but I see a little Derek Carr in his game," an AFC senior personnel executive told Bucky Brooks of NFL.com. "From the poise, decisiveness and quick delivery to the precision passing and athleticism, he looks like the real deal. ... The inexperience bothers me and I can't stop wondering why he couldn't beat out Marquise Williams [for the starting job in 2014-15]."
Hailed by a third scout as a 'Marcus Mariota-type athlete.' He added: 'He had his worst game against Stanford when he locked on twice and the safety picked off two passes. I wanted to compare him to (Brett) Favre but he’s a much better athlete than Favre and he’s faster than Favre. The amazing thing is he can run so well. Excellent competitor. He’s probably my best player (in the draft).'
The central debate when it comes to Trubisky seems to be tools vs. experience. Namely, why doesn't Trubisky have more experience?
An AFC scout summed up that debate nicely for Brooks:
He has all of the tools. I like his arm talent, arm strength, and athleticism. He is the prototypical quarterback that you draw up. ... I just worry about the one-year wonder deal and the fact that he couldn't beat out Marquise Williams for two years. I don't care what anyone says. If he was (that good), he should've been able to win the starting job. There's something wrong with that!
"I'm concerned," ESPN's Jon Gruden added about Trubisky's 13 career college starts, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. "I'm no different than a lot of coaches that say 'I want a three-year starter. I want a minimum of 24 victories. I want two bowl wins.' (But) I want a good quarterback. That's what I want."
Louis Riddick of ESPN latched on to that latter point:
Another factor in Trubisky's favor: His former teammates speak highly of him.
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com passed along these comments from wideout Mack Hollins:
Those teammates seemed to respect Trubisky playing the role of the good soldier while he wasn't starting.
"That would’ve been tough for anybody, man—to have such high expectations coming into college and having to wait your turn," wideout Ryan Switzer told Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. "A lot of people don’t do that nowadays. They pack up and leave. So that’s a testament to his true character."
So there you have it: The polarizing case of Mitchell Trubisky. Chicago is banking on him becoming the cornerstone of their franchise, and it appears he has the tools to be a solid quarterback in the NFL. He capitalized on those tools in his final season at North Carolina, throwing for 3,748 yards, 30 touchdowns and six interceptions.
It took him a while to see the field, though. The Bears will be hoping Trubisky can seize the starting position far faster at the next level.