Mitch Trubisky wasn’t the first overall pick to his hometown team after all, and as disappointing as that may sound, he ought to be pretty happy about that.
Even though the Bears gave up way too much to move up one spot in the draft to get the North Carolina quarterback – a loss of potential talent which means Trubisky will end up playing for a worse team in the long run – Trubisky still ended up in a much better spot to achieve his NFL potential than if his hometown Browns had taken him with the first pick instead of Myles Garrett.
With the Bears already committed to $15 million free-agent signing Mike Glennon for the short term, Trubisky will be able to learn and develop at a reasonable pace. That is a better situation for a quarterback with as little on-field experience as Trubisky has rather than getting thrown straight into the mix – and, thanks to the size of Glennon’s contract, without the play-him-now pressure a first-round pick would normally and inevitably face in about Week 9.
Trubisky can take a redshirt season (or two, if Glennon plays well) to study the offense and learn the NFL, and as long as the Bears maintain some semblance of coaching and coordinator continuity, he’ll end up getting the same apprenticeship that Aaron Rodgers had under Brett Favre and Kirk Cousins had playing behind Robert Griffin III, the kind of protected learning space NFL teams always talk about giving their young quarterbacks, and rarely do.
Chicago’s decision-making may be baffling – giving up assets to take a quarterback with a mid-round draft grade second overall after signing Glennon, instead of a much-needed potential impact player on defense – but the Bears did create an environment for a quarterback with Trubisky’s abilities and shortcomings to be successful in the long haul.
Cleveland would have been a no-win situation for Trubisky, and not just because the Browns are the NFL’s original no-win franchise. He would either have had to play right away after only 13 career college starts – and for a miserably bad team, no less – or get thrown into the yawning maw at the behest of an unhappy, howling fan base after a few inevitable bad losses. Better quarterbacks than Trubisky have been unable to surmount those circumstances.
If things went sour with the Browns, likely through no real fault of Trubisky’s, he’d be branded as yet another on a long list of Cleveland quarterback busts, something he’d have to own every time he goes home.
Instead, while it’s hard to figure out how trading up for a quarterback made sense for the Bears, it could end up making a ton of sense for Trubisky.
Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, email@example.com, @LukeDeCock