The Runner Sports

Ryan Pace Putting Bears Career On The Line With Mitchell Trubisky

Through three rounds of the 2017 draft, Chicago Bears fans and pundits alike are shocked with what the team has been doing. In a draft loaded with defensive talent, and with the Bears having gaping needs in the secondary, Ryan Pace selected two offensive players in the opening rounds. Of course, the big move was taking quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, and surrendering three draft picks to move up one spot for him.  The move has overwhelmingly been criticized by draft experts, and fans booed Trubisky when he attended a Bulls playoff game last night.

Many of the mock draft articles out there said the number three pick would be almost impossible to screw up for the Bears. They could get a defensive stud like Solomon Thomas, Jamal Adams, or Marshon Lattimore, or trade back and acquire more picks. As it turns out, that wouldn’t have been a bad idea with defensive talent like Malik Hooker and Jonathan Allen falling into the mid-teens. Instead, the Bears take a gargantuan risk on the top quarterback in the draft, in a draft where the quarterback class is suspect.

Yet what Ryan Pace has done here can be rationalized, and you have to appreciate the boldness. Pace has tied his entire career to Mitchell Trubisky, and he may never be a GM again should Trubisky falter. Trubisky’s upside is the highest of any player in the draft, simply because he is a quarterback. The Bears needed to draft a quarterback this year because it’s far-and-away the most important position in the NFL, and they likely don’t have a long-term solution in Mike Glennon. I didn’t think they would do it in the first round, but if Trubisky becomes a franchise QB, he’s far more valuable than anybody else the Bears could have taken. If the Bears had selected Jamal Adams, their defense would’ve undoubtedly improved. But with or without Adams, the roster as currently constructed is no better than a 5-11 team. I think this is why we saw top defensive prospects fall. When you are picking early in the first round, you are looking for players who can elevate a franchise, not just fill in the gaps. There are very few safeties and 3-4 defensive lineman in the NFL today that can do that. Getting a franchise quarterback is the fastest way to rebuild.

One of the biggest complaints about the pick is what the Bears gave up to get Trubisky. In this case, we can only speculate what the Bears were thinking. Clearly, they were concerned another team may leapfrog them for Trubisky, and they didn’t want to risk losing him. Yes, the third and fifth round picks would have been useful in this year’s deep draft class, but typically in those rounds you are just getting depth adds that don’t become starters. Again, if Trubisky becomes the face of the franchise, those lost mid-round picks become irrelevant. Teams have given up far more to get their quarterback of the future.

The hope is that Pace made this move with such conviction because he is absolutely convinced that Trubisky will be successful at the next level. It would not be good if he did this simply because he wanted a quick fix to the Bears’ lengthy rebuilding process. The Bears have had a puzzling offseason, and now Pace is betting it all on a quarterback. The selection should buy Pace a couple more years as GM in the short-term, but if Trubisky doesn’t work out, Pace will likely be gone in three years.

I’ve explained why the Bears made this calculated risk, and what the potential upside is, but like most, I’m still not sold on the move. Trubisky is entering an extremely difficult situation. The one advantage he has is that he will get some time to sit behind Mike Glennon. However, Trubisky has the pressure of being a number two pick, with a fanbase that already hates him. He also has no top threats in the passing game that he can go to, since Pace failed to retain Alshon Jeffery. In addition, he’s playing for a franchise that has notoriously struggled to develop quarterbacks. Is Trubisky really going to be a perennial Pro Bowler under the guidance and coaching of Dowell Loggains? John Fox isn’t a quarterback’s coach.

And what about Mike Glennon? It looks like the Bears have almost set him up to fail by stripping the offense of talented receiving options. Now, Glennon has to fail at some point for Trubisky to get his shot. Suppose Glennon comes in and plays well enough to be a long-term starter. Do the Bears try and trade Glennon? Trade Trubisky? This draft pick is essentially banking on Mike Glennon failing at some point. Most Bears fans didn’t see him as a long-term solution to begin with, but the way the Bears talked after signing Glennon, they made it sound like he was going to get a fair opportunity. Now at Glennon’s first misstep, the questions will start coming in on when Trubisky will get in the game.

Having made just thirteen career starts at UNC, the onus will be on the Bears coaching staff to turn Trubisky into a pro quarterback. I liked him over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes as the best QB in the draft, but he’s not a better prospect than Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and Carson Wentz were. Trubisky is the only thing that can salvage a shaky offseason by Bears management, and now he will have to justify his high price-tag. If he does become great, Pace looks like a genius and keeps his job. If not, the Bears are back to square one. No pressure, rook.

Luke Chalk

Luke Chalk

I'm a die hard Chicago sports fan and have been writing about the Bears for over a year now. I'm extremely passionate about this team and hope that comes through in my writing. I'd like to think I know a thing or two about the NFL, as my Sundays are spent glued to my couch watching as much football as I can take in. I'm addicted to fantasy football and Madden, and dare anyone to challenge me in either one. I also like dogs.
Luke Chalk