Major Shock: Bears move up to take Trubisky at number two

The 2017 NFL Draft got off to a stunning start as the Chicago Bears shocked everybody by making a blockbuster trade to switch places with San Francisco and take North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick…

Well that was unexpected and more than a little dramatic. All the pre-draft talk was about the Chicago Bears trying to trade their number three overall pick, but everyone had them looking to move down the draft order, not switching places with San Francisco in the number two spot.

As I lay in bed, bleary eyed, watching on the laptop and waiting for the Niners to select Solomon Thomas and get the Bears on the clock, I was fairly sure they were going to be taking Jamal Adams with that number three pick. Then the news filters through that a trade has taken place and the Bears have moved up. “Hello, what’s this?” I mutter to myself, suddenly wide awake.

Absolutely no-one saw this coming and the analysts on NFL Network, including the brilliant Mike Mayock (one of my favourites) seemed to be caught completely on the hop, as they all bizarrely assumed that Bears GM Ryan Pace wanted Thomas and had moved up to get him.

That surprised me more than the Bears actually moving up, as even to a nobody like me it was pretty obvious this wasn’t about getting Thomas or anybody else on the defensive side of the ball. If Thomas wasn’t there, the Bears could quite happily have taken Adams, Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore or Jonathan Allen, as they have a lot of needs to fill and all would have been solid picks.

You don’t give up what Pace gave up to move up one spot unless you’re taking a quarterback. So when Roger Goodell stepped up to announce the Bears pick, there was a huge sense of anticipation, not just from Bears fans but from everybody watching, as this kind of drama is what makes the Draft the great spectacle it is.

And then it comes…. “With the second pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select… (pause for effect) … Mitchell Trubisky (gasps and cheers from the crowd)… quarterback, North Carolina.

Wow, just wow. I thought it was going to be Deshaun Watson. I wanted it to be Deshaun Watson, I’ve wanted the Bears to draft him all along, although I did waver quite a bit after continually hearing so many experts talk him down and say he isn’t even worthy of a first round selection, let alone one of the top picks (they said the same of Trubisky too).

In the days leading up to the draft though, several respected Bears writers were talking up Watson and calling for the Bears to take him, so when they moved up it made sense that’s who it would be. Trubisky by contract, had barely even been mentioned, and the player himself had spoken of how surprised he was the Bears hadn’t met him personally or worked him out, although it turns out they had met him and he was lying through his teeth!

Initially I was disappointed it wasn’t Watson, but what the hell do I know about evaluating college quarterbacks? I’m not going to question Pace and his staff if they believe Trubisky is the guy, so I’ll just reserve judgement and hope they got it right.

Based on various polls on Twitter, a lot of fans aren’t happy about it but I expect that will change once they’ve had time to get over the initial shock and warm to the idea. It was kind of sprung upon us so that reaction is to be expected.

There are two ways of looking at this move. The naysayers will argue that not only did the Bears go against their ‘best player available’ promise and reach for a quarterback, but in doing so they got fleeced by San Fran and gave up a load of valuable picks for a player who would probably still have been there when they picked.

The Niners were always taking Thomas, but with the Jets and Cleveland needing a QB and a lot of talk going in that the Browns might have even used the number one pick on Trubisky (and who knows if there was any truth in that at all, there’s so much subterfuge goes on in the build up to this thing), Pace felt he needed to do whatever it took to ensure nobody jumped ahead of the Bears and that he got his man no matter what.

The flip side of the argument is that if you believe in a quarterback then no price is too steep, and that Pace should be applauded for being so bold. You aren’t going anywhere unless you get the QB right and having already added Mike Glennon (who for all anybody knows might end up being the long terms answer himself), at least the Bears are maximising their odds of finding the franchise QB they’ve not had since Jim McMahon.

I went to sleep not knowing what to think, but having had time to reflect on it I’d say both arguments are valid at this stage, and only in the fullness of time will we know whether Pace dropped the ball or if he’s a genius. That’s the thing with the draft, you don’t know if you’ve done well until the players actually get on the field, and in Trubisky’s case that may be some time as he’s a developmental player who won’t see the field this season unless there’s an emergency.

As things stand, the real winners look to be San Francisco who got the player they wanted all along and were also able to amass more valuable draft picks. Ultimately though, no-one knows if they got the better of it or not. What if Thomas is a bust or gets hurt? They might squander those mid round picks they got from the Bears on players who don’t work out.

And even if those picks do pan out well for them, if Trubisky develops into the star franchise quarterback that Pace believes he can be, then the Bears will feel that they’ve won that trade hands down.

The trade does leave the Bears will several holes left to fill and not so many picks to fill them, so it won’t be a surprise if they make a move again with their second pick, but this time they will almost certainly be moving back rather than up. Or will they?

Dave Usher

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David Usher
Site Editor / Bears, Bulls & NFL Correspondant
Day job is writing about footy for 'the Liverpool Way' and ESPN FC. Love the Bears and Bulls too though, which is why I'm here.
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One Response to “Major Shock: Bears move up to take Trubisky at number two”

  1. Andy Turner Andy Turner says:

    A real wow moment, you, like I, both thought DeShaun Watson was the best QB option in the draft. The fact that Trubiskys draft stock seemed to be slipping in the run up to the draft looked a good indicator of his standing, while he had a good season with North Carolina I never understood his epic rating rise. However no one knows yet and one has to trust that the Bears management have done their due diligence.
    I have to say the Texans, with Watson in round 1 and Foreman in round 3 look to have improved their offence significantly in 2 picks.

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