When the 2017 NFL Draft opened, there was a wide range of possible outcomes for what the Chicago Bears might do with the third overall selection. With so many talented players on the board, the organization essentially had its pick of any number of potential Pro Bowlers, and conventional wisdom led to the expectation that the team would address its struggling defense by adding a player like Jamal Adams, Solomon Thomas, Jonathan Allen, or Marshon Lattimore.
That did not prove to be the case.
Chicago Bears Invest Heavily In Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky
Put simply, the Bears pulled off a true shocker. The franchise traded the third overall pick, along with 2017 third and fourth-round selections and a 2018 third-rounder, for the privilege of moving up a single slot and drafting North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky second overall.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 28, 2017
The move was met with genuine surprise around the nation, and the immediate media reaction was negative. The consensus was that the Bears gave up far too much to move up and select a signal caller with only 13 starts to his credit, especially considering that they had just spent a lot of money on Mike Glennon, and that there was a surplus of blue-chip defensive prospects on the board.
There may very well be some merit to all of those arguments, but the fact remains that the Bears clearly felt Trubisky was worth it. There was likely some jockeying at the top of the draft to acquire him, and it’s entirely possible that the Bears became part of a bidding war. While we likely won’t know which other teams may have been involved in this auction, it’s ultimately irrelevant.
Michell Trubisky is now a Chicago Bear.
The Immediate Future
So what does this mean for the aforementioned Glennon, and more importantly, the Bears organization as a whole? For starters, it is clear that they have committed to Trubisky as the team’s franchise quarterback of the future. The nature of the three-year, $45 million contract ($18.5 million guaranteed) that Glennon signed with the Bears enables the team to move on fairly easily after a year or so.
With Trubisky’s lack of experience and status as a bit of a project, it is likely that Glennon will serve as a bridge starter for most, if not all of 2017, before giving way to the youngster. It’s certainly not what Glennon had in mind when he signed with the team back in March, but if he plays well, he could earn himself a solid opportunity elsewhere once Trubisky acquires the job.
It’s clear that whichever quarterback is running the offense for the Bears in the immediate future will be captaining a run-first offense. With 2016 rookie Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard in the mix, alongside a largely unproven receiver group, the ground game will likely play a huge role in 2017. This will ultimately prove beneficial to Trubisky whenever he takes over for the simple reason that it’s never a great idea to put too much on the shoulders of a young quarterback.
Last year, Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz attempted 607 passes. It would be a disaster to put that sort of workload on Trubisky whenever he first takes the field. It will likely take some time to get him up to full speed, but the team can afford to be patient with their young signal caller.
The Simple Reality
Ultimately, there will those who detest the move while others who commend its bravery, but the fact of the matter is the Chicago Bears think they have found their franchise quarterback, and it is almost impossible to win in the NFL without such a player. Coming off a 3-13 season, this team is clearly in the midst of a rebuild, and selecting a quarterback at the top of the draft at the expense of other needs is often a hallmark of what rebuilding franchises do.
This was the first time since 2003 that the team spent a first-round pick on a quarterback, and after years of acquiring passers through trades and free agency, they are clearly ready to groom their own young player. Time will tell if Trubisky can be as special as the organization believes he can, but this is clearly an investment the Bears felt comfortable making.