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One NFL Pundit Says Mitch Trubisky Was the Best Rookie QB – How Do His Numbers Stack Up?

Analysis and Commentary

What lies ahead for Mitch Trubisky is yet to be determined.

Chicago Bears head coach John Fox declined an opportunity to detail what the plan for Trubisky’s development would look like, but he was clear there is a plan in place. One scenario suggests that the Bears could start Trubisky as Mike Glennon’s backup, making him the immediate fall-back plan in a situation where Glennon was injured or incapable of playing solid football. In fairness, that could turn out to be a risky proposition for a quarterback who has started just 14 games (13 at college, one NFL preseason) since the end of his high school career.

On the other hand, Mark Sanchez could be in line to be the Bears’ No. 2 quarterback. Inserting Sanchez as the team’s backup would keep from forcing Trubisky into action earlier than what might be desired. Further, Trubisky slotting into the No. 3 quarterback role would put him into a position to learn while running the scout team – and that could provide some invaluable experience.

No matter what the Bears do with Trubisky, they know they have one of the most talented young quarterbacks from the most recent draft class on their roster and eventually will be ready to deploy him in game action. But maybe we can go a bit further than that – after all, one former NFL executive did.

Charley Casserly was an NFL exec from 1989 to 2006, serving as a general manager for Washington (1989-99) and senior vice president & GM in Houston (2000-06) before settling into life as a broadcaster and analyst for NFL Network. And it was Casserly who seemed particularly impressed with what Trubisky has done in the preseason:

So where do Trubisky’s stats rank among the first four quarterbacks taken? Let’s explore.

Passer rating:

  • 109.3: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
  • 106.2: Mitch Trubisky, Bears
  • 72.7: DeShone Kizer, Browns
  • 67.3: Deshaun Watson, Texans

In what should serve as a reminder to not put too much stock into NFL preseason stats, Cooper Rush (Cowboys, 135.9), Kyle Sloter (Broncos, 125.4), and Taysom Hill (Packers, 124.8) ranked 1-2-3 in passer rating. Six rookies posted passer ratings of 100 or better, and Trubisky was one of them. Patrick Mahomes came away with the best number, while Deshaun Watson never doubled up on his stellar preseason debut and finished with a 67.3 rating that ranked 14th among rookie signal callers.

Completion percentage:

  • 67.9: Mitch Trubisky, Bears
  • 63.0: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
  • 51.8: Deshaun Watson, Texans
  • 51.0: DeShone Kizer, Browns

Among rookie quarterbacks who threw at least 40 passes, Trubisky’s 67.9 percent completion rate ranked third behind Rush (74.5%) and Sloter (72.1%). And yet, Trubisky’s 82 percent adjusted completion percentage ranked as the best in football during the preseason. Trubisky’s targets suffered through some drops this summer, but it’s something that can be improved upon with added practice reps as he continues to establish a rapport with his pass catchers.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Passing yards:

  • 397: Deshaun Watson, Texans
  • 390: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
  • 364: Mitch Trubisky, Bears
  • 351: DeShone Kizer, Browns

Watson’s 56 passes were the third most for a rookie quarterback this summer, and bucks a recent trend of top quarterbacks seeing fewer snaps. The Clemson product took advantage of the opportunities he was given to throw, gaining 397 yards through the air despite a 51.8 completion percentage. The quartet of quarterbacks finished bunched together when it came to yards per attempt with Kizer (7.2) and Mahomes (7.2) leading the way, Watson (7.1) not too far behind, and Trubisky (6.9) trailing the pack – albeit, not by much.

Throws of 20+ yards:

  • 7: DeShone Kizer, Browns
  • 6: Deshaun Watson, Texans
  • 6: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
  • 3: Mitch Trubisky, Bears

Here is one area where Trubisky lags behind his competition, in part because the Bears’ offense didn’t call for many deep passes and the team doesn’t have too many deep threats – especially among the third-string offense. It’s not as if Trubisky lacks the arm strength or accuracy, but throwing the deep ball simply isn’t in the cards often for Fox’s traditionally conservative offense.

It was just the preseason and it came against mostly backups, but there is no denying Trubisky’s preseason excellence. As far as development is concerned, Trubisky’s success against what is perceived to be lesser foes is a positive sign because any struggle in this area would have been viewed as a case to continue slow-playing his development. Instead, Trubisky found himself in a quarterback controversy of sorts late into the preseason because of how he performed.

Eventually, we’ll like to see him take the next step … but it’s apparent that will have to wait.


Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.