A year ago at this time, Mitch Trubisky was declaring his intentions to leave North Carolina to enter the NFL Draft. We saw Trubisky as a potential fit, though no one saw GM Ryan Pace engineering a draft-day trade to move up and take him with the second overall selection.
And we definitely didn’t see Matt Nagy being attracted to a head-coach opening in Chicago, in part, because of Trubisky’s presence under center.
Because the Bears have Trubisky installed as their quarterback-of-the-future (and present, too!) the team isn’t in the market to draft a first-round signal caller this time around. And if you let Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio tell it, Chicago should be happy about that.
One general manager who spoke with Florio says the top-rated quarterbacks in this year’s crop of prospects – UCLA’s Josh Rosen and USC’s Sam Darnold – aren’t believed to be as good as Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, or Patrick Mahomes.
“One GM told me neither is viewed as being as good as last year’s three first round quarterbacks,” Florio said. “As to Darnold, better athlete, more exciting. But how much time does he need to develop as a passer? As to Rosen, pure pocket passer, but is his upside limited?”
Two things come to mind when dissecting the thoughts relayed from one GM to Florio.
First, the assessments of both Darnold and Rosen seem spot on. Darnold has the measurables NFL executives dream of when looking for a quarterback, but still has room to grow from a pure passing perspective – especially in the turnover-worthy throws department. Rosen is the high-floor quarterback prospect that should give his team a fighting chance early in his career, but he has been bitten by the injury bug while at UCLA. If that rears its ugly head when he reaches the NFL, it could put a serious dent in his potential.
Second, the same questions and concerns that surrounded the 2017 class of quarterbacks has come back around to the 2018 class and is being applied to the likes of Darnold, Rosen, and others. Concerns regarding making the transition from spread offenses to traditional pro style schemes will pop up. As will questions about mechanics, fundamentals, and decision-making ability.
No quarterback in this draft class is a finished product. Then again, the same was said about last year’s crop, which produced three Year 1 starters.
There is plenty of time between now and the 2018 NFL Draft for opinions on the top quarterbacks to change for the better. Remember, last year’s class was didn’t start getting significant hype until late in the process.