“What the hell?!?”
That was my first thought when I saw the Bears trade up on one spot Thursday night.
“Who the hell do they love?”
As that question rolled around my head and names like Jamal Adams and Jonathan Allen came to mind, I hear “…and they really love Solomon Thomas…” from the reporters on TV and, for a moment, I pause.
Vic Fangio… John Fox… this makes perfect sense… and the 49ers are supposedly interested in him. Then the Commissioner comes to the podium and says:
“With the 2nd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select, Mitchell Trubisky, quarterback, North Carolina“
The trade terms are released and we find out that Bears general manager Ryan Pace traded a 2017 3rd round pick, a 2017 4th round pick, and a 2018 3rd round pick for the right to move up one spot and select his QB.
Getting “your” QB has become the primary responsibility of a GM and Pace, who is going into his third season as GM has never had “his” guy.
I put on my analyst hat and my first instinct is that this is a bad move. We’ve been told by insiders and outsiders that this is a bad QB draft. We certainly could have one taken top 5, but more likely in the late 20s from teams trading their early 2nd round pick for one. So if the market is thin and the quality is “just above average”, then why would a GM trade away the rights to pick three players (and potential starters based on draft position) to take a QB that has a better chance to bust than make it?
For the entire weekend, I try to understand the move, and I’m having a tough time. Clearly the QB market was more robust than we thought. Just look at Kansas City and Houston. But “what could John Lynch have said?” “Did he really think the Browns or Jets were making a move to #2?” My prevailing thought is that these seems like an over-extension, not a confident move. This thought is validated by copious analysts who keep saying they didn’t like Trubisky there and they didn’t like the move.
Fast forward to Sunday morning, Peter King releases a tease on Twitter to a piece outlining his opinion that the move was sound. I’m not surprised someone takes the contrarian approach, someone needed to. Then Joe Banner responds, agreeing with King and I’m starting to wonder what I’m missing.
I enjoy talking football with my wife. She doesn’t like sports and has zero rooting interest in any of it, so talking shop with her simply results in a philosophical discussion about human capital acquisition and not about what “they have always done”. Oh, and she’s smarter than me.
I’m outlining this whole situation to her and I’m trying to explain that there was a chance that someone jumped the Bears, but many people I’ve talked to, said the odds of that were low.
She looks at me and says “The odds are low until it happens to you. Then the odds are 100%.”
It clicks. My opinion of Trubisky is not important here, it never was. They clearly felt he is “their guy”. The important piece here is simply, why take any chance on letting someone get “your QB”.
I pride myself on trying to look at all the angles and see things from multiple perspectives. Here, I failed. I locked into my initial thought, it was confirmed by others on teams and in the media, and I never searched for a counter point.
My bet is there was a large gap between Trubisky and the other QBs on the Bears board, they loved him in the pre-draft process (which Fox was absolutely a part of), and Pace decided he simply would not risk losing the chance to draft “their guy”.
So while this move could be a referendum on the Bears’ staff’s ability to evaluate and develop QBs, I can no longer make the argument that giving up draft capital to acquire their guy was a bad move.