2017 NFL Draft: Chicago Bears insist they got their man in QB Mitchell Trubisky

By The Sports Xchange  |  April 28, 2017 at 8:34 AM
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LAKE FOREST, ILL. -- Apparently Phil Emery and Jerry Angelo were not the only Chicago Bears general managers willing to stake their futures on a quarterback gamble.

There can be no doubt current Bears general manager Ryan Pace followed in the footsteps of predecessors in this respect by dealing away third- and fourth-round picks this year and a third-rounder next year to move up Thursday and draft North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in Round 1.

"I think if we want to be great you just can't sit on your hands," Pace said about his decision to move up one spot and pick second. "There's times when you've got to be aggressive. And when you have conviction on a guy you can't sit on your hands.

"I just don't want to be average around here, I want to be great. And these are the moves you have to make."

Pace said he was sure some team would have moved up, and possibly tried to select Trubisky ahead of the Bears at No. 3 if the trade hadn't been made.

"For sure, 100 percent on that," he said.

"I didn't want to sit on our hands and have some team jump us or (have) it not work out when we were this close, or within reach of a player we all valued," Pace added.

In the third year of a rebuilding project, the Bears spent the second pick of the draft on a player who most likely will not play this season. They had already signed free-agent quarterback Mike Glennon for three years and $45 million.

"Mike Glennon is our starting quarterback," Pace said. "There's no quarterback competition when Mitch gets here."

Trubisky said he'd defer to the veteran and avoid complications in the quarterback room.

"I'm going to come in and learn as much as I can from Mike," Trubisky said. "I'm always going to compete and do my thing.

"I know he went to N.C. State, our rival school. So I'm sure we can talk about that a little bit. But I'm looking forward to working with Mike and the rest of my teammates in Chicago."

Trubisky comes to the Bears after only starting one season at North Carolina.

"I think I've had plenty of experience in playing in 13 games, starting 13 but playing 30," Trubisky said. "So, I've been around a lot of football. I went to North Carolina for four years and was continually progressing and I'm only scratching the surface."

In 2009, Angelo gave up two first-round picks to get Jay Cutler and Emery doubled down on Cutler with a mega-bucks contract extension. Now Cutler is gone after one playoff season and a .500 career record with the Bears, and it's up to Pace's regime to pull Chicago out of a quagmire.

The Bears haven't been in the playoffs since 2010 and have been 9-23 under head coach John Fox in two years.

Despite the need for talent at many roster spots, the fact the Bears would draft a quarterback wasn't a complete shock. Dealing away three draft picks to move up and take Trubisky was a surprise to many, though - including Trubisky.

"I didn't see that coming at all," Trubisky said. "I was surprised. I'm glad they came up and got me at No. 2. I think it shows that they believe in me.

"And I believe in what Ryan Pace and coach Fox are doing in Chicago, and I can't wait to be a part of it."

Trubisky talked to the Bears at the Combine and had one private workout for them.

"And after that it was silent," Trubisky said. "It was all a complete mystery and a huge surprise."

But not to Pace, who said he had targeted Trubisky from Day 1, and watched him personally in games several times.

"His accuracy jumps out right away, his ability to process and see the whole field jumps out right away," Pace said. "He's very athletic. He can extend the play."

There are other issues, one of which is the fact Trubisky played out of a shotgun and didn't take snaps under center like he'll have to do with the Bears.

Pace isn't worried about it. He got his man, even at a cost.

"When we're picking top five in a draft and there's a quarterback that we really like, that's the only chance that we're going to have to get a guy like that," Pace said.

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