Trubisky trade a desperate gamble by Bears regime


Chicago sports fans are getting used to looking on in disbelief, but their most recent reason for doing so was in stark contrast to the MLB's Cubs ending a 108-year wait for a title, as the Bears stole the draft day show with a move that left many bemused.

The Bears sent a third-rounder and a fourth-rounder this year along with a 2018 third-rounder to the San Francisco 49ers to move up just one spot from the third overall pick to the second and take North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

It was a decision met with vocal bewilderment by the fans assembled at Chicago's draft party, with the question "Really? A quarterback?" clearly audible.

And those Bears fans doubting the move are right to do so. Chicago, who ended last season 3-13, are a long way from just needing a quarterback to threaten a deep playoff run.

Only eight teams allowed more points than the Bears last season and Chicago could certainly have used defensive reinforcements, particularly in the secondary.

But their actions set a theme for the night, as quarterbacks from a class most viewed as not very strong at the position were pushed up via trades while offensive talent was favoured in the top 10 of a draft widely believed to be better on the defensive side of the ball.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans both made huge moves up into the top 12 picks to take quarterbacks in the form of Patrick Mahomes II and Deshaun Watson.

After Cleveland took defensive end Myles Garrett first overall, all but two of the following nine top-10 selections were offensive players, with the 49ers and New York Jets the two other teams to go for defenders.

However, unlike with the Bears, the decisions of the Chiefs and Texans and the teams who selected offensive players in the top 10 all have basis in sound reasoning.

Mahomes will be given time to develop behind Alex Smith in Kansas City while Houston has a defense capable of contending for a Super Bowl but has long since lacked a quarterback with the tools to push them towards the title game.

Watson, at some point in the 2017 season, should have a legitimate chance to win the starting job from Tom Savage and help the Texans make that leap.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers each addressed a need by taking running backs Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey, and receivers Corey Davis and Mike Williams went to teams in the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers both looking for pass-catching weapons to aid their quarterbacks.

But it is tough to decipher what the Bears' thought process was. They sent much-needed draft capital, which the 49ers used to move back into the first round and take linebacker Reuben Foster after selecting defensive end Solomon Thomas at three, to a team in their own conference in order to add a quarterback with just 13 games of collegiate experience to a roster in dire need of an infusion of talent in other areas.

It is a move that smacks of a desperation ploy from general manager Ryan Pace who, in doing a deal with the 49ers, handed an early gift to their first-time GM John Lynch.

Pace and head coach Jon Fox will both likely be out of a job if the Bears endure another miserable season. However, if Trubisky succeeds in eventually winning the starting role from free-agent acquisition Mike Glennon and keeps Chicago interesting and competitive, they may be able to survive.

Yet that is a huge amount to expect from a rookie with such limited experience and the jump they made to get him saw the Bears miss out on the chance to bolster a defense that has shown some signs of improvement - despite the high number of points allowed - with a premier player.

Without a step forward from the defense, it is tough to anticipate Glennon or Trubisky enjoying success in 2017.

Quarterback is the most valuable position in the NFL, but the optimal time to reach for one is when the team in question is within striking distance of competing for a Super Bowl.

The Bears' choice not to abide by that philosophy could well see them throw an inexperienced quarterback into the league with a team likely to be struggling at the bottom of the NFC North again. It is a huge gamble and one that, in all probability, seems set to backfire.