A year ago at this time, Mitchell Trubisky was, by and large, an unknown commodity. Thirteen starts later, he could be the first quarterback taken in the NFL Draft.
Are scouts wondering why Trubisky was a backup for two years before finally getting the starting gig as a junior?
“I think that is definitely going to be a knock,” Sports Illustrated NFL writer Chris Burke said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I think that is a question about him. But you look at the situation they had there, I think they were developing him into being a couple-year starter. I don’t think they necessarily thought he was going to take off the way that he did when he finally got the starting job this year. There obviously was a lot of upside, a lot of talent with him. But he really played better and came on a lot stronger than anyone would have expected.
“So to go back to his freshman year, even his sophomore year, and say, ‘Well, he didn’t win the starting job’ – this wasn’t necessarily a guy we were talking about the way we’re talking about now,” Burke continued. “I think that’s a credit to him, what he did last year learning in that system and then stepping in this year and taking the job by the horns and running with it. He really did play well once he finally got that gig. I think the question more is about experience than about why he wasn’t a starter earlier. I think NFL teams will have more concern about the fact that he only started 13 games and threw a limited number of passes than that he wasn’t a starter in 2015.”
As far as Trubisky’s pro potential, Burke said that size is not an issue – Trubisky is 6-2 – and that “the arm strength is fine.”
There are, however, concerns.
“I didn’t see a ton of consistency throwing the ball downfield,” Burke said. “I think he can drive it downfield from time to time. I don’t know that it’s necessarily a huge selling point for his game, so you’re probably looking at him more as a West Coast-style quarterback, someone who’s living in kind of those short and intermediate windows and maybe moving outside the pocket making those throws. The comparison for me, I think, is more in the Ryan Tannehill range than the Aaron Rodgers range. You know he’s got some athleticism, you know he’s got the arm to make some throws, but there are certainly some concerns about how good he can be as a passer.”
In his latest mock draft, Burke has the Browns trading up to draft Trubisky fourth overall.
“I know there are teams that really like (his) upside,” Burke said. “I think there’s kind of a ceiling there, but it’s a fairly high ceiling when you add it all up, and you think of him as still developing. You can look at (his experience) as a negative, but you also can look at is as you’re molding him pretty early from the start. DeShone Kizer on the other hand, I think you have to question whether that’s a total strip-down and rebuild because of what happened to him last year. Trubisky, you’re kind of catching on the upswing. To me, I don’t like him personally as a prospect as much as a couple of the other quarterbacks in this class, but I don’t think he slides very far in that first round.”