Game Changing Play of the Week: Bears Use Second Pick in 2017 Draft to Take Mitch Trubisky

What we do in the draft... echoes in eternity.

Normally the Game Changing Play of the Week column pinpoints a specific moment that contributed most heavily to the outcome of the game.

But because this week the Packers decimated the Bears just as I predicted they would in last week’s Hello Wisconsin column, the Game Changing Play could easily have been the coin toss, which gave the Packers possession first and began a scoring onslaught.

I could have chosen one of the Packers’ six touchdowns scored on the Bears’ vaunted defense, or one of the three turnovers Chicago committed. But I really decided to bask in the afterglow of a complete undressing of the Bears on national television.

The Game Changing Play of the Week is the mere presence of Mitch Trubisky on the Bears’ roster, and the fact that the team pissed away four years by investing valuable assets in him.

The pick

With the second pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected Mitch Trubisky, a one-year starter at quarterback for North Carolina who declared for the draft a year early.

To move up a single spot in the draft to take Trubisky, the Bears gave up that number three pick, their third round pick (number 67), a fourth round pick (number 111) and a 2018 third-round pick.

Let it be remembered that their trading partner, the San Francisco 49ers, was never going to take a quarterback with the second overall pick anyway.

Let it also be remembered that the near-universally acclaimed Deshaun Watson and the raw but uber-talented prospect Patrick Mahomes were both still available, and that no other quarterback-needy team likely to be picking in the top 10 was planning on taking Trubisky as their first choice over these other quarterbacks.

Let it also be remembered that the “plan” was for Trubisky to spend some time developing behind would-be starter Mike Glennon. That plan lasted mere weeks into the 2017 season.

Let it also be remembered that head coach John Fox didn’t want Trubisky to begin with.

Let it also be remembered that when the Bears signed Matt Nagy, he was brought in as an “offensive guru” and “quarterback whisperer” who could maximize Trubisky’s talents with the Bears.

Let it also be remembered that rather than using their draft picks to build around their young quarterback in need of help, especially along the offensive line, hapless “Executive of the Year” general manager Ryan Pace decided instead to trade two first round picks (2019 and 2020), a sixth round pick and a third round pick to Oakland for Khalil Mack, who has never since managed to live up to the impact he delivered for the Raiders.

In six starts against the Packers, Trubisky has a single victory. Last year, the Bears declined Trubisky’s fifth-year option, all but cementing his draft bust status in the annals of Chicago Bears lore.

The Trubisky selection set the Bears’ franchise back years, will cost Ryan Pace his job and could result in Matt Nagy never again getting another head coaching opportunity.

That’s some immense collateral damage.

In closing, let me leave you with some hilarious tweets for you to reflect on as the Pace/Trubisky/Nagy era likely comes to an unfortunate end.

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (31)

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Bearmeat's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:15 pm

LOL. I did my undergrad in Chicago and I (unfortunately) have a lot of shit-eating Bear fan friends. In the summer of 2018, and ESPECIALLY the summer of 2019, I spent a lot of time as a lone wolf in our fantasy league telling them that signing Mack was a mistake, that they didn't have the QB to make it work, that their OL was a dumpster fire, that their GM deserved to be fired for taking Trubisky, that (and on an on). Basically, I was telling them that their defense was already good enough and they needed to add many pieces to their offense without killing their cap. Meaning they should have traded back and selected Mahomes or Watson around 10.

Thank God Pace is a moron. I hope he keeps his job. Thanks Virginia!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 01, 2020 at 04:00 am

The bet was on Trubisky and Pace lost. Mack, despite the author's opinion to the contrary, has come exactly as advertised. Mack's PFF grades of 90.4, 86.2, and 91.6 so far this year are accurate reflections of his value.

Upon Mack's arrival, the bears' defense went from 9th in pts allowed to first. It was 4th in the NFL in 2019 and it is 8th this year. And that happened despite always being tied or behind, always having to respect both the run and the pass all game long, every game, never being able to pin the ears back and rush the crap out of opposing QBs.

The Packers ran right up the gut. That's not Mack territory, BTW. The Bears were missing their NT, Goldman, who opted out, their LDE, Akiem Hicks, and their RDE, Roy Robertson-Harris. That's Chicago's entire starting defensive line, and the strongest unit on the team entering the season. It's 3 of their 6 best players.

You're correct: if Pace had taken Mahommes or Watson and still traded for Mack, Chicago probably is in the super bowl. The bet was on Trubisky. It sure hurt hiring John Fox, but I think a Mahommes or even Watson led Bears teams gets to a super bowl despite Fox or Nagy for that matter.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:28 pm

From what I've seen about Trubisky is that while he may have the physical tools - he lacks one of the most important attributes - to see the field well. His 2 picks against Green Bay were both in double-coverage - when he either under-threw or over-threw the receiver. No successful NFL QB does this with the frequency of Trubisky. After the season Chicago will be QB hunting again - while Trubisky will eventually be demoted to a permanent bench role.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:33 pm

His follow through is garbage. Watch his right hip. Awful. And yes, he can't see the field.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:39 pm

OK - so not even an eventual bench player?

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Bearmeat's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:59 pm

With his mobility, my uneducated guess is the he is probably good enough to be the next Josh McCown. A long career in front of him making 5m AAV. Nice life if you can get it.

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Coldworld's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:04 pm

We see some extremely talented athletes fail at QB in the pros, some who have great arms. Being a QB is, in addition to physical talent, a combination of personality and mental acuity.

From what I’ve seen of Trubisky, he has the physical and arm talent. He can throw decisively and accurately at times. He seems to not have the mentality to stay on an even keel, though he doesn’t give up, he seems to get carried away. Finally, while he can go through progressions, he seems to struggle reading the field.

He is the kind of QB who can thrive in many college systems and particularly if not figured out. He us also the sort who could perhaps have been worked on as a developmental pro prospect. He can run, he can throw and he can advance through projections at least on occasion.

He was unlucky being picked at 2, unluckier being picked there by that team. Reading this, it reminds me of the number of bad decisions that led to his pick and subsequently by the Bears. I seriously think that front office, roster and coaching could kill the careers of many if not all QBs, including those passed on when they picked him.

Ludicrous move in the first place, but I think it looks so uniquely laughable only because of where he landed and who was around him. He is as much a symptom as a cause and as much a victim as a perpetrator in my view.

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TXCHEESE's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:38 pm

LOL. I remember talking to my then boss, who was a huge Bear fan about the pick the next day. His words: "Pace is a freakin (but he didn't say freakin) idiot, how did he not draft DeShaun Watson and make it home alive last night".

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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:44 pm

Personally, as a Packers fan, I'm glad that he did make it home alive. And that he will continue to be the Bear's GM.

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Coldworld's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:05 pm

Give him a lifetime appointment!

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:25 pm

The bares have had more starting, failed QBs than the Packers have had players waived on the bottom of the roster.

OK, that is an exaggeration...kind of.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:54 pm

In the end, there is no difference.

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ricky's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:54 pm

At least one reason Pace chose Trubisky is that he liked the car Trubisky was driving- an old, beat up Toyota that once belonged to his grandmother. When you are making decisions on the most important is mind boggling.

https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/05/11/chicago-bears-mitchell-trubisky-...

This should be a warning to the Packers. Unless they are really sure that Jordan Love is the true heir apparent to Rodgers, it would be a good idea to try to find some help for AR, rather than hope he can perform miracles with mediocre talent.

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baldski's picture

November 30, 2020 at 10:10 pm

San Francisco passed on Aaron Rogers because he was "too cocky" according to SF sports insiders.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 01, 2020 at 11:31 am

Dick Nolan's assessment.

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jlc1's picture

December 02, 2020 at 01:51 pm

That reminds of the scene in Moneyball when the old time scouts think they need to draft a guy because he has a good looking girlfriend, the best correlation to baseball talent they could come up with.

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pacman's picture

November 30, 2020 at 07:21 pm

Now I'm starting to feel bad for the guy. His career is probably over and Bears are done. Glass house and all - people are still laughing at Packers taking Love rather than going for the player to win a SB with AR.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

November 30, 2020 at 07:42 pm

I believe the Packers made the right decision in Love at the time they drafted him. A risk sure but no different than any other player. Jefferson was already taken by the Vikings unfortunately.

Love has enough upside to take that gamble. Time will show whether it was the right move or not.

Go back thru time and the Packers are littered with countless busts in round 1.

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PhantomII's picture

November 30, 2020 at 07:55 pm

Nope, Claypool bigger and faster than Lazard w/ 4.4 speed great hands over 10 TD's for Steelers so far in rookie year available at #30.

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Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2020 at 08:00 am

Maybe, but if they hit in Love, as the poster suggested, no comparison in value.

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Guam's picture

December 01, 2020 at 08:11 am

And if the miss on Love and the 2020 Super Bowl because they didn't take Claypool or a quality DL, Love could be to Gute what Trubisky is to Pace.

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

December 01, 2020 at 09:50 am

I think it is a bit of a challenge to make the comparison. Big Ben has always shown a tendency to trust rookie WRs receivers whereas Aaron has not. To assume that Claypool would be putting up those numbers with us I think is a huge stretch.

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PhantomII's picture

December 02, 2020 at 08:33 pm

okay wait 4 yrs and see if you're right and I'll look at the Steelers highlights and know I'm right now.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 30, 2020 at 08:03 pm

Gabriel and Smith should go work in Politics where you can say just about anything and pretend it's true.

The word on the street is the Packers are signing Tevon Austin, so Gute was planning on getting a 1st round WR this season :)

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flackcatcher's picture

November 30, 2020 at 09:44 pm

heh heh heh heh heh .....

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Minniman's picture

December 01, 2020 at 01:03 am

Well played sir!

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Packers0808's picture

November 30, 2020 at 09:00 pm

Really makes you wonder what the Packers could really do with another real strong DLineman on their squad! Seems DL was more important than a WR at this point in time!

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 30, 2020 at 09:05 pm

Great stuff, Tim! All the tasty schadenfreude, and a "plethora" sighting! It's been a while since the p-word has been spotted on CHTV.

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SwedeBayPacker's picture

November 30, 2020 at 10:43 pm

I hate the Bears, but God damn if I didn't almost feel sorry for Trubisky after watching the game. That was the look of a battered man.

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Minniman's picture

December 01, 2020 at 01:10 am

Me, not so much!

I'll even double down and add in Allan Robinson.

Al, you rejected the Packers for the Bears 2 years ago. How's that working out for you?

"The North Remembers..... :) "

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jimtalkbox's picture

December 01, 2020 at 09:17 am

Fun fact: Aaron Rodgers will be the top QB in the NFC North until he no longer plays for an NFC North team. I don't care who the other teams have.

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