Does Mitchell Trubisky to the Bears Make Sense?

The Bears surprised everyone by trading up for Trubisky. What can he bring to the table for the franchise?

We certainly did not have to wait long for some drama in this year's NFL Draft, as the Chicago Bears traded up by one slot to get the second overall pick.

And then they kept the surprises going and used that pick to obtain their new franchise quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky.

Who Is Trubisky?

Starting 13 games as a junior in 2016, Trubisky set the North Carolina Tar Heels' single-season record for both passing yards (3,748) and touchdowns (30).

While neither of those numbers were the best in the FBS last season, he did rank inside to the top-10 among all draft-eligible quarterbacks in all major passing categories.

Category Value 2016 CFB QB Rank Draft Rank
Pass Attempts 447 12th 7th
Pass Completion % 68% 6th 2nd
Adjusted Passing Yards/Att 9.1 15th 6th
Passing Touchdowns 30 T-16th 9th
Passing Efficiency 157.9 11th 5th

Contributing to his fifth-ranked passing efficiency was his lack of interceptions -- he only threw five all year, fewer than 100 other FBS quarterbacks.

But it’s important to mention that those 13 games were the only starts of his entire college career. He came off the bench in five more games over the previous two seasons.

Our own Jim Sannes dove into which statistics matter for evaluating college quarterbacks and concluded that their number of games played, as well as their adjusted yards per attempt and passer efficiency rating, were among the most important.

Looking at those, Trubisky compares closely to Mark Sanchez, who the New York Jets selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Why Did Chicago Do It?

One of our signature metrics here at numberFire is Net Expected Points (NEP), which measures the value added or lost on each play relative to expectation level. A 10-yard pass on 3rd-and-8 should mean a lot more to a player or team's statistics than a 10-yard pass on 3rd-and-20, and NEP accounts for that.

The Bears ranked 21st in the NFL in Adjusted Passing NEP per play last season, with the quarterback job split between three different players due to injuries.

Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, and Jay Cutler each started at least five games for the Bears in 2016. Among the 39 quarterbacks in the league with 100 or more drop backs last season, Hoyer actually ranked eighth, with a 0.22 Passing NEP per drop back, while neither of the other two quarterbacks were inside the top 22.

But the Bears chose to clean house, getting rid of all three of those quarterbacks prior to the draft.

Chicago followed that up by giving Mike Glennon a three-year, $45 million contract, presumably to be the starting quarterback. Now Glennon, who has not started a game since Week 9 of the 2014 season, has some competition.

Projecting Trubisky

In seven of the past 10 drafts, the first quarterback selected has gone on to start the opening game of the season, and eight of those 10 quarterbacks started at least 10 games in their inaugural season.

As I mentioned earlier, the Bears do not currently have a quarterback on their roster who started a game for them last season, and Trubisky will now have a chance to compete with Glennon for that job.

Glennon has appeared in just 21 games since entering the league in 2013, and in the two seasons in which he dropped back at least 100 times, he never finished with a positive Passing NEP per drop back.

Considering how much the Bears have now invested in Trubisky and how unproven Glennon is, the rookie will certainly have a chance to compete for the starting job.

Ironically, the quarterback who we compared Trubisky to earlier, Sanchez, is also now a teammate of his.

Comparing closely to a quarterback who threw at least 18 interceptions in three of his first four seasons is not something that Bears fans will want to hear about Trubisky, but expectations should be tempered for the former UNC star.