With the rising stock of Patrick Mahomes over the first two games of the 2018 National Football League season, the football pundits have been taking notice of the draft class he was in. Three quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft: Mitchell Trubisky, Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Watson took the league by storm in his injury-shortened rookie season, throwing 19 touchdowns in six games started, while rushing for another two. However, Mahomes has thrown ten touchdowns in his first two starts, an NFL record. While those two quarterbacks have seen success, Trubisky, whom the Chicago Bears took with the 2nd overall pick, hasn’t achieved the same results.
Throughout 14 career starts, Trubisky has thrown nine touchdowns and rushed for three more. That has led some NFL fans to immediately proclaim that the Chicago Bears made a mistake in selecting the former North Carolina quarterback. However, that “analysis” is flat-out wrong.
First of all, Trubisky hasn’t had the offensive weapons that either Mahomes or Watson currently possess. To start his career, Watson has had the luxury of throwing to DeAndre Hopkins, who had 13 touchdowns last season and is arguably the second-best receiver in the entire NFL, and Will Fuller, who, despite playing in only 10 games, reeled in seven touchdowns.
Mahomes, on the other hand, has better offensive weapons than those two. The Kansas City Chiefs have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, both of whom reached the 1,000 yard mark and had 15 touchdowns combined. They also have Kareem Hunt, who as a rookie, led the NFL in rushing yards, and chipped in over 450 receiving yards to go along with three touchdowns.
In addition to that the Chiefs signed Sammy Watkins, a former 1st-round draft pick to help their offense. After being drafted, Watkins came 18 yards away from having a 1,000 yard season, only to surpass that total the following season. He’s established himself as the third option behind Hill and Kelce.
In other words, the Chiefs have offensive weapons galore. That’s two of the three quarterbacks that were drafted in the first round. But what about Trubisky? He’s had the toughest time of the three, throwing for the least amount of touchdowns. As a result, some fans of the game have already called Trubisky a bust, or claimed the Bears were too high on him. However, it’s not his fault entirely.
Last season, the Bears were incredibly thin at wide receiver, and that’s being generous. Their leading receiver was Kendall Wright, who pulled in slightly over 600 yards. The unit as a whole only had three touchdowns all year. Kevin White, the Bears 1st-round pick in 2015, missed 15 games as he continues to be injury-plagued and looking more and more like a bust. Markus Wheaton, someone the Bears brought in to try and help their receivers, pulled in a whopping three receptions in 11 games.
Their tight end situation worsened as Zach Miller suffered a gruesome injury, which is putting it lightly, against the New Orleans Saints. He’s recovering, but it’s still a long shot on if he is going to play football again. Adam Shaeen, whom the Bears took with their second round pick, wasn’t ready for an every day role. That left the Bears with next-to-nothing in terms of receiving.
In other words, the Bears just didn’t have anyone reliable to throw to. That’s not great for a rookie quarterback. Chicago went out and upgraded their wide receiver and tight end core with the additions of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel. However, they’re all learning the system, which is something that they need time to learn.
Speaking of needing time to develop, Trubisky came out of college having a grand total of 13 starts. Watson played three seasons in college, starting the last two and throwing for 90 touchdowns and over 10,000 yards. He played in 38 games, far above the number that Trubisky had. Mahomes also played three years in college, starting his last two seasons and playing in 32 games total, while throwing for 93 touchdowns and over 11,000 yards.
In other words, they have received much more experience than Trubisky. In Mahomes’ case, he has been with the system that current Bears head coach, and former Chiefs offensive coordinator, Matt Nagy has instituted for over a year now. Mahomes was learning under Alex Smith and Andy Reid, and that has been nothing but beneficial for the young quarterback.
Trubisky basically was thrust into starting action when Mike Glennon was proven to be ineffective. He had very little time to learn a system under John Fox, and the receivers were so ineffective, the Bears could only rush the ball with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. They were so offensively inept, it was expected for Trubisky to fail.
So for those people saying that the Bears screwed up in drafting Trubisky, and the Chiefs hit a home run in selecting Mahomes, slow down a second. Mahomes has started two games, and Trubisky has started 14. Aaron Rodgers went 6-10 in his first season as an NFL starter before winning the Super Bowl in his second season. That’s not to say that Trubisky or Mahomes will win the Super Bowl, but it’s not fair to judge a player based on their first season or two. They need time to develop. The only way to tell who won the draft will be several years down the line.