By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — Ever since taking office at Halas Hall, Bears general manager Ryan Pace had sought to find a developmental quarterback.
Up until Thursday night, he never had moved for one. But with Mitchell Trubisky available, Pace couldn’t pass. He and the Bears went to great lengths to protect their secret, then traded four picks — No. 3 overall, a third-rounder (No. 67) and fourth-rounder (No. 111) in this draft and a 2018 third-rounder — to move up one slot and claim him.
The Bears believe Trubisky can be their franchise quarterback. Pace referred to the championship potential he sees in the one-year college starter, but he also made it quite clear who will be leading his Bears in 2017.
“Mike Glennon is our starting quarterback,” Pace said. “There’s no quarterback competition when Mitch gets here. Glennon is our starting quarterback. We’ll focus on Mitch’s development and Mike Glennon winning games for the Chicago Bears.”
Upon making the pick of Trubisky, Pace called Glennon and broke the news. Glennon had said he would be watching the draft, fully aware the team he signed with in March could be looking to draft a quarterback. The 27-year-old Glennon has been in this position before, when the Buccaneers took Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick in 2015. Now, his Bears took a quarterback with the second pick from his college rival, North Carolina.
Trubisky will learn under Glennon while developing to eventually replace him. The three-year, $45-million deal the Bears gave to Glennon seems like a minor blip compared to the $18.5 guaranteed. His exit from Chicago could come sooner than those three years, now with Trubisky as much of a threat to run Glennon out as his own self.
The Bears will be waiting on Trubisky’s development while they hope to win with Glennon in the meantime. What does Pace hope to see from Trubisky next season?
“Just continued development,” Pace replied. “We talked about the ability to play under center and get away from center; those are going to be things that are new for him. The ability to handle an NFL huddle and the verbiage of our offense; those’ll be some new things for him. But I know he’s intelligent and I know he’s got a strong ethic, and I think all those things’ll come.”
Pace listed several traits for why he preferred Trubisky over the other quarterbacks, including accuracy, field vision, athleticism and mobility. He feels it all translates well to the NFL.
Circumstances at the quarterback position tend to play themselves out. The Bears would love to encounter that perfect problem of two quality quarterbacks on their roster. Pace would be thrilled to see Glennon play like he envisions and for Trubisky to be hot on his heels. But there’s no timetable on when it’s Trubisky’s time.
With Glennon leading, the Bears feel they have a chance to compete in 2017. By adding Trubisky, they feel confident in contending well beyond this next season.
“The most important position in all of sports is quarterback,” Pace said, “and I don’t think you’re ever a great team until you address the position and you address it right.”