Mitch Trubisky is reportedly in play for the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. On top of that, head coach Hue Jackson is apparently in love with the kid. While that’s great and all, drafting the North Carolina signal-caller with the first pick in the draft would be the most “Cleveland Browns” move ever.
Trubisky may very well be the best quarterback in this year’s draft, but that’s not saying much. It is an incredibly weak class at the position. Todd McShay and Scouts Inc. have Trubisky as their top signal-caller but his grade is just an 87. For the sake of comparison, last year Jared Goff and Carson Wentz both received grades of 91, while Paxton Lynch was an 85. Jameis Winston (97) and Marcus Mariota (93) far outpaced Trubisky, and Blake Bortles (91), Johnny Manziel (90) and Teddy Bridgewater (89) were also rated higher.
Now look, I know Scouts Inc. and McShay aren’t the end-all, be-all of prospect grades, but they are right more often than not. This year’s grades scream “don’t draft a quarterback early.” Besides, when you review the film, Trubisky’s flaws are easily apparent.
While he’s excellent at moving in the pocket and avoiding rushers, Trubisky isn’t what you’d call “mobile.” He’s not going to tuck the ball and run for yards in the NFL consistently like he could do in college. While he has a solid arm, his mechanics are a mess. Trubisky rarely gets his lower-half involved in his throws, tends to stay on his back foot while throwing deep and is essentially all arm in his motion. That leads to a lot of overthrown balls and a lack of rpms and velocity when going outside the numbers. Yes, all of those flaws can be fixed with time, but if you’re taking a guy with the top pick in the draft, you’re expecting him to take over and play now.
At North Carolina, the 22-year-old started just 13 games and played in a shotgun-heavy offense. Both of those factors will make his transition to the NFL more difficult. Mark Sanchez started just 16 games at USC and wound up having a terrible time adjusting to the NFL despite his physical tools. That simply wasn’t enough experience.
Trubisky measured in at 6’2″ 1/8 at the combine on Thursday. That’s significant because and only three quarterbacks shorter than 6’3″ have been selected in the top 10 over the past 20 years. Height isn’t everything but it certainly helps when playing under center in the NFL.
The Browns have the top pick in this year’s draft and Hue Jackson wants to find his long-term quarterback. I get it. But hanging the fate of the franchise on Trubisky would be foolish.
Cleveland should either trade down and stockpile assets or take an immediate-impact guy like Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett or Alabama’s jonathan allen. Maybe the Browns could look to land a quarterback at No. 12, but I’m not sure anyone in this draft is even worthy of that spot.