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Trubisky Has the Promise, Lacks the Mileage

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SiriusXM At The 2017 NFL Draft Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM

By now, fans have learned that Mitchell Trubisky has kept his word and has driven his grandmother’s old car all the way to Halas Hall. It’s perhaps fitting that a car with 170,000 miles on it is a symbol of a quarterback with so little experience.

Whether Bears fans like it or not, the franchise has now invested heavily in the future of this young man. I have gone on record as saying that I think he was the best quarterback prospect of this class, but I have also said that I would have preferred for the Bears to wait until Round 2 to get their next passer, even if that meant settling for a relatively lesser talent. Clearly, Ryan Pace disagreed.

One way or another, #10 is a bit of a raw prospect, but I was curious as to how raw he really was compared to other highly drafted quarterbacks. The answer is dramatic enough that I wanted to express the results in the form of a few charts charts. Here is how Trubisky compares to the top-drafted quarterbacks in the last few years in total pass attempts (the final bar refers to the average of all other first-round quarterbacks drafted since 2013, including the three from 2017).

With 572 attempts, Trubisky is considerably behind the other top passers drafted over the last five years. In fact, his total is barely more than half of the 1068 pass attempts averaged by the other eleven first-round quarterbacks. I am sort of reassured by the fact that the clear leader (Goff) suggests that the correlation between total pass attempts and success is tenuous, at best. Still, that’s not a lot of mileage.

Here’s another way at looking at this—assuming Trubisky’s car is the V6 model, it has a combined fuel economy of around 23mpg. That means that with its 18.5-gallon tank, it has needed around 399 tanks of gas so far. That’s more 13 connections with a fuel pump than Mitchell’s 386 college completions. Obviously, the math changes if he has the 4-cylinder.

Next, I wanted to look at passing yards. This time, I pulled the college passing yard totals for every first-round quarterback across the last five years.

Trubisky has actually thrown for just over 2.7 miles gained, which is also known as less than 1 mile for every 62,830 miles on his old car.

Finally, I wanted to look at touchdown passes. On a pure “rate” level, Trubisky produced in the touchdown department. His numbers look slightly less impressive in terms of total touchdowns compared to his peer group, however.

Assuming the car he drives has gotten its oil changed every 3,000 miles (and there is little to no reason to assume that), then the car has enjoyed 56 oil changes, or 15 more oil changes than Trubisky has college touchdown passes.

None of this is intended to say Trubisky is going to fail. When I look at the available video of him playing, I have no trouble imagining him as a solid, dependable passer for the franchise. The problem, as so many have said, is just that there is so little of the film to consider.

Trubisky’s car was clearly a worthwhile investment. I don’t know what else the family was considering getting at the time, but it has obviously repaid the family’s confidence. Let’s hope the same car is still on the road by the time Pace’s investment pays off.