Just looking at it, you’d think the Bears had to work hard to land Mitchell Trubisky.
Chicago entered Thursday’s NFL draft first round with the No. 3 pick, one slot behind the 49ers. The Bears traded up, sending the Niners their third-round (No. 67 overall) and fourth-round picks (No. 111) this year, plus a 2018 third-rounder.
That’s a ton of value for a one-slot bump, but the Bears wanted their man.
“If we want to be great, you just can’t sit on your hands,” Chicago general manager Ryan Pace said. “There’s times when you’ve got to be aggressive, and when you have conviction on a guy.”
John Lynch, the 49ers’ first-year GM, said other teams were “interested” in getting the 49ers’ pick. That is surely true, because it was the second overall pick.
But the Bears actually might have been able to sit tight.
Here’s an exchange between a few well-connected people:
Trying to track down the teams that might have competed with Bears for the second pick and have not found one--Jets never called 49ers— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) April 28, 2017
Yahoo’s Charles Robinson says the Bills, who had the No. 10 pick before trading it away, were interested in Trubisky. But Robinson insists no team was willing to give into San Francisco’s demands, other than the one that did.
The Bears were scared that another team would pay, SB Nation’s Thomas George reported from Philadelphia.
Trubisky said he had no hint that the Chicago Bears adored him and were willing to pay such a hefty price. The Bears only moved up one spot from No. 3 to No. 2 in the trade with the San Francisco 49ers, but they gave the 49ers high picks from this draft and the next one. The Bears feared another team was willing to do the same.
Ian and I just talked. I am confident no one would have taken Trubisky at 2. Browns did not try to trade up to 2 with niners on clock... https://t.co/OFR2XKXHtK— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) April 28, 2017
The move caught Trubisky by surprise, along with his new coach.
We can’t know every interaction between NFL front offices. But there’s nothing approaching a concrete indication that anyone else was going to give Lynch what he wanted for the second overall pick.
We don’t know how this will work out, but it’s a real risk for the Bears.
The trade smells like a win for San Francisco, no matter what happens next. They either didn’t want Trubisky or didn’t want him badly enough to bother keeping their pick and spending it on him.
They drafted Stanford lineman Solomon Thomas with the very next pick, following weeks of mock drafting and reporting that suggested they might take Thomas at No. 2.
For this to be a good idea for Chicago, Trubisky has to be a good, starting NFL quarterback. Maybe he will be, but if he’s not, this could sting for years.