Mitchell Trubisky might be the first quarterback off the board in Thursday’s NFL Draft, and NFL Network analyst Charles Davis understands why. Trubisky has a lot of talent and a lot of tools – tools that project well at the next level.
There’s just one problem.
“Thirteen starts scares the hell out of you,” Davis said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “ That’s just the way it is. But there’s a great makeup to this kid. He’s another kid (who) I think is underrated as an athlete. I watched four or five of his games and he made plenty of plays with his legs. He was part of their running game. Not a huge part, but could be part of the North Carolina running game. I thought he was very accurate when he settled in and threw the football. Yeah, he struggled with Stanford, but Solomon Thomas will make you struggle. They didn’t block him the whole game.”
Trubisky went 23-of-38 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the final game of his college career, a 25-23 loss to Stanford in the Sun Bowl. Even with that so-so showing, Trubisky completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 3,748 yards, 30 touchdowns and six picks on the season.
“I think he’s a good prospect,” Davis said, “but again, 13 starts would scare me. The last time we had a guy like that was really Mark Sanchez. Think about it. It’s just not enough time in college. A lot of people get on him and say, ‘Well how come he couldn’t beat out Marquise Williams, who never even got a sniff at the NFL? Well, in college football, coaches fall in love with guys who are winning games for them, and don’t often make moves. Marquise Williams, in his last year at North Carolina, they played for an ACC Championship. So coaches don’t really make moves that way.”
Overall, Davis’ top three quarterbacks, in order, are Deshaun Watson, Trubisky, and Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 5,000+ yards and 40+ touchdowns in Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense last season.
“Mahomes breaks molds,” Davis said. “Coming from the offense he played in and what he’s been asked to do over his college career, there haven’t been very many that have been super successful in the NFL. So you’re asking a whole with him. I like the kid. I’ve had a chance to spend time with him. I like his makeup. It’s not just the arm. He has presence about him. He gets out of trouble better than what people might expect. He’s a little better athlete that way.”
Watson, meanwhile, is just a winner. In Clemson’s six biggest games over the last two seasons, Watson went 5-1, leading the Tigers to ACC Championship wins over North Carolina and Virginia Tech, College Football Playoff wins over Oklahoma and Ohio State, and a national-title win over Alabama.
“That’s why I have him No. 1,” Davis said.
While quarterbacks dominate much of the pre-draft chatter, the running back crop is as good as any we’ve seen in recent years. Davis believes that Leonard Fournette is the best back in the draft but that McCaffrey is the most complete back, not to mention the best route-runner of any tailback, wide receiver, or tight end prospect. And then there’s Dalvin Cook.
“There are so many running backs in this draft that you can get big-time players later in the draft,” Davis said. “I’ve been talking about a running back renaissance for a long time. It’s here. It is truly here. And if you want to run the ball in the NFL, you’ve got no shortage of guys to get. (Joe) Mixon, if he didn’t have the off-the-field (issues), could be the top running back in this draft. He’s got the size-combo play that you’re looking for. Size, speed, catch the ball – he can do everything and he’s bigger than McCaffrey, bigger than Dalvin Cook. So if he doesn’t have the off-field (issues), he’s probably rated ahead of those guys and likely ahead of Leonard Fournette. So this is a very, very deep running back draft.”