Bears GM Ryan Pace offered two reasons for the team’s head-scratching move to trade up in order to select Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday night: 1) the quarterback’s upside was too great to pass up, and 2) Chicago believed other teams were talking with the 49ers about trading up for the North Carolina product.
While the Bears’ decision to trade four picks to San Francisco in exchange for the No. 2 overall pick, which they used on Trubisky, was not a popular one, Pace explained ( via the Chicago Tribune ), “If we want to be great, you just can’t sit on your hands. There are times when you’ve got to be aggressive. And when you have conviction on a guy, you can’t sit on your hands. I just don’t want to be average around here. I want to be great and these are the moves you have to make.”
To Pace’s point, the Bears have not had a winning season since 2012 and last made the playoffs in 2010. Pace took over as GM in 2015.
Even Trubisky was surprised when his name was called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell – “I didn’t see that coming at all,” he said. He said he had not heard from the Bears since he worked out for them in March in Chapel Hill. The team didn’t even call him Thursday before drafting him.
But Pace said that he, coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, QB coach Dave Ragone and director of player personnel Josh Lucas got to know Trubisky over a long dinner before the March workout.
Pace wasn’t sure Trubisky would be available at No. 3, where the Bears were slated to pick before trading up. The Bears were concerned a team in need of a quarterback was going to trade up to No. 2, since Chicago had taken calls from such teams interested in the No. 3 pick.
“We have a lot of feelers out there and you’re kind of feeling the situation out,” Pace said, per the Tribune. “And I didn’t want to sit on our hands and have some team jump us or have it not work out. When we were this close, within reach of a player that we all really valued, I didn’t want to sit on our hands and risk not getting that player.”
So while Bears fans aren’t overflowing with confidence ahead of the 2017 season, Pace is excited about his new signal-caller.
“With all these top quarterbacks, it’s just their ability to quickly process defenses, process coverage, find open targets, not panic under pressure, deliver accurate throws when there’s a noisy pocket and things are collapsing,” Pace said. “… And Mitch has those traits.”