Biggest Problem With Mitch Trubisky Might Be Overblown

NCAA Football: Sun Bowl-Stanford vs North Carolina
NCAA Football: Sun Bowl-Stanford vs North Carolina /

North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky is fast becoming one of the most polarizing quarterback prospects in the 2017 NFL draft class.

On the surface he looks like the real deal. A solidly built 6’3″ kid with mobility and a strong enough arm to make every throw in the playbook. His accuracy is good and he shows a level of pocket poise and elusiveness that pro teams look for in a starter. He really did come out of nowhere. By the time the season was over he had 3,768 passing yards with 30 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He also ran for 308 yards and five more touchdowns.

So why then are people so reluctant to get on board with him as a high 1st round pick? Much of it has to do with how he came to be. He’s only started one season at UNC. If he was so good, why did it take until his junior year for him to gain the starting job? Such trepidation is the norm when draft season gets going. Is it a valid concern though?

Experience is never a bad thing, but history shows that it’s not exactly a prerequisite to success in the NFL. In fact there have been a number of notable quarterbacks who ripped up the NFL despite not getting much of a chance to do the same in college. Here are just a couple examples.

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Matt Cassel

This might be the most incredible story. Cassel was a backup his entire college career at USC, playing behind Carson Palmer and then Matt Leinart. He didn’t start a single game. That didn’t stop the New England Patriots from spending a 7th round pick on him in 2005. Three years later he stepped to the forefront, leading them to an 11-5 record with 3,693 yards passing and 21 touchdowns. The Patriots used that success to trade him to Kansas City, where he went to the Pro Bowl in 2010. Not a bad run for somebody who basically had no college career.

Johnny Unitas

People are often shocked to learn that Johnny Unitas, one of the all-time greats, was a lowly ninth round pick in 1955. Part of the reason was he only threw 245 passes in college at Louisville. Constant injury problems and an issue with the athletics program losing funding contributed to his lack of overall success. The school never really tried to build around him, and so his exposure to pro scouts suffered. He had to take the hard road to glory in the NFL.

Kurt Warner

Perhaps the closest example to Trubisky is none other than former two-time MVP Kurt Warner. He only started one season in college at Northern Iowa. For whatever reason, he was a late bloomer who didn’t start clicking until then. When it did though he was quite prolific. Even so it wasn’t enough to get drafted. He spent time in the Arena League, then NFL Europe before joining the Rams as a free agent backup in 1998. The rest, as they say, is history.

If these men overcame similar adversities like college playing experience, there’s no reason to think Mitch Trubisky can’t.