The Bears once promising 2020 season has gone astray more than anything else because of poor play at the quarterback position, a deficiency they have been trying to correct for longer than the lifetimes of the majority of you reading this column.
And because general manager Ryan Pace made a bold move to plug that hole once and for all by drafting Mitch Trubisky, a move that has failed to bare fruit to date, many of you feel Pace should be fired.
Perhaps you are right, but before you cast your final vote there are a few facts you may want to consider, real facts.
Going into that 2017 draft the odds on Pace succeeding with that pick were at best 32-to-3.
Over the course of 11 drafts from 2009 through 2019 – it is just too early to comment on this year’s, although Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert do look very promising – 21 teams have drafted 32 quarterbacks in the first round. Here is the list:
2009: 1. Matthew Stafford, 5. Mark Sanchez, 17. Josh Freeman
2010: 1. Sam Bradford, 25. Tim Tebow.
2011: 1. Cam Newton, 8. Jake Locker, 10. Blaine Gabbert, 12. Christian Ponder.
2012: 1. Andrew Luck, 2. Robert Griffin III, 8. Ryan Tannehill, 22. Brandon Weeden.
2013: 16. E.J. Manuel.
2014: 3. Blake Bortles, 22. Johnny Manziel.
2015: 1. Jameis Winston, 2. Marcus Mariota.
2016: 1. Jared Goff, 2. Carson Wentz, 26. Paxton Lynch.
2017: 2. Mitch Trubisky, 10. Patrick Mahomes, 12. Deshaun Watson.
2018: 1. Baker Mayfield, 3. Sam Darnold, 7. Josh Allen, 10. Josh Rosen, 32. Lamar Jackson.
2019: 1. Kyler Murray, 6. Daniel Jones, 15. Dwayne Haskins.
From this group exactly three – Stafford, Luck and Mahomes – have established themselves as franchise quarterbacks unless you’re ready to anoint Josh Allen and/or Lamar Jackson, which I am not yet, and only Mahomes has won a Super Bowl.
Of the teams that won the Super Bowls from 2009 through 2019 – New England (three times), Green Bay, N.Y. Giants, Baltimore, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia and Kansas City – only the Packers, Giants, Ravens and Chiefs did it with QBs they drafted in the first round.
Twelve of the 14 QB’s drafted in the first round since 2016 are still with the team that drafted them because they’re on their rookie contracts but only nine are still starting. Of the 18 first rounders taken between 2009 and 2015, Stafford is the only one still with the team that drafted him.
Of the 14 taken with top five picks, only six – Stafford, Newton, Goff, Wentz, Mayfield and Murray – are still starting, and only Stafford and Murray are on truly solid ground right now.
First-round quarterbacks failing in the NFL is the rule, not the exception.
Now, I know what many of you Bears fans are upset about and why even in spite of this you want Pace ridden out of town on a rail.
Even if all of this is true, which it clearly is, he left the only home run in the bunch, Mahomes on the board when he wasted extra picks to move up a spot for Trubisky.
Your ire over the trade is justified. It was unnecessary and wasteful, but is that alone a fireable offense?
Immediately prior to and following that 2017 draft, before anyone had stepped back on the field, Pro Football Weekly informally surveyed all 32 teams and only two teams other than the Chiefs rated Mahomes ahead of Trubisky.
Hindsight is great, but in exactly what field does it benefit you?
Now, to be fair 15 teams and yours truly rated Watson ahead of Trubisky so let’s be clear, this is not intended as a defense of Pace’s decision.
While I like Pace personally there is more than enough in his overall body of work to question his chances of eventually succeeding.
I do believe he should get at least one more season because of the unprecedented challenges facing anyone trying to succeed in any endeavor over the last 10 months, but a case certainly can be made for his firing.
The point of this piece is if you are surprised or disappointed by the apparent failure of the Trubisky pick – that fat lady ain't singing yet over Trubisky’s NFL career – then that’s shame on you.
The facts have been right here for us all along.