Redskins Draft Preview: North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky

The NFL draft begins on April 27th in Philadelphia and the Redskins have the No. 17 selection in the first round. This is the 13th in a series of stories analyzing 15 players who could be a good fit for Washington at that position.

Mitchell Trubisky

Quarterback

6-foot-2

222 pounds

North Carolina

In a quarterback class where no player has a consensus high first-round grade, you choose one at your own risk. There is no Carson Wentz or Andrew Luck available. Instead, Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer, among others, will probably be taken higher than their talent demands and see the field quicker than is ideal.

Trubisky only started 13 college games at North Carolina, but he’s probably the best of the bunch – all due respect to Watson’s accolades. It’s not that they won’t be good players. They’ll just need time to adjust to the pro game in a way that even Wentz or Dak Prescott did not with the Eagles and Cowboys last season. Trubisky has talent and is an intriguing prospect. But how long can a team wait for him to put it all together?

How he fits: The Redskins need a young quarterback. To take one at No. 17 would be aggressive. It would certainly mean the team understands starter Kirk Cousins is on his way out the door. He is under contract on the franchise tag for next year, but not beyond. That might make an awkward fit inside the building. But you can make the argument Washington might as well plan for a post-Cousins future now.

Colt McCoy is a bridge quarterback who could buy Trubisky a year or two. Nate Sudfeld, a sixth-round pick last season, has not shown yet that he can be a future starter, but will get a chance at training camp this summer. Trubisky has a big arm, is a much better athlete than you think and did throw over 500 passes in his one full college season. That’s not a huge sample size, but there was a lot to like.

He has the best pocket presence of any quarterback in the draft, an accurate arm and showed moxie late in games when the Tar Heels needed a scoring drive. Had an uncanny knack for putting mistakes behind him quickly. Also showed an ability to make his progressions smoother than other top prospects.

Questions: Those 13 starts are terrifying for general managers. It’s just not a lot to go on. Cam Newtons are a rare commodity and even he had plenty of junior college experience. Trubisky had two bad picks in the bowl game against Stanford and tended to force throws he shouldn’t have. Primarily threw out of the shotgun and struggled at times with the deep ball.

Trubisky’s take: “I can run a little bit and I could escape pressure. Most people think I’ll just sit in the pocket the whole time, but I can create some plays with my feet. I’m obviously a throw-first guy, but I think that’s one of my assets that teams really like and when you watch the film you’ll be able to see that.”

What they’re saying:

Todd McShay, ESPN analyst

“The positives are all there. Seeing the entire field is the one thing that he has to improve upon and then the 13 starts is just scary. There’s not a lot to go on in terms of guys who have had sustained success in the NFL with so few starts and such limited game experience. It’s going to be interesting to see how he’s utilized and if the team that drafts him is able to sit him for a year. Even though everyone says they’re going to, very few teams are able to do it when they spend a first-round pick on a quarterback.”

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network

“I’m all for taking a quarterback if you think he’s the 12th best player and you end up taking him at six, I can get on board with that. But, man, taking a guy who is kind of a borderline late one, early two, vaulting him all the way up into the top 10 in this year’s draft, I don’t think it’s smart business.”

Mike Mayock, NFL Network

“I look at the Bowl game and think it’s a perfect example. It’s a microcosm of what I’m talking about. He made two or three throws in that Bowl game against Stanford that were big-time NFL throws under pressure. Loved them. However, in the same half, in the second half of that game, he threw a pick six that was an awful read and an awful throw. I just don’t think he’s ready yet. I think he’s talented and I think he’s a starting NFL quarterback, but I had about the same grade on him that I had on [Patriots backup Jimmy] Garoppolo.”

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