Mitchell Trubisky Is the Perfect Late-Round Quarterback - Footballguys

A detailed look at Mitchell Trubisky's fantasy prospects for 2018.

REASONS TO TAKE MITCHELL TRUBISKY AS YOUR LATE-ROUND QB

  1. Matt Nagy will implement a system that plays to the strengths of Trubisky.

  2. Trubisky performed well in spite of poor circumstances last year and can do more now that the conditions are improved.

  3. The team prioritized bringing in offensive weapons to help Trubisky.

SUMMARY

Trubisky could be this year’s Jared Goff -- a quarterback barely drafted in redraft formats after a forgettable rookie year, but who will benefit from a revamped team around him. At his current average draft position, there is virtually no risk if Trubisky fails to live up to these expectations. If he does hit, however, it will have gone a long way in helping free up drafters to devote their early and mid-round picks to other positions.


MITCH AND THE SWITCH

To say that John Fox’s coaching held the Bears back is an understatement. The team finished below .500 in win percentage in all three seasons he was Chicago’s head coach. They were among the bottom half of the league in total offense two of those three years. The offense was too predictable, players that could have been used to spice up the game plan -- namely Tarik Cohen -- were underutilized. The Bears fired Fox and sought to bring in a coach known for innovation and flexibility; which is why Matt Nagy, one of Andy Reid's top assistants in Kansas City, got the job.

NAGY and HElFRICH WILL NURTURE TRUBISKY

It seems all of Andy Reid's coaching proteges seek to establish offenses built around the quarterback. A former quarterback himself, Nagy understands the difficulty of playing the position. He will identify what his quarterback does well and tailor the offense around it. Nagy has said that Chicago’s offense will be similar to Kansas City’s. In college, Trubisky operated well out of a spread-based offense, threw accurately on the run, and created plays with his scrambling ability. These are exactly the types of skills that Kansas City’s offense began to use extensively last year, when Nagy was building offensive game plans for Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes (in Week 17). The Chiefs were tied for the highest percentage of run-pass options plays last year. The Bears also hired Mark Helfrich to be the Offensive Coordinator. Helfrich was the Head Coach for the Oregon Ducks, a spread-based attack that emphasized the concepts that Trubisky will embrace. With increased comfort with the system, it stands to reason that Mitchell Trubisky should see a dramatic increase in efficiency.

TRUBISKY WAS TRIUMPHANT

Trubisky's composure when thrown into a bad situation last season offers hope for a better outcome with an improved environment. He took good care of the football; his interception rate (2.1%) was the lowest of any rookie quarterback of his class who threw over 200 attempts. Though not asked to throw much in his first three starts, he was increasingly trusted to pass in his last nine starts, putting up 30 attempts in eight of those games. When watching the film, it is evident that Trubisky did not get rattled easily. He visibly improved from week to week, despite being asked to play primarily from the pocket. The fact that the Bears opted to keep quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone from the old staff speaks to the fact that they believe Trubisky showed development last season and is on the path to continued growth.

WEAPONS ACQUIRED

The new coaching staff is not the only thing Chicago gained this offseason. They were one of the more active teams in free agency, bringing in Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, and Taylor Gabriel. Robinson will be the No. 1 option. Burton will be used similarly to how he was used with the Eagles -- a mismatch in the seam -- only this time he'll get a starters' snap count. When he was paired with Zach Ertz last season in certain sets, it created coverage strain on defenses. The Bears will use Burton and Adam Shaheen to create similar opportunities for their offense. Gabriel provides a deep speed element that the Bears haven’t had in many years. Defenses will have to account for this, which will leave the short and intermediate areas of the field open for other pass catchers. Though not a new addition to the team, the way Tarik Cohen will be used will be novel. The Nagy offense will feature seam routes for the pass-catching running back. Defenses will get spread out, creating space in the middle of the field for Cohen to catch a pass and run in space. It would be daft to expect much of unrefined Anthony Miller in year one, but if the Bears get any production out of him, that's icing on the cake for Mitchell Trubisky. Having more options and less predictability can only be a boon for his prospects.

IS TRUBISKY IN TROUBLE?

Trubisky's detractors are worried about his limited experience, both in college and in the NFL. He has started 25 games between the two and his coaching staff has acknowledged that practice repetitions will be of the utmost importance for the young signal caller. There are also concerns that with so many new pieces, it will take more than one offseason fto gel. While chemistry is important, the players that have been added play their respective roles well already, and a single offseason is not an unreasonable amount of time for the installation of this offensive system. Many college programs are able to install these spread principles in a single summer with their recruits. As most of these players already have familiarity with these concepts, it should make for a relatively painless transition.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Moving to a more modern offense, having better pass catchers available, and building on the adversity of last year are all reasons for hope. Trubisky is the perfect high-upside backup or late-round quarterback that will give you the flexibility to draft other skill position players early.

2018 PROJECTIONS

Projector
Games
Comp
Yards
Y/Att
TDs
INTs
Rush
Yards
TDs
FumLost
FanPts
David Dodds
15.6
301
3,355
6.71
20.2
14.3
56
277
2.0
3.9
273.95
Bob Henry
16.0
311
3,470
6.87
20.0
15
54
270
2.0
2.0
283.50
Jason Wood
16.0
326
3,655
6.96
21.0
15
50
190
2.0
4.0
282.75
Maurile Tremblay
16.0
280
3,078
6.65
16.4
13.6
48
254
1.7
1.0
241.50

THOUGHTS FROM THE FOOTBALLGUYS MESSAGE BOARD

TheDirtyWord thinks Trubisky should be on the waiver wire watch list:

"Trubisky was what most thought he’d be in 2017-- an incredibly raw QB prospect that was hampered by a coaching situation that did him no favors. While the Trubisky/Goff comparisons have some degree of alignment, if you’re going to do that comparison, then you also have to figure that Goff was available on most waiver wires in October.”

travdogg says:

"...it’s very possible we are still a year away from a true blow up for Trubisky. Matt Nagy is a bit of an unknown, in the sense that it’s hard to know how much input he had in Kansas City. Andy Reid has always had a big hand in the offense and usually called his own plays.”

Hawkeye21 believes improvement is likely:

“It’s very possible he could have a good season similar to Goff last year. Lots of questions, but lots of potential. He was very limited last year with the coaching staff they had, but he did show some skills. He had very little talent to throw to last year, but seems to have plenty of weapons around him this year.”

OTHER VIEWPOINTS

Mike Clay of ESPN sees a sleeper in Trubisky:

“...Chicago doesn't face Minnesota's Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes-led secondary a second time until Week 17. Additionally, Trubisky will benefit from a season-opening slate that includes Green Bay, Seattle, Arizona, Tampa Bay and Miami. His sleeper appeal continues to rise.”

CBS Sports has a favorable outlook for Trubisky:

Mitchell Trubisky's coaching staff got refreshed, his offensive line should be healthy and the quality of receivers at his disposal is undeniably better. That's why it's best to take Trubisky's 59.4 percent completion rate and 6.6 yards per pass attempt from 2017 and punt it deep into Lake Michigan. It doesn't guarantee a big 2018 for Fantasy purposes, but you should assume he'll fare better with Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel and rookie Anthony Miller among his new targets. He'll especially be helped along by former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as his new head coach and playcaller. A lot of Fantasy folks will target a second quarterback with one of their final draft picks -- Trubisky is worth taking a chance on at that point, but not before the likes of Marcus Mariota or Derek Carr.”

Bill Zimmerman of FanSided has more tempered expectations for Mitch Trubisky:

“In your standard 12-team league, Trubisky is still not going to be counted on to be a fantasy starter, but Trubisky should be counted on to be a solid fantasy QB2 this season. A second-year QB is still going to throw too many interceptions and because the offense is growing, the touchdowns will increase substantially, but not make a significant impact on your fantasy stat line. But the one thing that Trubisky will also bring to the table is his ability to run. The fact that Trubisky can also give you probably 30 yards on the ground each game and a few scores, will catapult Mitch into solid QB2 category this season.”