Former North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky has plenty of talent. That’s not something anyone really argues at this point. Heck, he’s been bandied about as the preeminent quarterbacking talent in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.
But one thing that does bother plenty of people is the fact he couldn’t beat out Marquise Williams in 2014 or 2015 before finally landing the job when Williams left school before the 2016 season. Trubisky started just 13 games as a member of the Tar Heels as a result.
The most troubling thing about this scenario is that Williams — no disrespect intended — wasn’t all that great. He became the full-time starter for the Tar Heels in 2013 after an injury to Bryn Renner. Then he held off Trubisky in 2014 and 2015 while completing a marginal percentage of his passes and throwing 45 touchdowns and 19 interceptions during those seasons.
After his college career, Williams went undrafted and never made it out of training camp after being signed as a free agent by the Green Bay Packers.
For this reason, many are concerned about Trubisky. If he couldn’t beat out Williams, then what was wrong with him? This is something that’s been “bugging” Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, whose team has a chance to land its quarterback of the future with the No. 13 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
“A really talented player,” Arians said Wednesday at the NFL Annual meeting (h/t Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). “The growth potential is obviously there. The question is why wasn’t all that talent starting for the last three years? That’s always bugging me. So you have to go and answer those questions with him, with his coach, but the physical talent is there.”
Trubisky has a huge arm and is, by all accounts, a very smart young kid. He’s athletic and moves well in the pocket, and best yet he showed some good accuracy in his only year starting for the Tar Heels (68 percent completion rate).
He was, however, rattled in the final game of the season — the Sun Bowl against Stanford. And he definitely could have used another year in school — a point that was argued by this scribe.
Throwing him to the wolves as a first-year NFL starter would be a catastrophic mistake. Perhaps if he does end up on a team with an established starter, like the Cardinals, he could develop into a very good pro. But Arians is certainly not the only person in the NFL community who wonders if there’s something else at play concerning Trubisky, a very talented player who couldn’t beat out an average player at the collegiate level.