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Chicago stuns fans in Philly

Campbell Atkins

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The Chicago Bears stole the attention of the sporting world and the spotlight of the entire offseason at the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Chicago traded three draft picks of the present and future to move up just one spot at second overall to select quarterback Mitchell Trubisky of the University of North Carolina.

The move came as a headscratcher to football fans everywhere, to say the least. The team gave 27-year-old Mike Glennon $45 million earlier in the offseason to become the starter, which he presumably still will be. They also brought in backup Mark Sanchez for depth. Now, the Bears seem to be stacking their roster with quarterbacks while banking on a successful stint out of Trubisky eventually.

On top of that, was Trubisky worth it? He started just one season as a Tar Heel. He will be entering the NFL with 13 collegiate starts under his belt and none of the experience he needs. He will have to sit out at least another year as the Bears see what they have in Glennon. Regardless of when Chicago sees Trubisky taking over as the starter, they will be paying Glennon a guaranteed amount of $18.5 million.

It’s a move that will be hotly debated until we know how it works out. General Manager Ryan Pace threw all of his chips on the table and will now patiently await the future of his career.

In my mind, the best-case scenario involves Glennon being dubbed the starter by head coach John Fox as soon as training camp opens. He will play solid football in a healthy system as the defense rises. Chicago gets their moneys worth for Glennon as Trubisky has time to grow through preseason action and spot starts.

The worst-case scenario sees Trubisky taking over for Glennon early in his career due to injury or poor play. Not only will Chicago lose all the money they spent on Glennon, but it is also important for the new QB to see NFL action. I believe Trubisky has a lot to learn before he can consistently win on Sundays.

Either way, Pace believes that Trubisky is the future, and he gambled his job on it. Everyone will take a stance on it now, but we really cannot label the move until we know the outcome.

What we can criticize is the rest of the draft. Pace was able to trade down in the second round on Friday and collect some draft picks back from the night before. But instead of looking for defensive help or a new offensive lineman halfway through the new round, Pace decided to take another chance on a big question mark. Chicago selected tight end Adam Shaheen from Ashland University (I’ve never heard of it either).

Granted, Shaheen possesses tremendous size. His 6’6” build and 280-pound frame makes him bigger than Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. But Shaheen has faced the bottom tier of collegiate opponents and his risk at least matches the reward. I believe he would’ve been a tremendous pick for a more established team, but not the Bears. I hope he goes on to have a great career in orange, but there were bigger needs in Chicago.

The Bears had two fourthround selections and took Eddie Jackson, a safety from Alabama, and Tarik Cohen, a running back from North Carolina A&T. They took guard Jordan Morgan from Kutztown University with their final pick in the fifth round. Their selections in the sixth and seventh rounds were shipped off to salvage some picks in this year’s fourth round as well as next year’s.

While Chicago certainly made a splash over the weekend, it seems as if they haven’t gained any for-sure, immediate starters in this year’s draft. The entire success of the weekend will ultimately come down to Trubisky. If things don’t work out, this could be remembered as this decade’s Jay Cutler trade, when the team mortgaged much of the future for one man.

Things didn’t cool down for the remainder of the first round. The Tennessee Titans used the fifth overall pick to select Wheaton, Illinois native and graduate of Wheaton Warrenville South High School Corey Davis. The wide receiver posted record-breaking numbers at Western Michigan and will join a productive offense led by Marcus Mariota.

Still, the consistent theme of the night was the quarterback position. The Kansas City Chiefs traded all the way up to number 10 to select Patrick Mahomes II out of Texas Tech. This meant that Clemson’s Deshaun Watson was the third quarterback off the board to the Houston Texans. Coming into the draft, many believed he would be the first to go from the group, but Trubisky took that honor with him to Chicago.

While Watson’s ego certainly took a hit, it worked out better for him in the end. He has a chance to become an immediate starter on a team that has the pieces on both sides of the ball. Even with the disaster that was Brock Osweiler in 2016, Houston boasts good pieces on offense and a stout defense. Watson is still poised for the most immediate success of this year’s rookie quarterback class.

On the flip side of the Bears trade was the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners received three picks from Chicago to move down just one spot and took defensive end Solomon Thomas from Stanford third overall. They were also able to use their abundance of picks to move back into the later part of round one and took Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. The Niners used a fourth-round pick on Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard. While the team has gained two immediate starters on defense, they still need to build better options at quarterback.

The Cleveland Browns also gained two defensive players in round one. With the first overall pick, Cleveland took Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. Garrett is the closest thing you can find to a slam-dunk in the draft and will have a prosperous career wherever he ends up. With pick 25, the Browns selected safety Jabrill Peppers from Michigan. Peppers has a lot of versatility and upside in any defense. If Cleveland can figure out their quarterback situation, they may have an effective defense to go with it.

Overall, 253 dreams came true in Philadelphia this weekend. The historic backdrop offered a tremendous setting for the event and the weather justified their decision to hold it outside. The Denver Broncos selected Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly as “Mr. Irrelevant,” the nickname traditionally handed to the last pick of the draft. Washington selected Wyoming center Chase Roullier at pick 199, the same sixth-round slot made famous by Tom Brady, the greatest draft steal of all-time.

Every year, the draft offers a stage for the players we expect to be great and the players we don’t. Only time will tell which organizations rose to championship status this weekend and who will remain to fall.

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Chicago stuns fans in Philly