Bears selection of Trubisky at No. 2 a surprise … even to Trubisky

The Bears sent a third and fourth round pick this year and their third rounder in 2018 to move up one spot to No. 2 to get the former North Carolina quarterback

Bill Streicher—USA Today Sports
Former UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky shows off his new jersey with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected No. 2 overall by the Chicago Bears on Thursday in Philadelphia

When it comes to keeping secrets, the NSA has nothing on the Chicago Bears.Their interest in Mitch Trubisky was handled with such stealth that even the player himself was surprised when he heard his name called by the team as the second overall pick in Thursday’s NFL draft.”I didn’t see that coming at all,” the former North Carolina quarterback said in a teleconference from Philadelphia shortly after joining running back Ken Willard in 1965, linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1981 and defensive end Julius Peppers in 2002 as the earliest drafted Tar Heels ever.”I had one workout with them and after that it was pretty much silence. That’s why I was surprised to hear my name called, because we didn’t have a lot of contact. Obviously they had done their research, were impressed with me at the Combine and my workout, but I haven’t had a whole lot of contact with them.”It appeared for awhile Thursday that Trubisky might be on track to become the first player taken in the draft.Numerous published reports, all citing unnamed sources, suggested that the Cleveland Browns had locked in on the Ohio native and were ready to make the hometown hero the new face of their franchise. Those rumors began to fade by early evening and the Browns ended up taking defensive end Myles Garrett of Texas A&M.Trubisky didn’t have to wait long to find out his new team, though.Shortly after the Browns’ selection was announced by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the Bears sent a third and fourth round pick this year and their third rounder in 2018 to move up one spot to No. 2 to get a quarterback general manager Ryan Pace described as having “special attributes.””There are times when you’ve got to be aggressive and when you have conviction on a guy, you can’t sit on your hands,” Pace said. “I just don’t want to be average around here; I want to be great and these are the moves you have to make.”Moving up to take Trubisky was certainly a bold move, but it was also an unexpected one considering that the Bears had recently signed former NC State quarterback Mike Glennon to a three-year free agent deal worth $18.5 million guaranteed, with a $3 million signing bonus.And that it had been months since Trubisky had any contact with anyone associated with the team.”No one called me, actually, so I didn’t think I was going to get picked,” he said. “We were watching the TV (in the green room) and the commissioner said my name and me and my family just celebrated.”Now that the celebration is over and he’s finally had conversations with both Pace and Bears coach John Fox, Trubisky said he’s ready to go to work at becoming an NFL quarterback.His first task beyond learning the offense and getting to know his new teammates is proving to his detractors, many of them Bears fans expressing their displeasure with his selection on social media, that he has what it takes to be an NFL quarterback despite only 13 college starts.He completed 68.2 percent of his passes while setting school records with 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns in his one full season of running the Tar Heels’ offense.”I think I’ve had plenty of experience starting 13, playing in 30,” he said of his UNC career, which also consisted of several key performances as a backup to Marquise Williams in his first two seasons.”I’ve been around a lot of football. I was at North Carolina for four years. I showed I’m continually progressing and really I’m only just scratching the surface from this year. So I’m going to progress in my first year in Chicago as well and show Chicago what I can do … work hard and stick to who I am.”As was the case with the Tar Heels, a lot of that work figures to be on the practice field rather than in games. Pace said Thursday that the Bears plan is to “redshirt” Trubisky while he learns the ropes as a rookie.”There’s no competition when Mitch gets here,” Pace said. “Glennon is our starting quarterback. We’ll focus on Mitch’s development and Mike Glennon winning games for the Chicago Bears.”As an organization, we had conviction on this quarterback and his special attributes and we did what we had to do to get him. His potential to be a championship quarterback is all we focused on in this move. We feel we have the perfect environment for his development.”Whether the team has the conviction to stick with its plan is yet to be seen, especially after going 3-13 last season. Either way, Trubisky said he’s comfortable with whatever the Bears decide to do with him.”I’m not really the guy to talk or say anything,” he said. “I’m going to come in, work and compete. That’s how you make your teammates better and that’s how you make the other quarterbacks better.”The best quarterback’s going to play. Whoever is going to help the Chicago Bears win is going to play and that’s what I’m all about. I’ll go in there, work, compete and make this team better.”Trubisky was one of six Tar Heels to be selected in this year’s draft, their most since nine were taken in 2011.Defensive tackle Nazair Jones went to the Seattle Seahawks in the third round, wide receivers Mack Hollins (to Philadelphia) and Ryan Switzer (to Dallas) were fourth round selections while running back T.J. Logan went to the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round and his former backfield mate Elijah Hood was taken by the Oakland Raiders in the seventh round.It’s a haul UNC coach Larry Fedora said will shine a positive light on the Tar Heels’ program.”All of our players are the greatest ambassadors of our program and to have a group of young men this year that are probably going to get drafted, Mitch being the highest, is good for our program,” Fedora said. “It legitimizes the program and the things that we’re doing, where players out there can see that you can come to the University of North Carolina, you can reach all your dreams and goals, that you will be developed into being the best player that you can possibly be.”