2017 Cavalcade of Whimsy: The Mitchell Trubisky Problem
Why the Chicago Bears had better start Mitchell Trubisky, the Big 12 quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield as a pro, and more, in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.
2017 Cavalcade of Whimsy: After Week 3
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
I told my secondary it had two jobs.
1) Don’t let any receiver get behind you. 2) DO … NOT … LET ANY RECEIVER GET BEHIND YOU.
At least, I think I told my secondary to do that. But they know that, right? I mean, the only way this doesn’t go into overtime is if there’s a dumb-luck Hail Mary, but there’s no chance a receiver will run a straight fly pattern and catch a 63-yard laser beam … right? But what do I know? I’m just a coach, and these college kids should know what to do. There’s nothing to worry about …
Oh yes, it’s great to be a Florida Gator …
And, after that, it flat out sucks to be Malik Zaire.
“He said, ‘Yeah, Bob, he’s great, but we need a big man.’ And I told him, ‘Play Jordan at center and he’ll lead the league in scoring.'”
No one ever dares to ask this question in NFL circles, but work with me here.
After investing the world and a super-high draft pick for a young rookie quarterback, if you have a shot to draft a potentially better one the following year, don’t you at least think about it?
Considering Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Mason Rudolph are all better pro prospects than Mitchell Trubisky was when he came out, what happens when the Chicago Bears have a top five overall pick in 2018?
Of course, after trading up to get Trubisky with the No. 2 overall selection in 2017, there’s no way the Bears go quarterback early – or at all. They’ll take Florida State safety Derwin James, or Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, or a top offensive tackle like Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey, or a pass rusher like LSU’s Arden Key or Boston College’s Harold Landry.
But what if the next Eli Manning is there?
Or Phil Rivers, or Ben Roethlisberger, because that’s what this upcoming draft class appears to have for the taking in the top five.
Welcome to the 2004 NFL Draft all over again.
Even if you already have a great-looking young quarterback, if your scouts and your eyes are telling you there’s a possible Hall of Fame-caliber talent available, considering the position, value and currency, don’t you at least think about the possibility of having the best passer possible?
Which all leads to the issue happening right now for a very, very bad team – what if Trubisky doesn’t have IT? Who cares if there’s nothing around him – how do you begin to know unless he’s playing?
This doesn’t work for Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes, or for Denver with second-year man Paxton Lynch, since those two have the potential to make the playoff. Chicago doesn’t.
Quarterback, obviously, isn’t like any other position – you can’t just have a guy; you need the guy. And maybe Chicago thinks Trubisky is just that, but it had better be right.
You need a Rodgers, or a Brady, or a Brees, or a Ryan or Newton. You need someone who appears to have all-time franchise-maker upside like Darnold, Rosen, Allen and Rudolph – and to some, Lamar Jackson – appear to have.
But enough of this tomfoolery. Chicago has a quarterback, so there’s no need to think about anything other than improving every other glaring need the team has.
Yup – now ask the Tennessee Titans how Vince Young and Jake Locker are working out.
And that’s what several franchises will have to deal with. From the Patriots on down, can you really afford to ignore this special quarterback class, especially considering 2019 looks relatively light?
Because if Mitchell Trubisky doesn’t someday become two-time Super Bowl-winning Mitchell Trubisky, and you’re passing on this, you’re taking an awfully big chance on becoming the 1984 Portland Trail Blazers.
But Chicago wouldn’t know anything about that.
1) No, technically, Andy Dalton doesn’t count, and 2) no, Baylor, not everyone gets to have fun
Take this with a chaser considering that – with Sam Bradford out – there wasn’t one Week 2 starting quarterback from a Big 12 school.
Look at what the Big 12 is currently throwing out there in top-shelf college quarterbacking talent.
The conference season hasn’t even started yet, and already the Big 12 has five of the nation’s top 11 leaders in passing yardage and three of the top five – Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, Nic Shimonek of Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph – in efficiency, with West Virginia’s Will Grier 12th and TCU’s Kenny Hill 15th.
And now, with Big 12 play about to kick off, including Kansas State’s Jesse Ertz, the emergence of Iowa State’s Jacob Park, and the Texas combination of Shane Buechele and Sam Ehrlinger, the conference has become the most fun in college football.
Big 12 + NFL Draft = …
No, Cleveland. Don’t even think about it.
What do you do with Baker Mayfield if you’re the NFL scouting community?
As the season goes on, there’s the clear upper-echelon tier of star quarterback prospects, and then there’s the polarizing debate about Lamar Jackson, and then someone will have to make a call on Mayfield.
On the one side, we JUST did this.
An undersized magical baller of an all-timer college quarterback with a ton of moxie, no appreciable NFL tools, and off-the-field question marks?
Really? Did you actually think Johnny Maziel was going to lead anyone to a Super Bowl if he didn’t have all the other issues? Yeah, a lot of smart NFL types – and Jerry Jones – ignored the obvious because the guy was so much fun to watch.
No one’s saying Mayfield is anywhere near the character concern zip code Manziel was, but the former walk-on has just an okay arm, plays small, and he’s listed at a way-too-generous-because-I’m-6-2-and-looked-down 6-1.
On the other side, you ready for the too-scary-to-ignore comp?
Who else was around 6-1ish, athletic with an okay arm, hovered around a 70% completion rate, and had a serious attitude – but without the drinking aspect of the equation?
Different time, different world, but Young set the NCAA single-season completion record in 1983 hitting 71.5% of his passes. On his current pace, Mayfield will finish his career as the most efficient passer in NCAA history, and is a real threat to beat 2008 Colt McCoy’s single-season completion record of 76.83%.
Good luck figuring this one out.
And good luck selling that “certain things are bigger than the game” idea.
Yo, USC head coach Clay Helton. The next time you need a field goal in double-overtime to win a game, I triple dog dare you to check with the opposing head coach to see if the blind kid can come out and snap the ball.
Five Cavalcade of Whimsy footballey opinions and, like, other stuff
Five conversation starters at your next dinner party, and/or to impress that special someone at the right moment …
5. It’s not as sexy as Texas vs. USC or Lamar vs. CFP champs, but …
You’re going to have to look hard for the love, but the three big Saturday night games might be sneaky-good.
Notre Dame at Michigan State will have big storylines one way or another, the Bulldog on Bulldog action when Mississippi State plays at Georgia will be interesting, and Penn State’s date at Iowa will be a thing.
Fair warning, if you have to do movie night with the significant other, next week’s primetime lineup is probably going to be far worse, unless you’re really into Clemson vs, Virginia Tech.
4. “For we’ll fight, yes, we’ll fight, and with all our might/
For the glory of old Syracuse.”
So, Syracuse. You had fun with that 41-17 win over Central Michigan? Of course you did. See you in 2018.
America, try this for an eight-game run for a mediocre team that has to now figure out how to scratch and claw its way to at least three more wins before facing Boston College.
At LSU, at NC State, Pitt, Clemson, at Miami, at Florida State, Wake Forest (don’t mock this – the Demon Deacons are playing really, really well), and at Louisville.
The word you’re looking for is yeeeeeeeeeesh.
3. A new meaning to “get off my lawn”
To anyone who’s still commenting on Baker Mayfield’s flag stunt in Columbus a few weeks ago, you’re not allowed to start a sentence, “If you don’t want someone to plant something in your turf … ” without letting us finish it however we’d like.
2. Being neither of the two, it’s not a problem for me, but …
In the midst of the Jemele Hill controversy, and with all the rightful slings and arrows ESPN has been hit with over the last several months, the network deserves a little bit of credit in one respect.
Find another major sports outlet that uses as many 1) older women in prominent spots and 2) relatively unattractive people – and no, the two don’t go together.
This doesn’t necessarily go for the College GameDay crew that’s right out of the Handsome Boy Modeling School, but knowing and seeing firsthand how impossible it is for women over 30ish to get and stay in any sort of role in the sports media world, and considering what a barrier it is for anyone to be an on-air talent if the pretty factor isn’t there, ESPN doesn’t do everything wrong.
1. And now Maria? Ugggggh.
Look, if y’all want to keep denying that pooping cows are part of the reason big storms are turning into catastrophic hurricanes, whatever. I’ll probably be dead by the time Atlanta becomes beachfront property, and to be brutally honest, by then I’ll care more about spending all of eternity without sour cream for my tacos. But until then, athletic directors need to come up with better alternative plans for future college football seasons.
It’s not like this is the last September the southeastern part of the United States will be battered by hurricanes.
And for all the “there are more important things than college football to worry about” types, yeah, duh, but that doesn’t mean the ADs can’t be proactive in thinking about a contingency plan.
No one’s saying anything out loud about this – because it’s impossible without looking heartless – but the schools getting cancelled on needed these games, and almost all of them tried to bend over backwards to make them happen.
Wisconsin, for example, paid for Florida Atlantic to stay in Madison for a few extra days. And why? Because it was the nice thing to do, but also because the revenue generated by a crowd of 77,542 people is a must for the school, athletic department, and the city.
It’s why Arkansas State needed Miami to show up. It’s why Georgia Tech tried to get UCF to play in Atlanta, and Indiana said the right things, but now has to scramble after FIU chose to stay in Mobile, Alabama, rather than make the trip to Bloomington.
This week’s reason why Nick Saban didn’t suspend me for the season opener against Florida State …
(The “please pass the marmalade, Charlie” DirecTV ad is playing as I write this, as if to haunt me.) I fired the NFL Sunday Ticket package on principle. I shouldn’t have to pay for games I’m not going to watch so I can pay even more to have the Red Zone channel. I need a hug.
The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week
PICK SO FAR: 22-5 SU, 16-7-1 ATS
Really, South Florida? Now you decide to get this running game going in the blowout over Illinois? Fortunately, Arizona, Oklahoma State and Clemson were layups for a 3-1 week ATS.
As always, these are the correct answers …
Wake Forest -4 over Appalachian State
West Virginia -21 over Kansas
Florida -3 over Kentucky
Middle Tennessee -10.5 over Bowling Green
Auburn -18.5 over Missouri
Army +2 over Tulane
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: North Korea able to fire a missile over Japan
Underrated: Feleipe Franks able to throw that
2) Overrated: Clay Travis
Underrated: The stupid world getting all stupid because Clay Travis went Clay Travis and did his stupid schtick
3) Overrated: Apple promoting the concept of “wireless charging” when …
Underrated: IT’S NOT WIRELESS IF YOU STILL HAVE TO PLUG IN THE WIRELESS CHARGER TO CHARGE YOUR PHONE
4) Overrated: (The fumble forced by USC’s Christian) Rector?
Underrated: Damn near killed ‘er.
5) Overrated: The Texas A&M/Arkansas-losing coach’s hot seat status
Underrated: The Texas A&M/Arkansas-winning coach’s hot seat status
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
There I was, walking around naked back in 1941 writing my column, and NBC mistakenly aired a photo my Feleipe Franks and beans to a national audience during a tribute to legendary head coach Frank Leahy.