Mitch Trubisky

Extra Points: Trubisky, Dolphins, 49ers, Bucs

The Bears played it close to the vest before making their Mitch Trubisky trade from No. 3 to No. 2, one that headlined the draft and one that may have the team’s power structure at odds. Chicago’s brass tried to throw teams off the scent early in the process by sending an armada of personnel to Deshaun Watson‘s pro day while orchestrating a secret dinner meeting with Trubisky, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. The Bears also “begged” Trubisky’s camp not to leak news of that summit, and that part of the operation succeeded. Ryan Pace followed Dave Caldwell‘s secretive playbook when he made the Blake Bortles pick few expected.

Here’s more from around the league as rookie minicamp sessions are upon us.

  • Charles Harris experienced a similar type of draft misdirection. The Dolphins cancelled a pre-draft visit with the Missouri product without providing a reason for the change of plans. “I was like, ‘Man, that’s messed up,” Harris said, via James Walker of ESPN.com. Miami was linked to edge defenders coming into the draft despite re-signing Cameron Wake and Andre Branch, and Harris fell to the Fins at No. 22 to validate their pre-draft plot. The Dolphins met with Harris at the Combine but didn’t prompt him for a post-Combine workout before the cancellation tactic. “It’s just there are some players that we purposely try and stay away from once we are comfortable with the player, his character and what type of kid we are getting,” Dolphins GM Chris Grier said, via Walker. “We just do not feel the need to spend any more time with them.”
  • John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan were split on one of the 49ers’ eventual draft picks, and the coach won out. Lynch had Utah running back Joe Williams off his draft board, but Shanahan convinced the new GM to give the go-ahead for a fourth-round selection, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Shanahan, who was tied to the 49ers midway through the GM hunt and thus received an opportunity for additional control, helped sway Lynch to trade a fifth-round pick to move up in the fourth round and select Williams. The Utes runner’s questionable off-the-field past had Lynch skeptical, but Shanahan saw some promise in the back who ran the Combine’s second-fastest 40 time at 4.41 seconds. With Carlos Hyde entering a contract year, Williams could be a key component of the 49ers’ future.
  • Both Kendell Beckwith and Buccaneers management expect the linebacker to be ready to return by training camp, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Beckwith tore his ACL late during his senior season at LSU last fall. Stroud expects Beckwith to be a possible early-season starter on the strong side, with the writer believing primary 2016 starter Daryl SmithPFR’s No. 4 UFA off-ball linebacker — is closing in on retirement rather than returning for a 14th NFL season.
  • Bucs running back Jeremy McNichols underwent surgery shortly after the Combine to repair a torn labrum, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Laine reports McNichols’ timeline hovers at around four months, noting the Boise State-developed back hopes to be ready for camp. McNichols arrived via fifth-round pick for a Bucs team that has questions about Doug Martin‘s future. The team still employs Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims and Peyton Barber on the roster. McNichols caught 103 passes at Boise State in three seasons, but Jason Licht views him as a possible three-down back as opposed to a passing-game specialist.

NFC Draft Notes: Bears, 49ers, Saints, Lions

Reports emerged last night that Bears head coach John Fox was unaware of his club’s intention to draft North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky until a “couple hours” before the draft. GM Ryan Pace subsequently denied those reports, saying his head coach is involved in all of the team’s decisions.

“That stuff is so false,” Pace said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “There’s consistency in everything we do, so we all work arm-in-arm and that’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be.

“John is involved in every decision deeply. The respect I have for John is enormous, especially his experience and all of the players that he’s been with. I think if you look back — and we talked about this — I think a lot of it was kept secret I thought we did a good job keeping this thing pretty under wraps, it’s so sensitive. But if you go back to the private workouts that we had, I mean John and I — it’s pretty hard to hide him — but we’re traveling to Chapel Hill and having dinners and workouts with Mitch, so he’s been deeply involved from the very beginning.”

Let’s check out some other draft notes from around the NFC…

  • The Vikings reportedly approached the 49ers about trading for the 104th pick, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (via Twitter). However, San Francisco wanted to guarantee that they’d get Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard, so they rebuffed Minnesota’s advances. Ironically, Minnesota was previously in possession of that pick.
  • The Saints were fans of Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, general manager Mickey Loomis told Larry Holder of NOLA.com (Twitter link). However, with Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore still being on the board, New Orleans wasn’t too interested in moving up for the signal-caller. Mahomes was ultimately reelected 10th overall by the Chiefs.
  • UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau‘s pectoral muscle is “looking great,” tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. This reassurance probably convinced the Redskins to take the defensive back with the 81st-overall pick.
  • The Lions selected cornerback Teez Tabor with the 53rd pick, despite the fact he suffered a hamstring injury during his workout with the team. Rapoport tweets that the Florida product didn’t end up working out for any other teams.

Latest On Bears’ Selection Of Mitch Trubisky

Bears head coach John Fox was unaware of his club’s intention to draft North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky until a “couple hours” before the draft, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Mitch Trubisky (vertical)

The effects of that news aren’t immediately clear, but it should indicate general manager Ryan Pace has complete control over personnel machinations in Chicago. Speculatively, the Bears could have been concerned about leaks, especially with other clubs — including the Browns — reportedly interested in trading up for Trubisky. In 2014, for example, Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell famously kept his plan to select quarterback Blake Bortles to himself for fear of the news affecting other teams’ strategy.

In the end, the Bears traded a haul of draft picks for the 49ers for the right to move up one spot. While one earlier report indicated Chicago was bidding against itself to acquire the No. 2 pick, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets San Francisco did have an additional “real and legitimate offer” for the second selection. Cleveland, Kansas City, Houston, and Arizona all reportedly had interest in moving up.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Did Bears Bid Against Themselves For Trubisky?

The Bears gave up a fortune to move up one spot and select Mitch Trubisky. It’s not immediately clear whether that was necessary, however. Mitch Trubisky (Vertical)

The Browns, Chiefs, Texans, and Cardinals all had interest in moving up and the Browns and Chiefs in particular coveted Mitch Trubisky, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Tribune hears (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links) hears the Niners shopped the pick hard for a week and found no takers. While some teams, like the Bills, had legitimate interest in Trubisky, none were interested in paying the steep price to move all the way to the second pick.

Could the Bears have stayed at No. 3 and selected Trubisky? We may never know for sure, but it sounds like there could be truth in both reports from Jahns and Robinson. The Browns, Chiefs, and other teams may have been after Trubisky, but they were probably unwilling to leapfrog the Bears to get a deal done. 49ers GM John Lynch says that Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster were two of the top three players on his board and it’s safe to assume that Myles Garrett was the third musketeer, not Trubisky.

The Bears, it seems, got pump faked into paying a king’s ransom when they could have stood pat and gotten their man. At the same time, if Trubisky turns out to be a star who greatly outperforms Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, and other top talents linked to Chicago, none of this will really matter.

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Bears Acquire No. 2 Pick, Take Mitch Trubisky

The Bears have acquired the No. 2 overall pick from the 49ers. With the pick, the Bears have shocked the world by taking UNC quarterback Mitch TrubiskyMitch Trubisky (Vertical)

The selection comes as a massive surprise. There have been a number of players connected to the Bears over the last few months, but no one anticipated Chicago taking Trubisky. The Bears paid a fortune to sign Mike Glennon this offseason and they have now put major resources into landing Trubisky. Glennon was supposedly signed to be the Bears’ starter, but he might wind up holding the clipboard for a highly drafted QB yet again.

The Niners will be acquiring Chicago’s No. 3 overall selection plus more. The 49ers will receive picks No. 67 and No. 111 this year plus a 2018 a third-round pick next year to move back one spot, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com tweets.

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Browns To Select Myles Garrett No. 1 Overall

Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett will be the Browns No. 1 pick, multiple league sources tell Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Meanwhile, someone in the know tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) that the top pick will be someone “who is clearly, clearly better than anyone else.” With all due respect to UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky, that’s another strong indication that the pick will be Garrett. Myles Garrett (Vertical)

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In recent days, there were some whispers that Trubisky might be the No.1 pick by Cleveland. Cabot hears that team brass met this afternoon to solidify the decision, which would indicate that there was some debate over the best course of action. For what it’s worth, top executive Sashi Brown recently said that the team’s decision was made roughly two weeks ago, so it’s hard to know what to believe. Regardless, Garrett appears poised to be the top pick.

The Browns are apparently taking the best player available at No. 1, but it’s still wide open after that.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Browns’ Draft Plans

Will Myles Garrett or Mitch Trubisky be the first player off the board? Right now, Garrett remains the “likely” No. 1 overall pick for the Browns, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes. Meanwhile, the Browns continue to try and work their way up to the top eight, presumably to draft Trubisky, Cabot hears. Mitch Trubisky (Vertical)

On Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com became the latest insider to report that Trubisky is a very real possibility for the No. 1 overall pick. At this point, it’s hard to get a grip on exactly what is going on. Last year, the Rams were reportedly encouraged by the league office to shroud their selection of Jared Goff in secrecy, and we could be seeing something similar play out with the Browns. Alternatively, this could be some gamesmanship on the part of the Browns to throw everyone’s draft board into flux.

What we do know is that the Browns are exploring all possibilities for the draft as a whole. The Browns have contacted roughly 27 teams with interest in moving up or down, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. With the No. 1, No. 12, No. 33 and No. 52 overall picks (plus many more), the Browns are strategizing for all possibilities.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Browns’ First-Round Picks

Cleveland has reportedly had discussions with multiple teams about trading up from the 12th overall pick in the draft, but the club also seems to have interest in moving down. The Browns called teams below them on Wednesday to ask if any would be interested in acquiring the 12th selection, reports Michael Lombardi of The Ringer (Twitter links).

Mitch Trubisky Instagram

The 12th choice is the Browns’ second, of course, after the No. 1 overall pick. They’re “locked in” at the top spot, notes Lombardi, though it’s still not clear whether they’ll take Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett or North Carolina quarterback/Ohio native Mitch Trubisky. This is only speculation, but the fact that the Browns would consider moving down from No. 12 could be a sign that they’re leaning toward Trubisky, who seems unlikely to be available when they’re on the clock for the second time in Round 1. Notably, the organization’s Trubisky fansperhaps including owner Jimmy Haslam – fear he won’t fall to 12.

Ultimately, the Browns probably will make Garrett the No. 1 overall selection, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter isn’t as confident. Trubisky is “square in consideration,” per Schefter, and “very smart, very well-connected people” have told him that the Tar Heel will be the first pick on Thursday (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).

Photo via Pro Football Rumors’ Instagram account.

Schrager’s Latest: RBs, Trubisky, Howard

Two running backs, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, are likely to be among the top eight players selected in this year’s NFL draft, reports Peter Schrager of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The expectation is that Fournette will come off the board first, per Schrager. Speculatively, the 49ers (No. 2), Jaguars (No. 4), Jets (No. 6) and Panthers (No. 8) could be logical fits for either Fournette or McCaffrey. Of those four clubs, only San Francisco’s starting running back (Carlos Hyde) had a strong year in 2016, but the team’s new management reportedly wants to make a change in the backfield.

More from Schrager on the eve of the draft (all links via Twitter):

  • If the Browns don’t take North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky first overall, they could use their second first-rounder (No. 12) in a package to move up for him. Should that happen, Schrager lists the Jaguars and Titans (No. 5) as potential trade partners for Cleveland. Jacksonville is reportedly considering taking a QB at No. 4 to replace Blake Bortles, but that could be a smokescreen. Meanwhile, the Titans are set under center with Marcus Mariota, and they are indeed motivated to move down and collect more picks.
  • Alabama tight end O.J. Howard is poised to be the first pass catcher off the board, beating out wide receivers John Ross, Corey Davis and Mike Williams, according to Schrager. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Wednesday (on Twitter) that Howard received an A-plus medical report, adding that he’s “a very clean, complete prospect.”
  • A pair of linebackers, Temple’s Haason Reddick and Florida’s Jarrad Davis, are entering the draft with soaring stock, relays Schrager. Reddick probably won’t last beyond the first 11 picks, while Davis should go anywhere from 15th to 25th. “Tremendous interviews” helped make Davis a first-round lock.

Albert Breer On Foster, Trubisky, Watson

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz from Albert Breer of The MMQB. All links go to Twitter:

  • Teams were aware of some drug history for linebacker Reuben Foster at Alabama and that wasn’t considered a big deal until his watered down combine test (link). Now, however, that history has taken on a different context. Depending on who you ask, Foster could be in for a draft day slide similar to Myles Jack in 2016.
  • Breer envisions a run on offensive linemen Ryan Ramczyk, Cam Robinson, Forrest Lamp, and Garett Bolles, and that may trigger some teams to trade up into the late teens (link). This year’s draft is thin on OL help and those four players are considered to be the best available.
  • Though it’s not a likelihood, there’s a chance that quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes go in the Top 15 (link).
  • The NFL at large likes Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey and USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson more than the public realizes (link). To date, most prognostications have them going late in the first round or early in the second. In yesterday’s dueling mock draft, I took Humphrey at No. 13 overall on behalf of the Cardinals.