Mitchell Trubisky is the subject of a BRAND NEW RotoUnderworld written series. The phrase ‘second draft’ is a common one among front offices across sports. When teams prepare for a draft in a given year, teams do their homework on every prospect. Even ones they don’t need or have a chance to select in that specific draft. Why? Because some of these players eventually becomes available either via trade or free agency. In these cases, there’s still familiarity with their games and how they’d fit/revitalize their careers within a new system. This is not a new phenomenon.
It’s not uncommon for a high draft pick, especially a first-rounder, to get a second chance despite early career struggles. For many, especially quarterbacks, all they need is that change of scenery to get their career back on track. Just within the last few years, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, and Sam Darnold have all gotten second chances at being a starting quarterback in a new situation. Tannehill helped transform the Tennessee Titans into title contenders and got them to an AFC Championship. The New Orleans Saints were 5-2 through the first seven starts Winston made for them in 2021; they finished the season 9-8. Darnold ultimately flamed out at the end of the year. But even he showed flashes of the brilliance that made him the third overall pick once upon a time.
Teams need quarterbacks and there aren’t enough that are available via trade or the draft to fill those needs. With a quarterback draft class that is more so an eye of the beholder type as opposed to a universally well-regarded class like last year’s, teams in need of an upgrade at that spot may need to look elsewhere to fill the void.
If there’s a guy that’s going to follow in the footsteps of Ryan Tannehill and Jameis Winston and thrive in new digs, the best candidate to do so among 2022’s crop of free agents is Mitchell Trubisky.
Second Draft QB Candidate: Mitchell Trubisky
Yes, it was clearly a mistake to pick Mitchell Trubisky second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. But he still had the talent to make some teams think of him in high regard at the time. He’s still 27 years old. If the criticism for him was that he needed to sit a year in order to hone his skills, he just did so with an organization and coaching staff that has already proven they can develop a quarterback in Buffalo. That’s not to say he’s going to turn into Josh Allen. But it isn’t crazy to think he got better in his stopgap season as a Bill.
Look, there’s a reason why no NFL team wanted Trubisky to be their starting quarterback in 2022. He’s never thrown for more than 24 touchdowns in a season. He inconspicuously cannot throw to the left side of the field. His 6.7 yards per attempt over the course of his career is below average. He’s always going to be referred to as the guy selected over Patrick Mahomes.
But, that doesn’t mean his career is left for dead. He does take care of the ball; outside of this last season and his rookie season, his touchdown-to-interception is just under 2.0, which is solid. As a starting quarterback, he has averaged 5.56 yards per carry; important for today’s NFL where rushing ability adds more creativity and flexibility to the position and a team’s offense as a whole.
Mitchell Trubisky has the talent of a not-spectacular-but-fine NFL starting quarterback. And that’s why fantasy gamers should pay attention to where he lands. The production has not led to sustained on-field success. But he has proven to be a viable fantasy option before. The Konami Code is all the rage these days. So any time a quarterback can add production with his legs, he will likely bring fantasy points with him.
In Trubisky’s four seasons as a starter in Chicago, he averaged at least 5.9 yards per carry in three. However, he exceeded 50 total carries just three times. For reference, Tyler Huntley started or filled in for five of Baltimore’s 17 games in 2021, and registered 44 carries in that span. Huntley (who also fits the criteria of a mobile quarterback who could be granted a starting job in free agency) averaged 6.3 yards per carry, which is better than any of Trubisky’s totals in a season, but not by a drastic amount.
Trubisky’s best passing season came in 2018 when he threw for 3,223 yards and 24 touchdowns in 14 games. But, the 421 yards and three touchdowns he garnered on the ground helped him finish as the QB11 that year on a per-game basis. His 18.8 Fantasy Points Per Game would’ve been tied for the QB12 in 2021 with Kirk Cousins.
Where Can He Go?
Mitchell Trubisky has a top-12 points per game finish to his name. However, his three other seasons were all outside the top 25. Yes, it is more than fair to be skeptical. But that brings us back to the entire purpose of this article: finding treasure out of someone else’s trash. We’ve seen his ceiling as a top-12 option, it costs almost nothing to see if he can get there again. Which, he could in the right situation.
One situation that sticks out right away is the New York Giants. Daniel Jones (who is much like Trubisky and could himself be the one they try to redeem) has yet to impress. And they just hired former Buffalo Bills front office member Joe Schoen as their general manager, and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as their head coach. Those two saw Trubisky every day this season and he now has familiarity with Daboll’s system. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re a match. The Pittsburgh Steelers have no answer at quarterback and a star-studded cast of pass-catchers. It makes a lot of sense for them to see if they can catch lightning in a bottle. Would the now Washington Commanders take a chance if they miss out on a quarterback or don’t plan to draft one?
These are just three options. But I do believe one team will give Mitchell Trubisky a chance to be their starting quarterback. It might not happen at the start of the season. But I can see him make the most of it the way Ryan Tannehill did. It can’t hurt to take the shot. And if it lands, a possible top-12 starting fantasy quarterback can be had in dynasty leagues for pennies on the dollar. That seems like a worthwhile bet.