Jeff Gravley

Looking beyond the stats of Mitch Trubisky

Posted April 26

Mitch Trubisky (10) during ACC football action at Kenan Stadium between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Virginia Tech Hokies on October 8, 2016 in Chapel Hill, NC. (Will Bratton/WRAL contributor)

Much of the pre-draft focus on Mitch (I'll always call him Mitch) Trubisky is his 13 career starts while at North Carolina. Is that a large enough sample for NFL executives to evaluate and project?

I have a few career moments that I hope NFL teams examine and none of them happened during his monster junior season.

Ohio State didn't want the Mentor, Ohio star. So he packed his bags and flew south to North Carolina hoping to play right away. But he was a redshirt as a freshman, then sat behind Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams.

In the transfer era of limited patience, Trubisky could have EASILY left the Tar Heel program but he chose to stick it out. That tells me how committed he is to a goal, to his teammates, and to the process.

Why didn't he start over Renner and Williams? Well, Marquise was a great leader who commanded a lot of respect from his teammates. Larry Fedora and the staff decided it would be incredibly disruptive to start Trubisky over Williams in 2015.

It was a good team decision. Carolina ended up winning the Coastal division and playing Clemson in the ACC Championship game that year with Marquise at the helm.

Trubisky has always been prepared to play and here are a few examples.

The fourth game of the 2015 season Marquise struggled against Delaware. All Trubisky did was come in from the bullpen to complete 17 of 20 passes for 312 yards, 4 touchdowns and no picks. He earned ACC offensive player of the week.

In a late November game at NC State, Williams' helmet flew off and he had to leave the game for one play. Trubisky came in to complete a 5 yard touchdown pass on his only toss of the game.

He did the exact, same thing in 2014 at Virginia. Quarterback goes out, Trubisky comes in and fires a touchdown strike on his only pass of the game.

Again, he has always been prepared to play no matter the circumstances.

When he finally got a full season of work, Mitch set numerous Carolina records and his NFL stock continued to rise.

Will he again be shunned by a team from his home state or do the Browns bring Trubisky back to Ohio? I don't think Cleveland takes him with the overall number one pick but do believe they would select him at 12 or trade up from that spot. He has has personal workouts for the Browns, Niners, Bears, Jets and Bills. You would think one of those five would be Trubisky's landing spot.

One thing is for sure, Mitch Trubisky will be the highest quarterback drafted in North Carolina football history and could be the most successful.

TJ Yates was a fifth round pick in 2011 and has played in 18 NFL games. That's the best a Tar Heel quarterback has done in the NFL playing that position. Prior to Yates, you have to go all the way back to Scott Stankavage to witness a Tar Heel quarterback taking NFL snaps. Stankavage saw action in 4 games from 1984-87 with the Broncos and Dolphins.

The University of North Carolina hasn't been quarterback U but that journey from Ohio to Chapel Hill sure benefited the Tar Heel program and the guy who made the trip, Mitch Trubisky.

Now the process of proving himself begins again.


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