Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to introduce Mitch Trubisky to the United Center crowd while the Bulls were getting their butts kicked Friday. Fans booed the Bears’ first-round pick, presumably because they thought he was a huge reach and possibly because the Celtics were busy demolishing their team.
Whatever the reason, it was a bad look for all involved. It wasn’t the kid’s fault that the Bears took a risk on him Thursday, but he had to listen to the abuse as he was shown on the video board while sitting in the stands.
As for Bulls fans, they should be booing themselves for selling out the United Center game after game to watch a mediocre product. And now that the Bulls are done, note how seamlessly the discussion has turned to whether Dwyane Wade wants to return next season. A 41-41 regular season, an eighth seed, a 4-2 series loss to the Celtics — of course, you’d want a 35-year-old back! Fingers crossed!
It wouldn’t be a Bears column if hope didn’t get kidnapped by exasperation.
The Bears finished 3-13 last season and have plenty of holes in need of filling, which fueled part of the frustration over the Trubisky pick. But let me see if I have this straight: Many of you couldn’t stand Jay Cutler and spent years screaming at the Bears to find a young quarterback. Now that they’ve done what you asked, many of you are upset that they took a young quarterback. In politics, I think they call that a pivot.
After taking Trubisky, the Bears started drafting players you never heard of from schools you never heard of, as if to remind all of us the NFL is one big crapshoot. The who-from-where picks made me smile, not just because it’s fun to say Kutztown University, but because Bears fans had talked so much about the sanctity of the three midround picks the team had given to the 49ers to switch first-round spots and grab Trubisky. And now general manager Ryan Pace was inviting the Clampett family into the mansion.
Kutztown offensive lineman Jordan Morgan, the Bears’ fifth-round pick, might turn into a fine player. Same with the players
they took from Ashland University and North Carolina A&T, both of which, like Kutztown, are below the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
The beauty and beastliness of the draft is that neither you nor I nor the Bears’ talent appraisers can say with certainty that any of these players will succeed. In the same way, no one knows whether Trubisky will be the bust so many people are predicting he’ll be.
What we do know is that Pace is going to be the hero of heroes in Chicago or isn’t going to be allowed to step foot in this city. There doesn’t seem to be much room for in between.
That’s why I applauded him after he moved up one spot to choose Trubisky with the No. 2 pick overall. When is the last time the Bears showed that kind of brazenness? People have mentioned the Cutler trade in 2009 as being similarly bold, but Cutler was coming off a Pro Bowl season with the Broncos. There’s no comparison in the audacity department.
Part of the anger over the Trubisky pick comes from a strange place. It has to do with fans considering themselves GMs these days. These are people who think only an unfortunate twist of fate separates them from a cushy front-office job and a championship ring on their finger. It’s why, in their eyes, the Bears’ real sin wasn’t so much the choice of Trubisky as it was the draft picks they gave up to get him. All we hear now is how important the draft is for an NFL team. It’s considered gospel, and studious fans are its proselytizers.
But put yourself in Pace’s penny loafers. You’ve identified Trubisky as a quarterback who can change the Bears’ fortunes. You’re convinced of it. So let me understand the logic: Because conventional wisdom says the heart of a team is built through the draft, you shouldn’t do all you can to get the player you think will be great?
The Bears hired Pace to find talent. He thinks he has found a quarterback who might be good enough to lead the franchise to its first Super Bowl title since the 1985 season. If you believe in Pace — and, granted, not everybody does — asking him to play it safe and hold on to a few third-round picks seems criminal.
The Bears have made the playoffs once in the last 10 seasons. If that doesn’t call for something different, I don’t know what does.
I also don’t know if Trubisky will be a success. I do know I’ll enjoy finding out.
Follow me on Twitter @MorrisseyCST.