Feeling a draft: Mitch Trubisky vs. 49ers makes Sunday compelling
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John Lynch screamed Mitch Trubisky’s name. The 49ers’ first-year general manager was that surprised when the Bears drafted him with the second overall pick in April.
“That was a shock,” read a story in Sports Illustrated, which was granted special access to the 49ers’ draft room for Lynch’s first draft.
The 49ers obviously didn’t share the Bears’ view of Trubisky as a franchise-changing quarterback.
If the 49ers had felt the same, they wouldn’t have traded their No. 2 pick for the Bears’ No. 3 pick, two third-round selections (one in 2018) and a fourth-round pick.
“We didn’t feel at that area just for our team — that wasn’t totally the direction that we were going to go at that time,” 49ers first-year coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday during a conference call. “[We] felt like we had to add a number of other guys. [Trubisky] was a guy that I definitely liked, and it made sense what Chicago did, but that wasn’t the direction we were going.
‘‘We felt we had to go some other ways to improve our team, and we’re happy that we did.”
Lynch received rounds of applause for the trade. The Sports Illustrated story quotes congratulatory text messages that were sent to him from other team executives.
Of course, they could all be wrong about Trubisky, and the Bears might be right. The Bears also weren’t the only NFL team that thought that highly of Trubisky.
In time, Trubisky could develop into the Bears’ own version of Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers. Trading up to select a quarterback at No. 2 comes with that hope and ambition.
“I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be,” Trubisky said when asked about the 49ers’ decision to pass on him at No. 2. “I’m happy to be here in Chicago.”
Jimmy Garoppolo was the quarterback Shanahan coveted. He was present when Garoppolo, the Eastern Illinois and Rolling Meadows High School product, worked out for teams at Northwestern before the 2014 draft.
The Browns’ offensive coordinator at the time, Shanahan said he was disappointed when Cleveland selected Johnny Manziel with the No. 22 pick that year. The Patriots took Garoppolo at No. 62.
“I was disappointed,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
Since then, Shanahan said his fondness for Garoppolo grew even stronger. It’s why the 49ers were more than comfortable with parting with a high second-round pick in 2018 to acquire him. The Bears had interest in Garoppolo, too. But the Patriots weren’t parting with him before the draft.
Either way, a matchup between the 3-8 Bears and 1-10 49ers is compelling because it’s essentially Trubisky against Garoppolo.
It’s not that Shanahan didn’t like Trubisky. It’s very likely the 49ers didn’t have the consensus that the Bears had on him. Shanahan, though, said he’s “very similar” to Garoppolo.
“[It’s] just in their skill set, their athletic ability,” he said. “[They’re] very similar throwers.”
Shanahan said he traveled to North Carolina to work out Trubisky. He also had dinner with him. Rich Scangarello, the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, met with the other top quarterbacks.
Shanahan indicated that his concerns with Trubisky stemmed from him having only season of starting experience.
The Bears clearly had less trepidation. They valued how well Trubisky played in fill-in situations. All of Trubisky’s 572 passes were evaluated, knowing that Eagles starter Carson Wentz — the No. 2 pick in 2016 — attempted only 25 more passes in his college career.
“I enjoyed getting to meet Mitch,” Shanahan said. “He’s a good dude. He has a good future ahead of him. There was only a year of tape on him, but I was very impressed with his tape, and it didn’t surprise me at all that Chicago took him where they did.”
Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.