Mitch Trubisky appears to be a building block for the Chicago Bears, and Pro Football Focus thinks pretty highly of his rookie season.
Traditional people in sports cast a suspicious eye on analytics and the websites that offer them to the public, and the NFL’s general view of Pro Football Focus is no different. Deshaun Watson was a revelation for the Houston Texans, but a torn ACL derailed a season that would have put him in the 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation.
The Chicago Bears traded up to draft Mitch Trubisky No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft, and he made 12 starts as a rookie. His raw stats (nine total touchdowns, 6.6 yards per attempt) weren’t in the same stratosphere as Watson’s (21 total touchdowns, 8.3 yards per attempts), in roughly double the amount of games (seven games, six starts for Watson). But PFF’s grades of last season’s rookie quarterbacks preferred Trubisky to Watson.
It’s worth noting that a margin of 0.6 is not substantial, with a small window of outcomes likely turning things toward Trubisky over Watson. PFF analyst Steve Palazzolo pointed to that, citing Watson’s Week 1 performance in relief of Tom Savage (12-for-23 for 102 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one lost fumble) as a reason for Watson coming in lower than he would have otherwise.
Watson is a future star by any objective measure and the Texans should be a good team next season, while the Bears have a new head coach and still have some building to do around Trubisky. But he could finally bring some competent, if not high level, quarterback play to the Windy City.
Pro Football Focus has become a good tool to get a deeper look at the game, with its data becoming part of NBC’s Sunday Night Football due to analyst Cris Collinsworth”s involvement with the site. Trubisky is on a good track, but the simple eye test says Watson was a more dynamic player last season.