Imagine, if you will, a world in which the Bears draft a quarterback other than Mitchell Trubisky in 2017.
If you listen to the average Bears fan on Twitter, you’d think they’d have won three Super Bowls by now. There’d be no need to follow Russell Wilson drama in Seattle, or do deep dives on second-day QB prospects. The Bears wouldn’t be left without a 4,000 yard passer in the 16-game NFL era, and franchise record books would have been rewritten by both the QB To Be and Allen Robinson. There would be such harmony within the city limits that even Cubs fans and White Sox fans would be getting together on Opening Day, hoping both teams win and everyone would be happy forever.
Or maybe the Bears would have drafted Deshone Kizer and we’d be exactly where we are now.
In either case, that fantasy was close to becoming a reality according to former Browns head coach Hue Jackson. On Mike Silver’s “Pass It Down” podcast, Jackson pulled the curtain back a bit on the Browns’ plans heading into that draft with the No. 1 overall pick.
“At the time there was divide between who should be the first pick,” Jackson said. “I wanted Myles Garrett, and I’m an offensive coach. I didn’t think there was a quarterback worthy of being the first pick. I thought Myles was going to be a generational talent. He demonstrated that in our private meeting with him. He demonstrated to me his intelligence, his burn and desire to be the best at what he does. His workout was sensational. I was lock and barrel on Myles Garrett.
“But there were others that were lock and barrel on Mitchell Trubisky. Me being a quarterback guy, I did not want that. I liked Mitchell, but I didn’t think he was the first pick of the draft at quarterback. So, there were some rumblings about that, and I think everyone knew that. There was truly a divide.”
Things were so divided in Cleveland, Jackson said he was told the front office had decided to pick Garrett the day before the draft. The day before.
With decision making coming down to the wire, it’s easy to imagine things going the other way. If Trubisky was already off the board, the Bears may have never traded up to the No. 2 slot, opting to take a quarterback at No. 3 instead. We all know who they could have picked at quarterback instead of Trubisky, but what about those other picks that they shipped to San Francisco as a part of the deal? In addition to sending the No. 3 overall pick to the 49ers (which turned out to be another bust in Solomon Thomas), they sent the No. 67 overall pick, the No. 111 overall pick and a 2018 third-rounder.
Ryan Pace eventually traded back into the draft at No. 112 overall to pick Eddie Jackson, so that’s essentially a wash. But the No. 67 pick ended up in New Orleans, where they selected Alvin Kamara. That 2018 third-rounder became linebacker Fred Warner.
Imagine. The Bears with a different rookie QB in 2017, plus two of the best young players in the game at their respective positions.
“But the day of the draft, obviously we ended up picking Myles,” Jackson said. “And rightfully so.”