Just when you thought the Chicago Bears were going to zig, they zagged … and then drafted quarterback Mitch Trubisky. And as it turns out, the process Chicago followed en route to selecting their quarterback of the future followed a similar path.
At ESPN, James Walker has details of the various smoke screens and deceptions that led up to the 2017 NFL Draft, and it’s utterly fascinating. The misinformation sent out in the days, weeks, and even months leading up to the draft are increasingly becoming a part of the process, and, as you know by now, the Bears were totally in it (even if it felt as though they were nowhere near it).
According to ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson, the Bears pulled off one of the draft weekend’s greatest fake-outs, as they secretly coveted Trubisky and feigned attention elsewhere. More specifically, Dickerson reports the Bears set up a secret dinner with the North Carolina signal caller “and begged his camp not to leak the news.” To the Bears’ credit, it worked, because the details of the behind-the-scenes meal and meeting didn’t come out until after the team made its selection. And, as it turns out, keeping their interest in Trubisky private may have helped thwart off other offers the 49ers might have received otherwise had their interest become public (though we may never truly know for sure).
And to think, there was a point where it was believed the Bears would be all-in on Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Remember, the team was rolling deep at Watson’s pro day at Clemson, with GM Ryan Pace, head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone in attendance. It was also noted that Fox was seen side-by-side with Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney, seemingly picking the brain of his college counterpart possibly attempting to extract every bit of information possible.
Of course, the Bears could have been caught flat-footed by the 49ers’ own juke moves and misdirection, as they were coaxed into sending multiple picks to swap spots. But we can simply chalk that up to just being part of the game within the game that is the lead-up to the NFL Draft.