NFL teams will go to extreme lengths to hide their Draft intentions.
And in 2017, the Chicago Bears went above and beyond to obscure their admiration of North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
You’ll want the sound on for this one:
"Used to be in the draft room 10-15 guys a part of the process it was healthy & you had good debate & discussion you were in there together to stack the board..
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 16, 2021
On a recent appearance of Pat McAfee’s show, NFL Network insider and NFL Draft guru Daniel Jeremiah peels back the curtain on how he gathers information this time of year. Jeremiah shares an anecdote in which he discusses his connections within the Bears and their discussions about where they would go in that draft. Jeremiah offers up a willingness not to include a prospect in his mock draft, but notes he wants to be able to throw out a player as a possibility for the sake of conversation. To that end, Jeremiah’s Bears sources were insisting they weren’t taking Trubisky. And those indications were strong enough to put Jeremiah in a place where taking Trubisky wasn’t on the table.
But on Draft night, they weren’t just on the table. Drafting Trubisky is what happened. That led to Jeremiah being flooded with text messages apologizing for misleading him. I suppose there’s a non-zero chance Jeremiah’s sources had no clue about the misdirection play. HOWEVER, we do know how heavy-handed Pace was in his approach in the 2017 Draft. Remember, it was Pace who went against John Fox and others on the Bears staff who had Deshaun Watson as the QB1 on their boards. Meanwhile, Pace had his eyes on a different quarterback all along. In any case, Jeremiah’s example provides an instance of how far teams will go to throw others off the scent.
Looking back on it now, I want to laugh about how much the Bears are using “collaboration” these days. Maybe Pace learned his lesson and is moving forward with a more thorough and collaborative process this time around. Or maybe someone above him on the organizational depth chart read what we all read and is ensuring the process is more methodical and inclusive than it was back in 2017. In any case, we know the process Chicago is using now isn’t the same as it was back then. It’s a start. But it the end can’t be the same.