According to countless mock drafts, Mitchell Trubisky will be the top quarterback taken in the NFL Draft on Thursday. Trubisky, however, isn’t a mock draft kind of guy. He’s a control-what-you-can-control kind of guy.
“I’m not checking any of the mock drafts or anything,” Trubisky said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I don’t look at those or any of the articles. There’s just way too many rumors and stuff going on. There’s too many projections and stuff. Wherever I end up is where I end up.”
Trusbisky is considered the top quarterback prospect despite starting just 13 games at North Carolina. In fact, he once lost a quarterback battle with former Tar Heel Marquise Williams.
At the time, Trubisky was frustrated. Now he views the experience as a positive.
“I learned about patience and how to work when you’re not getting opportunities you think you deserve,” Trubisky said. “I learned how to be an even better teammate. I learned how to push my teammates and push the guy in front of me and put my own selfish wants and desires aside from the team goals. It’s all about the team, it’s all about wins, and I learned a lot about patience and what it took to work hard. It taught me the value of taking advantage of opportunities. I didn’t get many early on in my career, so this last year when I was given the starting role, (I made the most out of it). I think that’s what I’ve done and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. It taught me a lot about just being a great teammate and taking advantage of opportunities.”
Trubisky, a relative unknown entering last season, threw for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2016 and is now a first-round lock. Trubisky’s rise, as it turned out, has surprised even him.
“It caught a lot of people by surprise, (and) it kind of caught me by surprise too,” he said. “But this is what I worked for. The season I had definitely put me in position to be in those conversations. I think I showed a lot of hope what I can do and I’m only going to get better. I’ve only started to scratch the surface. The more opportunities I’m given, I think the quicker I’ll learn and the better I’ll get. I’ve shown a lot of people I can play. That’s what it’s all about. I love the game of football, and I’m just anxious to get back on the field and show people what I can do at the next level.”
Trubisky does not know which team will draft him, but he’ll be happy wherever he lands, whether it’s with a team that’s a quarterback away or with a team that has holes all over its roster.
“Each organization is different, and some are better than the others,” he said. “But no matter who good or bad they are, I think the competitor in you says, ‘No matter what, you can help turn it around or come in and contribute to the winning culture.’ It’s been a dream of mine to play in the NFL, so wherever I go, the mentality is going to be, ‘It’s a dream come true and I’m going to help this organization win.’ . . . I believe I’m a quick learner and I think I showed that. I’m a student of the game. I love talking ball, so sitting down with the coaches and doing that was pretty easy for me and something I like to do. I think I impressed them on that end, and (I think) I’ll be able to step in and contribute positively to their organization right away.”
If given the choice, Trubisky would prefer to start Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season, but he knows that decision likely won’t be his.
“The competitor in me, I want to play right away,” he said. “I want to go in, compete for the job and show coaches that I’m ready and hopefully help the organization win. I know the positives from playing right away and learning behind someone. I would embrace each, whatever happens. If my number is called to go out there, it’s my job to be prepared. I can do my job and I can do it well. You got to be that quarterback that can run the show and lead your teammates and be dependable. That’s my job, and I’m definitely going to embrace it.”
Trubisky’s top quarterback competition, at least until Thursday, is Clemson prospect Deshaun Watson. A two-time Heisman finalist, Watson believes he should be drafted ahead of Trubisky. In fact, Watson believes it would be a mistake for any team to do otherwise.
“I got a lot of respect for Deshaun and we’ve actually become pretty good friends,” Trubisky said, opting against a war of words. “I think it’s just the competitor in him coming out. I’m not too concerned about where I go or when I get drafted. History shows it’s not where you get drafted; it’s what you do when you get drafted. The real work comes when you get with the teams and really start our careers. Where you get drafted and the order, that’s just another thing people like to hype up. You got to prove yourself throughout your whole career.”