Mitchell Trubisky may hold the key for the Chicago Bears on draft night.
Chicago is sure to be presented with multiple options next Thursday, but the best scenario could be trading the third overall pick.
The only way that happens, however, is if the Bears find someone motivated to move up.
Generally speaking -- and Julio Jones is a famous exception -- teams prefer to jump up and grab quarterbacks ahead of any other position in the first round.
Because the position is the most valuable in all of professional sports.
That’s where Trubisky comes into play -- and not because the Bears want to take him at No. 3.
ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes the Bears might be able to find a trade partner next week, and it all revolves around Trubisky, a player Kiper thinks should have stayed at North Carolina for another season.
“I think you look at the Cleveland Browns [as a team possibly willing to trade up],” Kiper said. “If they, in fact, take Myles Garrett No. 1, they’re also picking at No. 12 and they may fear the Jets could take Mitchell Trubisky at No. 6 and look to move ahead.
“There has been talk that Tennessee could move down, we’ll see about Jacksonville, but if the Bears want to move out of three I think that could be a spot for Cleveland to jump up and take Trubisky.”
Unfortunately for the Bears, Kiper doesn’t expect any other prospects to generate trade buzz inside the top three.
“This isn’t a draft where there are that many players that you would say, ‘I want to go up and get him.’ I just don’t see it,” Kiper said. “I don’t think you move up to get a safety or a corner. There is no wide receiver, there is no offensive lineman -- you’re not going to go up and get a tight end like O.J. Howard. You’re not going to go up and get a defensive lineman who is not necessarily a great pass-rusher off the edge. These are good players -- like Solomon Thomas and Jonathan Allen -- but I don’t see anyone moving up to get them.
“I think the only player you move up to get is if you believe Trubisky is the No. 1 quarterback in this draft and his grade on your board is high enough, then he is the only player that would be worth jumping up from No. 12 to No. 3 to try and get.”
Staying at No. 3 wouldn’t be horrible for Chicago. If Cleveland (at No. 1) or San Francisco (No. 2) ends up taking a quarterback -- unlikely, but not entirely crazy -- the Bears could wind up with Thomas, who most would consider an excellent pick. If Thomas is off the board -- as many expect -- the Bears still would have their choice of top defenders LSU safety Jamal Adams or Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
But moving down in an effort to stockpile additional draft choices opens up tons of possibilities, and that’s why the Bears are likely to explore that strategy over the next eight days.