Inside Carolina/Michael Switzer

UNC QB Mitch Trubisky Receives First-Round NFL Draft Grade

The NFL deadline for underclassmen to declare is Jan. 16.

CHAPEL Hill, N.C. – North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky received a first-round grade from the NFL’s college advisory committee earlier this month, although the junior quarterback does not expect to make a decision about his future until after UNC’s Sun Bowl appearance on Dec. 30.

Various mock drafts have Trubisky going in the top-10 of the NFL Draft. WalterFootball.com has the Mentor, Ohio native going to San Francisco with the second overall pick, while CBS Sports has him going fourth to Chicago.

The college advisory committee includes NFL personnel evaluators as well as directors from the league’s sanctioned scouting organizations, National Football Scouting and BLESTO. The committee researches possible early entrants and provides one of three ratings: potential first round, potential second round, or neither, which is considered to be a recommendation to stay in school. Over 90 percent of the players graded as first- or second-round picks by the advisory committee in 2014-15 (38-of-42) were drafted in the first or second rounds, according to the NFL.

“It’s just a first-round grade and I’m trying to see if I can get more in-depth information around it,” Trubisky said on Monday.

The first-round grade is an average of scouting grades, so Trubisky and his family are trying to determine how many teams potentially had him graded as a second-round pick. He is still acquiring information from various sources, including NFL players that have been in similar situations.

“I’m not letting it take up too much of my time or letting it stress me out that much,” Trubisky said. “I’m just trying to gain as much information as possible and trying to figure out what’s best for me, but at the same time, just staying focused for the bowl game.”

UNC head coach Larry Fedora is also searching out more information as it becomes available regarding his junior signal-caller, who has completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 3,468 yards, 28 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2016.

“He’s got a decision to make and will make it at some point,” Fedora said. “My role in that is to give him as much information as possible and to support him and his family in their decision. I am sure that he will make a very good, educated decision because he’s got a very thorough process.”

What Fedora has yet to offer is his advice, and that’s because Trubisky has yet to ask for it.

“I just haven’t asked for it yet because I might be afraid of the answer and I might be afraid that it will persuade me one way or the other,” Trubisky said. “But I appreciate Coach Fedora and the rest of the coaching staff for supporting me and that they’re going out of their way to provide a lot of information for me in my decision… I think I’m going to ask for that eventually because that will definitely play a factor in my decision.”

Given his draft stock and the temptation of guaranteed millions of dollars, as well as the knowledge that UNC will have to replace at least six offensive starters next season, his decision might seem to be a mere formality. Trubisky insists that’s not the case, however, stressing that his ongoing development is a key variable in the equation.

“What is going to make me the best quarterback possible?” Trubisky said. “A lot of people have been telling me that I can get to the NFL, but do I want to just get there, or do I want to put myself in the best position to really excel at the next level? That may be leaving now, or that may be coming back, so those are some of the things I’m thinking about.

“What’s going to put me in the best position to have a long-term sustainable career and be the best quarterback I can possibly be?”

Trubisky plans to discuss the available information with his family following UNC’s bowl game and hopes to have a decision at least a week before the NFL deadline for underclassmen to file declaration papers, which is Jan. 16.


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