Finding a career trajectory for Mitch Trubisky

Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Through three NFL seasons, what type of career trajectory is Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky on?

Mitch Trubisky has been in the NFL for three years. He is 25 years old. Offensive coordinators and offensive lineman, as well as tight ends and running backs, have shuffled around Trubisky. He also came into the NFL without much experience at the college level.

However, with how much experience he has in the NFL, his age, and the volume of the sample size, we now can at least have an idea of what type of career Trubisky is on pace to have.

Of course, things can change, and the pieces around him can dictate a lot of his success, but by and large, this is the type of player he is.

When looking at his statistics, there is a list of players who have been on a similar trajectory through three seasons. The list below is a list of all of the quarterbacks in the past 20 years with 40 starts in their first three seasons, to have touchdown rates, interception rates, sack rates, and yardage rates all near each other. Using Adjusted Net Yards/Attempt, which weighs all of these factors, these are the 10 closest comparisons to Trubisky when looking at his first three years in the NFL.

The first thing that stands out is that 9 of the 11 players are first-round picks, seven were top ten picks and six top five. It makes sense that the GMs and coaches who picked these players early were also inclined to let them start through the ups and downs, which we have seen in Trubisky.

As we will get into, these comparisons do leave a lot up in the air about where Trubisky can go from here.


Of the group, Trubisky does rank 9th in games started and attempts made. The start of his first year, as well as a couple of injuries, does put him a few pass attempts behind others who have started so often over three years. Still, nine of the 11 are within 200 attempts of each other.

Completion Rate

Looking at their completion rate is a great start for Trubisky. Sure, you can point to a quick passing offense and a change in the way the game is played. Still, all of these quarterbacks came up in a similar time. Nonetheless, Trubisky has the best completion rate of the group. Trubisky is very close to Joe Flacco and Ryan Tannehill through three years in this area and has been much more efficient than former first-round picks such as Eli Manning, and Mark Sanchez.


Trubisky ranks ninth of this group in yards, which makes sense because he ranks ninth in attempts as well. He ranks eighth in yards per game, but, when you adjust for yards per attempt, he moves to 6th, right in the middle of this group. Trubisky averaged 6.7 yards per attempt. Flacco lead the group at 7.2, while Sam Bradford only averaged 6.3 yards per attempt.

Adjusted yards per attempt adds in touchdowns and interceptions to the formula. Trubisky shoots up to fourth in AY/A. He is almost tied with Ryan Tannehill and just below Andy Dalton in this area. Trubisky averaged 6.41 AY/A, Flacco led the group with 6.91, and Eli Manning trailed with 5.6.

Adjusted net yards per attempt adds in sacks yards. This hurts Trubisky a bit as he falls to fifth with 5.56 ANY/A. Byron Leftwich averaged 5.74 and Ryan Tannehill averaged 5.36 ANY/A. Joe Flacco averaged 5.96, while Mark Sanchez averaged just 4.92.


Once again Trubisky is ninth in this group in touchdowns through three seasons. On a per attempt average, he moves up a bit, but only into a tie for seventh with Tannehill, and Leftwich. All three had a 3.8% touchdown rate. Andy Dalton leads the group with 4.9 and Sam Bradford had 3.


Where Trubisky sees his rise in adjusted yards per attempt is not touchdowns, but interceptions. He ranks 11th in picks thrown. His INT rate of 2.27 is tied with Sam Bradford for the second-best of the group. They threw fewer interceptions than Carr, but Derek Carr had more attempts,  and a lower INT %. Sanchez had a 3.61 INT%, while Dalton, Manning, and Freeman all joined him with INT%s over three.

Quarterback Rating

The lack of interceptions and higher completion rate show in quarterback rating, where Trubisky is third of this group. His 85.8 rating through three years is almost identical to Andy Dalton at 85.7. Joe Flacco and Derek Carr lead the group tied with 87.9 while Eli Manning and Mark Sanchez had matching 73.2 ratings. Ryan Tannehill had an 84 rating, Leftwich had an 80.8 and the rest were below 80.

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Trubisky ranks sixth in sacks taken, but that goes up to eigth when adjusted for pass attempts. His 6.8% sack rate is below Flacco at 7.1% and higher than Bradford at 6.6%. Ryan Tannehill had a 7.7% sack rate, while Carr had just a 3.9% rate.

Wins, Fourth Quarter Comebacks, Game-Winning Drives

Winning five more games as a starter than he lost, Trubisky has had more success early into his career than most. Joe Flacco had a great landing spot and was 16 games over .500 as a starter through three years. Dalton was 12 games above .500 and Sanchez was seven games over. Leftwich was only four games over .500, Manning was one game over and the rest lost more than they won to start their career.

Trubisky only has four fourth-quarter comebacks. This is tied for the lowest of the group, but Flacco and Manning both were tied with him at this point in their careers. Those two found their signature fourth-quarter moments later in their careers.

Derek Carr had 12 fourth-quarter comebacks while Josh Freeman had eighth fourth-quarter comebacks, and Mark Sanchez had seven. Maybe it is better to have a fourth-quarter lead in the first place.

Trubisky has six game-winning drives, which tied Blake Bortles through this point. Only Eli Manning, Ryan Tannehill, and Sam Bradford had less. Derek Carr led the way with 12 game-winning drives.


Lastly, what kind of value did Trubisky bring with his legs? Trubisky ranks third in this group of rushing attempts, but Tannehill, Dalton, Trubisky, Freeman, and Bortles are all within 30 rush attempts. Manning, Carr, Bradford, Leftwich, and Sanchez were not mobile quarterbacks.

Trubisky ranks second of the group in yards and yards per attempt as well. However, he was nine attempts and 226 yards behind Blake Bortles. Still, he had 12 more carries for 102 more yards than Tannehill. A similar comparison.

In all, Trubisky fits in with these ten names. The issue is that these ten all went completely different in career paths.

Stay Tuned for our second article where we look into the individual comparisons to each of these quarterbacks.