No. 2: The age 25 jump among quarterbacks
In professional basketball, NBA on TNT analyst Kenny “The Jet” Smith said something that’s remained in my psyche throughout sports fandom. It went along the lines of: by year three, you pretty much know what you have in a player. They reach an epiphany; they mature. Everything begins to round into form.
Because of early college-to-pro restrictions, that number sails a bit higher for the NFL. As it relates to Mitchell Trubisky, history, if nothing else, has been relatively kind to quarterbacks at 25 and 26-years-old.
In 2013, Football Perspectives writer Chase Stuart conducted a study of 77 different quarterbacks, and that data suggested that “how a quarterback plays at age 24 might represent just 40% of the value they’ll provide once they hit their peak.”
This isn’t to suggest that Trubisky is going to have some Rich Gannon-type renaissance, and bloom into an All-Pro signal-caller. But consider the value over replacement chart between age 24 and age 25 and 26.
Looking strictly at the modern, air-it-out era, we can point to a few different quarterbacks who shredded previously-embedded labels from years one to three and produced in year four. Kirk Cousins had a negative TD-INT ratio and was labeled an “overthinker” just like Trubisky before his “brain work” finally paid off. Before tearing his ACL in 2013, Sam Bradford was finally looking the part in year four.
The list of modern-day quarterbacks who found their sweet spots in that fourth year runs long. And for Trubisky, perhaps history points to that switch-flipping. The locking onto receivers has to stop, as does the drunk man’s accuracy. One has to imagine the 2018 Pro Bowler knows all too well the consequences of if he doesn’t.