Scott Fowler

Trubisky makes right call to enter NFL, but will only be an average pro QB

North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) has decided to skip his senior year and enter the 2017 NFL draft.
North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) has decided to skip his senior year and enter the 2017 NFL draft. AP

Mitch Trubisky has made the right decision to leave North Carolina and go pro a year early -- the only decision he could make, really.

Trubisky announced via "The Players' Tribune" website and on Twitter Monday that he was skipping his final year in Chapel Hill to turn pro. "After a lot of prayer and thought, I have decided to forgo my senior year and enter the NFL draft," Trubisky wrote.

Trubisky just about about had to do that. UNC's offense was already going to be decimated next season -- no Elijah Hood, Ryan Switzer, Bug Howard, T.J. Logan or Mack Hollins. There was absolutely no way Trubisky was going to improve his NFL stock.

And, at least temporarily, Trubisky has caught lightning in a bottle. He may well be the No. 1 pick of April's 2017 NFL draft. And if he's not No. 1, he's certainly not going to drop out of the top 10 barring some sort of freak occurrence. He shouldn't pass up all those millions, especially given the questionable supporting cast he would have had in Chapel Hill.

Now for the real question: How good will Trubisky actually be in the pros?

In Trubisky’s only year as a starter for UNC, the Tar Heels lost to both N.C. State and Duke.

Let's just say I have my doubts. I have watched almost every snap of his college games, and Trubisky still is going to have to convince me and a lot of others that he will be anything more than an average NFL quarterback. Not that "average" is a terrible thing, or an uncommon one -- Cam Newton was an average NFL quarterback (at best) for the Panthers this past season. You stay employed for a long time as an average NFL QB, especially if you have a few flashes of greatness along the way.

But to be truly elite -- to join the Tom Bradys, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisbergers of the world -- Trubisky will have to be better in the clutch moments than he often was at UNC.

Remember, in Trubisky’s only season as a starter, the Tar Heels managed to lose to both Duke and N.C. State. Yes, UNC also beat FSU and Miami in 2016, and Trubisky had great stats for the past season (30 TD passes, six interceptions). But Trubisky ultimately just didn't win enough, and that's the most important stat for every quarterback.

The Tar Heels were an unremarkable 8-5 in 2016 and lost three of their final four games despite an all-star offensive cast. They lost their mid-level bowl game to a Stanford team that didn't even play Christian McCaffrey and had to go with its second-string quarterback for most of the game.

Trubisky will be drafted very high based on his potential -- he's got an NFL arm and an NFL body.

I do hope, for his sake, he doesn't end up with Cleveland (which has the No. 1 overall pick). The Browns are a quarterback-killing team like no other.

I foresee Trubisky becoming more of a Sam Bradford type than a Tom Brady, but Lord knows I have been wrong before. In any case, I applaud his decision to turn pro at the right time -- and I hope the Tar Heels start Chazz Surratt at quarterback in 2017.

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