North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky's lack of experience as a one-year starter is concerning for NFL scouts, but it might not be enough to keep him from being the first quarterback selected in the NFL draft.
In fact, an AFC scout believes Trubisky's draft stock will rise such that he could be selected No. 2 or 3 overall.
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"You're gonna see the ascension of the Carolina quarterback," the scout told MMQB. "He's the guy, a Top 2 or 3 pick. He's the guy. ... A lot of teams like him up there."
The Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears hold the top three picks of the draft, and all three have a need at the quarterback position. But what looks like a top-3 pick to the AFC scout looks like something else to others. NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said this week that he would be "scared to death" to take any quarterback in the 2017 draft with a top-10 selection. As for the 49ers, analyst Daniel Jeremiah noted Thursday that the club can afford to be patient in addressing the position.
Two of the draft's other top quarterbacks -- Clemson's Deshaun Watson and Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer -- are more of the developmental variety, per an AFC college scouting director quoted in the report. The scouting director said Watson is a year away from being able to run an NFL offense, while Kizer is more of a two-year project.
"I'll be shocked if Trubisky's not the first one off the board (among quarterbacks)," an AFC executive said.
Jeremiah's latest mock draft projects Watson as the first quarterback selected, No. 10 overall by the Buffalo Bills, with Trubisky falling to the New York Giants at No. 23. Projecting how the top quarterbacks will fall in the draft is tricky business in February, but the NFL Scouting Combine next month and subsequent pro-day workouts could help sort out the pecking order for NFL clubs. That's especially true for Trubisky, because NFL scouts have film from only 13 career starts at the college level to judge him on.
But if the AFC scout is correct, the experience concern about Trubisky won't really stick to him by the time the draft comes around on April 27.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.