NFL jersey sales are usually a good indicator of the popularity of a player.
If that’s the case, Mitchell Trubisky and Kareem Hunt have found their place in the NFL after one season.
The NFL announced jersey sales for its 2017 rookie class, and Trubisky, a Mentor grad, and Hunt, a Willoughby South grad, ranked in the top 10.
According to @OfficialNFLShop, Trubisky ranked No. 4 on the list, and Hunt was No. 8. Steelers wide receiver Ju Ju Smith-Schuster was No. 1, followed by Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt.
Hunt’s popularity could get a boost if this weekend plays out in his favor. The Chiefs running back is up for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. The award will be announced Feb. 3.
Hunt led the NFL in rushing with 1,327 yards and scored 11 total touchdowns. His 1,728 total yards ranked third in the NFL this season. He will play in the Pro Bowl as reserve for the AFC team on Jan. 28 in Orlando.
Trubisky started 12 games at quarterback for the Bears, and threw for 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes, and had a QB rating of 77.5.
Two Browns rookies ranked in the top 15. No. 1 overall draft pick Myles Garrett was 15th, and safety Jabrill Peppers was 14th.
Mark Helfrich sees a lot of Mariota in Mitchell Trubisky
Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy tapped Mark Helfrich to be his offensive coordinator in an effort to develop a diverse offense, and, more importantly, help grow quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
The QB was the main topic of Helfrich’s first meeting with the media Thursday. Given that the Bears haven’t had a Pro Bowl player at the sport’s most vital position since 1985, it’s understandable that locals want to know what the new coordinator plans for the QB.
Helfrich praised Trubisky as a “coachable” quarterback. The new OC also sees “a lot” of similarities between Trubisky and quarterback Marcus Mariota, whom Helfrich helped develop at Oregon.
“Mitchell has a tight release,” Helfrich said, via the Chicago Tribune. “He’s an accurate passer. They also have a couple of things similar that make them inaccurate. Their feet take them out of position. I sense from talking to a couple of offensive linemen, and this was unsolicited, when your offensive linemen are talking about how hard your quarterback works, that’s a great sign.”
Helfrich spent Mariota’s freshman year at Oregon as the OC and quarterbacks coach under Chip Kelly. Helfrich then took over as head coach for Mariota’s final two seasons in Eugene.
Comparing Trubisky to Mariota seems like an apt association. Both players are very accurate and both own athleticism to burn defenses with their legs.
The Bears didn’t ask Trubisky to do much as a rookie, but he displayed that accuracy, especially on the move, and improved throughout the season, showing an ability to get through his progressions.
The comparison between Trubisky and Mariota is interesting coming off a year in which the latter regressed. The Titans fired coach Mike Mularkey in effect because the team didn’t believe the coaching staff could help Mariota take the next leap forward.
In Chicago, the development of Trubisky is job No. 1 for Nagy and Helfrich. If they fail to build the quarterback, the duo will suffer the same fate as Mariota’s last coach.