Bears wouldn’t mind drafting a QB that Marc Trestman can groom
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter April 21, 2014 9:07PM
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel passes the ball during a drill at pro day for NFL football representatives†in College Station, Texas, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider) ORG XMIT: TXPX102
Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois, 6-2, 226: NFL teams, including the Bears, are enamored with the Rolling Meadows High School product’s quick release, athleticism and demeanor.
But a hometown reunion is unlikely with too many teams interested in Garoppolo, and the Bears having defensive holes to address in the early rounds of the draft.
Garoppolo might be best served by learning behind a veteran quarterback for a year or two and by going to a team with some established offensive weapons, but it would be surprising if he lasts past the early second round.
Blake Bortles, Central Florida, 6-5, 232: Could be the No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Texans.
David Fales, San Jose State, 6-2, 212: A productive college player who gained attention with a 72.5 completion percentage in 2012 and has some of the off-the-field intangibles the Bears like.
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, 6-0, 207: The exciting ways of “Johnny Football” could slide in the draft for various reasons, but don’t expect the Bears to pick him up.
Aaron Murray, Georgia, 6-1, 207: An intelligent player from a major program in a major conference who comes with durability concerns and less-than-ideal size, but he’s someone who deserves serious consideration during Day 3 of the draft.
Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois, 6-0, 217: The pride of Mount Carmel and the South Side might not make it in the NFL as a quarterback, but he’s every bit an NFL-caliber “football player,” as scouts and executives like to say. It’s just a matter of finding a role and position for him.
Updated: May 23, 2014 6:20AM
Leading up to the NFL draft, which begins May 8, the Sun-Times will take a position-by-position look at the Bears’ needs and which players might be available to fill them.
Jay Cutler has his lucrative long-term deal, and Jordan Palmer has the confidence of coach Marc Trestman.
But the Bears always have been open to adding a young quarterback. It has been up for consideration for some time and likely will be during the draft in May.
“The next step in this — we got Jordan in place — is to bring in one other quarterback, whoever that player is, a young one [or] more experienced,” Trestman said at the NFL owners meetings. “We’re going to examine all possibilities.”
Trestman said Palmer is capable of making up for the loss of Josh McCown. But Trestman also talked about having a No. 3, too. The Bears re-signed former Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson to a future/reserve contract, but better options exist. The Bears worked out Josh Freeman before he signed with the New York Giants.
Also, don’t forget what general manager Phil Emery said before last year’s draft: “I’d like to draft a quarterback every year. If we could find the right quarterback, those are very valuable.’’
Drafting quarterbacks hasn’t always worked out well for the Bears. Look no further than Rex Grossman and Cade McNown. But the Bears’ situation in 2014 is a far cry from what Grossman and McNown were thrust into years ago.
It all starts with Trestman, and it doesn’t involve using a first-round pick. Drafting one would be about development — a la Matt Blanchard’s run with the Bears. The idea of giving Trestman a quarterback to groom from Day 1 became more compelling after McCown’s success last year.
There’s a good chance the Bears keep three quarterbacks, too, because of Trestman’s preference for it, Cutler’s injury history and not having a specialized player (Devin Hester) on the roster.
The Bears won’t be in the hunt for Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Derek Carr — the consensus top four quarterbacks.
But Emery has been full of surprises when it comes to his drafts. Could this year’s surprise be selecting a quarterback sooner than expected?
Notable quarterbacks, including San Jose State’s David Fales or Georgia’s Aaron Murray, should be available late.
“The quarterback group, I don’t have any of these guys in my top 10 players,” NFL Network analyst and former scout Daniel Jeremiah said, “but there’s a lot of depth in the draft class.”
Off-the-field aspects will be closely considered when it comes to quarterbacks. Trestman wants all his quarterbacks to be “locker-room guys.”
“That meeting room is the most important office in the building,” Trestman said. “Everything is controlled by the energy in the building and the camaraderie in that room.”