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Six-round pick David Fales figures to provide competition at backup QB

San Jose State quarterback David Fales (10) warms up before Fresno State NCAA college football game Friday Nov. 29 2013

San Jose State quarterback David Fales (10) warms up before Fresno State NCAA college football game on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

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Updated: June 12, 2014 7:09AM



Every quarterback drafted in the sixth round hopes to be the next Tom Brady. But the Bears are only looking for the next Josh McCown.

By general manager Phil Emery’s own standard, San Jose State quarterback David Fales — taken by the Bears in the sixth round (183rd overall) on Saturday — comes in with modest expectations.

“I don’t see it as we’re drafting a starter,” Emery said. “I see it as we’re drafting a player that is going to compete for a roster spot — and it’s important to have competition as a backup.”

Jay Cutler is entrenched as the Bears’ starter after signing a seven-year, $126 million contract that will keep him here for at least the next three seasons. But Cutler suffered injuries each of the last four years, missing 13 games in that span. A quality backup is imperative.

That’s where Fales comes in. The 6-1, 228-pound Salinas, California, native has the kind of “functional arm strength” and superior accuracy that makes him a good candidate to succeed in a pinch in coach Marc Trestman’s offense — just as McCown did last season. Fales led the nation in completion percentage as a junior (72.5 percent), was fourth in total offense as a senior (349.7 yards per game). In two seasons at San Jose State, Fales threw for 8,382 yards, 66 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

Emery sent quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh for one final first-hand look at Fales late last week, which confirmed their original assessment.

“The tape told us the rest,” Trestman said. “Here’s a guy that has shown an inventory of passes, has shown toughness [and] courage, an ability to make quick decisions with a compact throwing motion and we’re excited about having him.”

Fales has just about everything except the big arm.

“My mechanics are pretty consistent — and my anticipation and accuracy I feel like are consistent,” Fales said when asked about his best skills. “And I do a good job of giving my receivers the best chance to make a play. And my footwork as well.”

In an ironic twist, Fales will be battling for the backup job against the quarterback who helped get him here — current Bears No. 2 quarterback Jordan Palmer. Fales has worked with Palmer in preparation for the NFL over the last year, including the Senior Bowl in January and prior to the draft. ­Jerrod Johnson is the other quarterback on the Bears’ roster.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to compete and learn from Jay and work with Jordan and Jerrod and learn from coach [Aaron] Kromer, coach Cavanaugh and coach Trestman,” Fales said. “I can’t wait.

“I think [Palmer] will always be a mentor. I’m always picking his brain. We have a great relationship, so I’m looking forward to working with him and competing … and getting better. I’m excited.”

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash



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