Reaction To The Bears' Day 1 Pick, Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller
Reaction To The Bears' Day 2 Picks, LSU DT Ego Ferguson & ASU DT Will Sutton
The Chicago Bears concluded their 2014 NFL Draft action on Sunday by selecting Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey (pick 117 overall) and Minnesota safety Brock Vereen (pick 131 overall) in the fourth round, San Jose State quarterback David Fales (pick 183) and Miami punter Pat O'Donnnell (191) in the sixth round, and Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. (246) in the seventh round.
Carey was the Bears' first offensive selection in this draft, after selecting cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round, defensive tackle Ego Ferguson in the second round, and defensive tackle Will Sutton in the third round. Carey was a force at Arizona, being named a first-team All-American twice, and was the PAC-12 Offensive Player of The Year. The 5'9", 207-pounder ran for a ridiculous 3,814 yards and 42 touchdowns over his last two seasons, and had 476 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns over that time.
Carey doesn't have great breakaway speed (4.70 40-yard dash), but is an instinctive slasher that will wow you with his cuts and ability to gain extra yards after contact. He is also very secure with the football, fumbling just six times in 793 touches at Arizona.
The former Wildcat is a very solid all-around back, much like the man he may serve as the primary backup for the Bears at running back, Matt Forte. Marc Trestman made it clear over the offseason that if the Bears added a running back to compete for the backup position with second-year-to-be running back Michael Ford, he would have to be a quality pass blocker, and Carey was considered one of the best pass-blocking backs in this draft. He is also a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield.
Carey has drawn some Ahmad Bradshaw comparisons, and I thought that 670 The Score's Dan Durkin made a nice Carey comp on Twitter:
a comparison that comes to mind with ka'deem carey is charlie garner. carey isn't as fast, but tough runners with great balance and vision.Right now, the bet here would be that Carey will be the Bears' No. 2 running back in 2014 due to his all-around game, although the Bears are very high on Ford as well (and Ford was very impressive last preseason as an undrafted rookie out of LSU). It will be a nice camp battle to watch, and the Bears now have some very nice depth, as well as talented youth, at the position. And keep in mind that Forte turns 29 in December, so it's possible that one of these young backs could be the Bears' starting back in the next couple of years.
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) May 11, 2014
For you fantasy football players, Carey makes sense as a late-round stash, especially as a Forte handcuff. With his all-around game, Carey would likely put up very good fantasy numbers in Trestman's offense.
Coming into the draft, the highest perceived positional need for the Bears was the safety position. Phil Emery talked in his pre-draft press conference about how there was a pretty big drop-off from the top few safeties in this draft class to the next tier. It appears that that the rest of the league agreed with Emery, as four safeties were selected in the first round, but only two were selected combined in rounds two and three.
The Bears still wanted to address the position in the draft; they just didn't want to reach for need over players they valued more in the early rounds. But, going into day three, the Bears decided they wanted to address running back (Carey) and safety. And not just address those areas, but get players they were very high on:
"Before the day started, when we looked at our board, we really felt that if we were going to get two quality players in the last day of the draft—particularly at running back and safety—that we were going to have to trade back into the fourth [round]," said general manager Phil Emery.
"From the start of the day, we were trying to line up opportunities to take our fifth round [pick] and move it into the back end of the fourth, so we could come away with two quality players. We really felt that if we waited until the fifth round for that second player, they wouldn't be there."Source: ChicagoBears.Com
The safety they were highest on of remaining players available was Minnesota's Brock Vereen:
Brock Vereen was the top safety on the #Bears board when Day 3 opened.So, the Bears took Carey with the 117th overall pick, and then made a trade with the Denver Broncos to move up to the 131st pick to snag Vereen. The Bears gave up their 2014 fifth-round pick (156) and a fifth-round pick in 2015, for the pick to select Vereen and a seventh-round pick in 2014 (in which they used to draft Boise State OL Charles Leno Jr.).
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) May 11, 2014
Vereen, the brother of New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen, is a 6'0", 199-pound versatile defensive back. Although listed as a safety, Vereen also started several games at cornerback at Minnesota, and many evaluators think he'd make a solid slot corner in the NFL. But, the Bears like him at safety:
"We feel that will be his best pro position," Emery said. "He certainly has the physical tools for it in terms of the athletic upside. He certainly has the mind for it in terms of his football and his instincts. And he certainly has the toughness for it. He has good experience under his belt. He's been a productive player and we're looking forward to his contributions at safety."One of the main question marks about Vereen as an NFL safety is in regards to his size, but Emery isn't too worried about that:
"The game has changed," Emery said. "It's important that those athletes can cover athletes in space, so that helps a lot. I don't see it as a negative. He's very strong-I think he had 25 reps at 225 [pounds]-and he's a really good tackler, so I don't see his size as a deterrent.
The Bears' starting safety rotation is up for grabs, with Vereen joining Chris Conte, Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings, Danny McCray, and Craig Steltz as safeties on the roster. None of those guys are clear starters, and Conte may not even be healthy for the start of the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery. So, Vereen will have a chance in camp to show he deserves to start or at least be a serious part of the rotation in 2014, and regardless, he may be a contributor on special teams as he was a gunner at Minnesota.
Phil Emery said at his pre-draft press conference that the idea you find a quarterback late in the draft to develop into an eventual starter doesn't "hold water", after he did a lot of studying on the subject. Now, that was for an eventual starting quarterback; he wasn't necessarily saying you couldn't find a quality backup quarterback in the later rounds. Basically his point was that franchise quarterbacks are guys usually found in the first few rounds.
So, the Bears weren't out searching for an eventual replacement for Jay Cutler in this draft, but finding a guy to at least compete with the 30-year-old Jordan Palmer (who has just 15 career pass attempts) for the primary backup quarterback position certainly made a lot of sense. And the Bears found that guy with their sixth-round pick in San Jose State quarterback David Fales.
I have seen a lot of Fales over the last few years as I'm a Colorado State fan and San Jose State is also in the Mountain West, and I've always been impressed with him. Rewind a year ago at this time and I would've guessed he was selected in the first four rounds of the draft.
The main reasons Fales slid to the sixth round are his arm strength not being great, his deep ball accuracy not being great, and his size (6'2", 212). But as you'll see in the above videos, Fales still has nice zip and accuracy on passes under 30 yards (he actually led the nation in completion percentage in 2012 at 72.5%). You're just unlikely to air it out with him, but we saw Josh McCown do tremendously under Trestman in fashion similar to Fales' game. Quick, accurate throws and getting enough zip on those intermediate routes (it also helps when you have Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett catching your passes).
Dan Durkin (again) offered a comp I agree with for Fales:
@DaBearNecess like fales’ game also. been a fan since 2012. reminds me of jon kitna. mobile, accurate on run, ok starter, ideal back-up.
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) May 11, 2014
PUNTERS ARE PEOPLE TOO! And the Bears kept that in mind in their draft by taking Miami's Pat O'Donnell in the sixth round.
The pick got some "Seriously, a punter?" reactions from fans, but I'm just fine with the pick.
Adam Podlesh has been brutal over the last couple of years, and the odds of a sixth-round pick usually being very productive are not large anyway. So, you get a guy that you know you will have use for (although hopefully the Bears aren't punting much), and a guy that is figures to be an upgrade over the punter you had last year (and possibly a large upgrade). And at a cheap price for the next four years. Works for me.
O'Donnell set the Hurricanes' single-season punting record with a 47.1 yards per punt average in 2013, and had 23 punts of 50+ yards. He is also an athletic freak for a punter, listed at 6'4", 220 pounds, and ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at the Combine. He also did 23 reps on the bench-press at 225 pounds. So don't be surprised to see him make a few tackles, and a fake punt or two may be in the future for this guy as well.
Charles Leno Jr.
The Bears used the seventh-round pick acquired from the Broncos to select Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. Leno started 26 games at left tackle for Boise State in 2012-2013, and 13 games at right tackle in 2011.
Many evaluators also think the 6'4", 303-pound Leno could make for a solid guard in the NFL. So, Leno offers versatility on the offensive line and that's something that certainly appealed to Emery and the Bears. Leno should be a nice developmental prospect for a Bears team that is already set on the offensive line for 2014, and appears to be a very nice value in the seventh round.