Bears Take Idaho Quarterback In 5th Round
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Considering the Chicago Bears picked near the end of each round of the NFL draft, general manager Jerry Angelo on Saturday thought he did a reasonable job filling team needs.
“All these players fit the prototype of what we were looking for at their positions,” Angelo said after the three-day draft concluded Saturday. “Some of them will give us quality depth. And some will make an impact on special teams. Given that, I think that’s the best we can do given the hand that we were dealt. It’s a very tough hand when you’re picking at the bottom of the round.”
The Bears closed out their draft by picking another backup quarterback in Round 5, Idaho’s Nathan Enderle. They also added to a thin linebacker corps with sixth-round pick J.T. Thomas of West Virginia.
The Bears took offensive tackle Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin with their first pick, Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea in Round 2 and California safety Chris Conte in Round 3.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s influence was important in the decision to draft a quarterback. Martz had worked out Enderle and came away impressed with the 6-foot-4, 234-pounder.
“He’s done a good job over the years if you look at his track record, on guys that maybe were not in the highest tier,” Bears player personnel director Tim Ruskell said of Martz. “But he’s done a really good job of finding these guys and developing these guys. So that certainly weighs into the decision.”
Enderle said Martz left an impression at their pre-draft workout.
“It was awesome when he came out there,” Enderle said. “You can just tell he has so much football knowledge and really kind of started to tweak with my drop and a few things that I was doing physically just while he was out there. He seems like a really good coach and someone that I would love to work with.”
Enderle threw 16 interceptions and 22 TD passes in 2010 a year after throwing 22 TD passes and only nine interceptions while leading Idaho to a win in the Humanitarian Bowl.
With Caleb Hanie behind starter Jay Cutler, the Bears had a need for a third quarterback. Todd Collins is a free agent and his 5.9 passer rating last year makes it probable he won’t be back.
The Bears do plan to take four quarterbacks to training camp, but Angelo said he has no plan to get a veteran for one of those spots. Former Patriots quarterback Matt Gutierrez is also under contract for 2011.
The Bears needed bodies at linebacker. Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are the only players at the position under contract. Nick Roach, Pisa Tinoisamoa, Brian Iwuh, and Rod Wilson are all free agents.
Thomas, who is 6-1, 241 pounds, has played in a scheme similar to the Bears’ while at West Virginia.
“He fits us perfectly, can play all three positions,” Angelo said. “He played multi-roles there in West Virginia. “Picking up a linebacker was a goal today if he was the right one and we felt real good about J.T.”
Angelo had come into the draft hoping to find four starters. He wasn’t predicting anything so bold Saturday, but did say, “All these players should make our football team.”
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