By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) In hindsight, we probably could have put all that time to more productive use, those countless hours we spent talking about the Bears’ draft options at the quarterback position. It was a lot of wasted air.
But this was general manager Ryan Pace with nine picks at his disposal going in, with possibilities ranging from an unlikely move at No. 11 overall to any number of permutations as the weekend’s talent buffet continued. It’s the same Pace who said one year ago, “It’s a good idea to draft a quarterback every year. You can take a swing every year at it and increase your odds.”
Except when you don’t, I guess.
All those names for all those weeks – Paxton Lynch, Connor Cook, Kevin Hogan, Dak Prescott, Christian Hackenberg and even later Brandon Allen and Josh Woodrum – and then it was none of them. Not in the first round Thursday, not on Friday, not on Saturday and not with any college free agents. Not in a house, not with a mouse, not in a box, not for John Fox. He did not like them here or there, did not like them anywhere.
It’s Jay Cutler continuing on his now-reasonable contract, backed up by Brian Hoyer. There’s nobody developing behind him yet, even as a longer-term project. Bears quarterbacking is fully in the moment, with nothing more to see here.
The story of the whole draft for the Bears turned out to be the overall flexibility of all the new pieces, giving the coaching staff all kinds of deployment options all over the field. If I have this right, they now have an edge rusher who has played in multiple alignments (even including defensive back), a left guard who played right guard and left tackle and a defensive end who has also played tackle and will play inside on nickel packages. And that was just after the first two days.
On the last one, the Bears added an inside linebacker who has played weak-side, middle and strong-side; a free safety with experience at strong safety; a cornerback/safety/receiver/punt returner/kick returner; a running back; a safety/cornerback/special teams ace; and then Daniel Braverman, who made no appearance in either draft guide at my disposal.
Braverman’s the perfect new pet for Bears fans who for years have disproportionately adored small, white receivers. If the term Bravermaniacs has yet to be minted, I’m doing it now, anticipating an outpouring of support for the kid trying to become the NFL player whose name sounds better suited for team dentist.
The Bears are even newly deep at Diondre’/DeAndre and added a Deon for good measure. So there’s that.
Come to think of it, this entire draft is a sports radio heaven or hell – here in the city that spent years trying to move Chris Zorich to linebacker, Charles Tillman to safety and any number of players somewhere else. Every Bob from Elmwood Park might end up being right at this point, because so many options are in play up and down the roster.
So here we go with rookie mini-camp in two weeks, and it’s all on the table as far as who fits where, doing what. It’s football Boggle, with the Bears’ decision-makers shaking it up, watching it settle and then having to determine some reason and structure in all of it.
We’ll see what Foxy from Lake Forest, Pigskin Ryan and Sideline Vic have for us soon enough.