- Offensive coordinator Mike Martz tells Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune that Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie and fifth round pick Nathan Enderle will be probably the three Bear quarterbacks on the roster in 2011:
“‘I am very comfortable with these three quarterbacks,’ Martz said when asked if the need for a veteran backup still exists. ‘Nathan will compete with Caleb for the backup position. I would expect that Caleb will end up being the guy, but Nathan is good enough to be that player.’”
I’m guessing that the fourth quarterback on the roster, Matt Gutierrez, must be feeling good about being all but eliminated from consideration in May.
Pompei also had this for those who say Enderle was a reach in the fifth round:
“Critics wondered why the Bears chose Enderle so high when they had other needs. Enderle represented good value in the fifth round. I had a fourth-round grade on Enderle based on opinions from three front-office men from other teams I spoke with prior to the draft.”
“Enderle doesn’t have a cannon like Cutler. That’s OK. The three things Martz prioritizes in a quarterback are accuracy, intelligence and toughness.”
Martz goes on to say that he doesn’t have to make mechanical changes with Enderle, and he played in a “very sophisticated offense” that asked him to do a lot of the things he will be asked to do with the Bears.
I’ll accept that Enderle might be competition for Hanie but the odds are very low that he’ll do so effectively if the lockout doesn’t end reasonably soon. Despite what Martz says, from what I can tell, Enderle has a lot of work to do shortening that occasionally long wind up of his.
- Evan Silva at ProfootballTalk.com/NBC Sports liked the Bears draft but couldn’t help himself:
“Nate Enderle took a boatload of sacks at Idaho, so he’ll fit right into Mike Martz’s system.”
- CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang liked the Bears later picks better than most:
“Free safety Chris Conte (California) was quietly viewed by some as the best developmental prospect of this year’s weak safety class. Speaking of developmental prospects, Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle, at 6-4, 240 pounds, has the build and arm strength well worthy of his fifth-round selection.”
- ESPN‘s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert notes with the selection of Conte that current Bears starter Chris Harris is entering the last year of his contract. He speculates that Conte may be seen as his long-term replacement.
- Clark Judge at CBSSports.com has some strong opinions about the draft. Let’s start with this one that will thrill most Bear fans to hear:
“Now, more than ever, I believe the Detroit Lions, not Chicago, is the team to challenge Green Bay in the NFC North. With Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh paired at defensive tackle, the Lions’ D-line becomes an extraordinary pass defense, while the addition of Titus Young gives the club an explosive wide receiver opposite Calvin Johnson. Yeah, I know, the Lions still need cornerbacks, but quarterbacks won’t have much time to exploit whoever is there. I’m already making Detroit this year’s sleeper, and there’s plenty of room on the bandwagon. This is a vastly improved team that won its last four starts — including one over Green Bay — and just beefed up an already impressive defensive line.”
- Dave Duerson‘s brain had “classic” and “moderately advanced” brain damage. Hopefully fans will think about this the next time they complain about the new NFL rules protecting players from head injuries.
- Rob Rang at CBSSports.com gives his thoughts on the draft:
- Seifert runs a poll which asks which NFC North team had the best draft. I doubt anyone will be surprised at who’s winning.
- John Mullin believes that the Lions drafted to improve at weak positions indirectly but fortifying their strengths:
“No. 1 pick Nick Fairley gives the Lions a potential tandem at defensive tackle, with Ndamokung Suh, that is the best not only in the NFC North, but in the NFL. Suh is the Lions’ best defensive player but Detroit strengthened that area in a way that also projects to aid the secondary with improved pass rush.”
Did anyone else notice how angry Fairley looked when they finally called his name? He wasn’t happy lasting to 13 after being projected so much higher in January. I would expect he’ll start trying to make the rest of the NFL pay for their doubt. (Picture from US Presswire)
- Tom Kowalski at mlive.com contrasts current GM Martin Mayhew‘s draft room with former GM Matt Millen‘s. He repeats this storry about the 2006 draft when the Lions were on the clock debating about whether to take guard Max Jean-Gilles. Kowalski doesn’t mention it explicitly but the first problem was that they hadn’t worked this out in advance rather than debating it for five minutes while actually on the clock. Here’s the second problem:
“The Lions spent so much time talking about Jean-Gilles that, when they decided not to draft him, they didn’t have another option ready to go. As they wondered what to do, a voice in the back of the room (the identity of which I haven’t confirmed yet) said ‘Take Brian Calhoun.’ So they did.
“In his two-year career in Detroit, Calhoun had 54 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards and never scored a touchdown.”
“Look, Mayhew isn’t going to be perfect and he’s going to whiff on some draft picks (cough, Derrick Williams, cough). But one of the tricks to a successful draft is limiting your mistakes by being thoroughly prepared. It’s one thing to miss, it’s another thing to not know what the hell you’re swinging at.”
- Judge continues to opine:
“Don’t tell me the lockout didn’t have an impact on this year’s draft because it did. I’ve never seen so many reaches, starting with Aldon Smith with the seventh pick of the first round, continuing with quarterbacks Jake Locker and Christian Ponder and moving through the bottom of the round, then on into the next two days. There were stretches everywhere, and I have to believe it was because clubs drafted for need. Usually, you hear “the-best-player-available” explanation for choices, but not this year. The past three days clubs gambled everywhere to fill needs they would have already solved through free agency or trades.”
- Judge also didn’t like what Seattle did (nor, as you will see, did I):
“The Seattle Seahawks allowed opponents to score 33 or more points in nine of their past 12 starts, including the playoffs, and ranked 25th in points allowed. So what do they do? Draft offense with three of their first four choices. Someone please explain.”
Not only did they take offense, they didn’t even take good offense, reaching for guard James Carpenter in the first round:
“OT James Carpenter to Seattle: Most people had him rated somewhere in the middle of the second round, yet the Seahawks took him with the 25th selection … with Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod still on the board. The Seahawks envision Carpenter as their next right tackle and say they love his versatility and nastiness. OK, I’ll buy that — just not at the 25th spot.”
How much of a reach was the selection of Carpenter? Even Alabama coach Nick Saban couldn’t believe it:
Finally, we have this from coach Pete Caroll:
“’We are happy with Charlie and hoping he is going to continue to flourish and blossom. I’m not feeling like we missed out on a quarterback opportunity’ — Seattle coach Pete Caroll on Charlie Whitehurst and the Seahawks’ failure to draft a quarterback.
Bottom line Caroll is starting to remind me why he didn’t make it with the Jets all those years ago. With him at the helm the Seahawks may have been as good last season as they’re going to be for a few years.
“I’ll tell you what I find intriguing about quarterback Blaine Gabbert: When the Washington Redskins had a chance to choose him they didn’t. Instead, coach Mike Shanahan traded out. Shanahan knows how to develop quarterbacks, and he needs a good young one in Washington. But instead of taking Gabbert after he unexpectedly lasted until the 10th pick, Shananan passed. Then he just avoided the position altogether, refusing to use any of his draft picks on a quarterback. Keep that in mind as Gabbert’s career unfolds”
The guess here is that Washington didn’t “avoid the position altogether” on purpose. They probably traded back thinking they could pick up Christian Ponder. The Vikings were rumored to like Jake Locker and the Redskins probably thought they’d pass on Ponder. They didn’t.
- Its Clark Judge here at the site. His uneasiness with Gabbert, however, did not stop him from talking one more time about the character of his opposite, Cam Newton:
“When one team held an audition for him, no receivers from Auburn showed up. You got to be kidding me. You’re Cam Newton, and you can’t get anyone from your offense to come to your workout?”
I’ve heard people say that Newton’s character concerns don’t necessarily translate to the field. I think this translates.
- Apparently it isn’t enough that Cam Newton is about to take Jimmy Clausen’s job. He also wants his jersey number. Via Joseph Person at the Charlotte Observer.
- Bob Sturm at the Dallas Morning News thinks the selection of Demarco Murray in the third round by the Cowboys means bad things for current runningback Felix Jones:
“With so many pressing needs on the roster, they still want to fix RB? And they get Murray who is best known for his ability to catch the ball (he had 71 receptions in 2010). This redundancy with Felix’s new-found catching ability is quite a statement.”
- Seifert contrasts Bears (former) “pool guy” Jarron Gilbert with Packers new “pool guy” Ricky Elmore:
“True, Elmore has posted videos of him both jumping out of a pool and into a truck on YouTube. But it’s also worth noting that Elmore actually had more production last season than his more-famous teammate, defensive end/linebacker Brooks Reed.”
Wonder how he would have done without Reed on the other side garnering the attention.
- Sturm also had this to say about the fact that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called Larry Lacewell, Butch Davis and Barry Switzer for advice on various picks:
“Previous draft disappointments haunt the Cowboys. And when Jerry tells us that he is not listening to his scouts, but more about how he listens to his old buddies about picks, then we should assume that the draft process has not changed very much. I needed Jerry to tell me that Tom Ciskowski and his staff have targeted this player and we trust them. Instead, he tells me that Switzer signed off on the Cowboys taking an Oklahoma RB.”
Amen. At least when Jerry Angelo stands in front of the media, he can tell you how much his coaches and area scouts whose business it is to watch these prospects for months and years like the picks and why.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No matter what else you think of them, thank heavens the Bears have ownership that doesn’t interfere with the day-to-day running of the personnel department. Generally speaking it is a route to disaster long term for any franchise.
- The guys at The Sports Pickle ask “Who had the best NFL draft?” Here’s one potential choice that doesn’t surprise though the reason might:
“Detroit Lions — Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh give the Lions two young, strong players who can help carry Matthew Stafford off the field when he’s injured”
- The Sports Pickle also took the oportunity to review some of the more interesting draft philosophies for the teams around the league. Here’s a sample:
One Final Thought
Finally Judge welcomes Patrick Peterson to the NFL with this sarcastic response to a quote from him:
“‘Everybody loves the game of football. I can’t see the world without it. How do you think the world would be without it?’ — Arizona CB Patrick Peterson. I dunno, Patrick, but why don’t you ask the people who survived the 57-day strike in 1982. Better yet, ask someone in Libya.”
I’ll tell you exactly how they the world will be. Full of people surprising themselves by finding better things to do on Sunday. NFL beware.