The Bears lost Josh McCown this off-season and let Adam Podlesh go, but they may have found their replacements.
With two sixth-round picks under their belt, the Bears selected San Jose State quarterback David Fales at No. 183 and Miami punter Pat O’Donell at No. 191. The Bears still have one more selection left in the seventh round at No. 246 in the final day of the draft.
The 6-2, 212 pounder went 17-8 in two seasons as a starter at San Jose State. Fales tossed 8,382 passing yards and 66 touchdowns. He completed 68.1 percent of his passes, which included an impressive nation leading 72.8 completion percentage in 2012.
Fales recorded 33 touchdowns in both seasons, while throwing 22 interceptions in that span. He finished the season with three games with five touchdowns or more including a six-touchdown, 547-yard performance against Fresno State in the final game of the year.
“I don’t know if I’m ready immediately,” Fales said at the NFL Combine. “It’s a whole ‘nother speed, and that’s something you’ve got to adapt to. But I’ve been able to adapt at all levels, so I feel like, again at the next level, I can adapt and learn and pick up the game pretty quick.”
Fales is a smart leader, who is passionate about the game of football and served as a team captain as a senior. He came over in 2012 from Monterey Peninsula junior College.
The biggest knock on his game is his height and arm strength, those could both be reasons why he lasted until the sixth round. Fales becomes Marc Trestman’s first real developmental project.
He comes from a pro style offense at San Jose State and should be given time to develop behind Jordan Palmer at the No. 3 spot. Even if he ends up as just a career backup, he provides good value at a position in need of depth in the sixth round for the Bears.
O’Donnell’s Got A Leg
The first specialist went to the Bears at No. 191 with University of Miami punter Pat O’Donnell.
The 6-4, 220 pound O’Donnell ran the fastest 40-yard dash by a kicker or punter at the NFL Combine since 2006 with a 4.64. He also led all specialists with 23 reps on the bench press and a 30.5 inch vertical.
His 23 reps on the bench press were two more than No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney.
He transferred to Miami in 2013, booting 53 punts for an average of 47.1-yard average which ranked second in the nation. He also had 11 punts inside the 20 and 23 punts of 50 yards or more. He recorded a punt of 50 yards or more in eight consecutive games.
Prior to coming to Miami, O’Donnell averaged 41.4-yard average on punts in four seasons at Cincinnati. He recorded 57 punts that landed inside the 20-yard line and 34 punts of 50 yards or more.
A lifelong soccer player, O’Donnell earned honors as First-team All-ACC pick in 2013 and First-team All-Big East in 2011.
The right-legged O’Donnell has a big leg and can come in and serve as a holder on field goals and extra points as well as a solid kickoff man. He booted 37 touchbacks in 79 attempts in 2013.
It sounds like he can improve his directional punting and if he can he could be the best punter since Brad Maynard, who made big plays with his leg for a long time with the Bears from 2001-2010.
“The NFL is mostly a directional scheme, and I definitely have been working on that part of my game,” O’Donnell said in a team teleconference on Saturday.
He also added that he has a “good amount” of experience punting in “different environments” at Miami and Cincinnati.
Emery continues to add areas of need with these two picks of a quarterback in Fales and a punter in O’Donnell. The earlier picks of running back Carey and safety Brock Vereen were also solid moves.
You have to like what Emery has been doing. It certainly sets the Bears up for a bright future with a nice mix of young and veteran players.
The Bears still have one more pick in the 2014 draft: seventh round (No. 246 selection).
Here is the rest of the full mock draft I wrote up on Thursday that breaks down all seven Bears picks, 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Chicago Bears Edition. Also, take a look at the analysis of the Kyle Fuller selection at No. 14 from the first-round.