Veteran QB Brian Hoyer joins Bears along with slew of undrafted rookies

Veteran QB Brian Hoyer joins Bears along with slew of undrafted rookies
Stephen Paea and Lance Briggs pressure the Cardinals' Brian Hoyer in the 4th quarter.of a game on Dec. 23, 2012 (Scott Strazzante/McClatchy-Tribune)

The Bears had a very busy Saturday with the selection of six players between the fourth to seventh round. Following the end of the draft process, the team didn’t stop working. They added a veteran quarterback in Brian Hoyer and a chunk of undrafted free agents.

First with Hoyer, the 30-year-old Michigan State product was released by Houston on April 17th. On Saturday evening, he landed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Bears. Two teams, he visited after his departure from the Texans, the New York Jets and Denver Broncos each drafted quarterbacks, so Hoyer wasn’t needed there.

Hoyer was a strict backup in his first three seasons in New England with Tom Brady at the helm, but he’s made 26 starts over the last four seasons between Arizona, Cleveland and Houston. The 6’3″, 215-pounder owns a 15-11 career record. Over the past two seasons, he’s made 22 starts for the Browns and Texans where he’s thrown for 5,932 yards, 31 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

Originally, an undrafted free agent in 2009, he has 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in 43 games. In his lone game against the Bears in Dec. 2012, he completed 11 of 19 pass attempts for 105 yards and a pick with Arizona.

His release by Houston wasn’t a surprise after they signed Brock Osweiler to a monster contract. Plus, Hoyer struggled mightily in the AFC Wild Card Round with 136 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions in a 30-0 loss to Kansas City.

In Cleveland, Hoyer spent 2014 under the eye of then quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains. Loggains, of course, is the new Bears’ offensive coordinator with Adam Gase now in Miami.

“He’s a pro,” Loggains told WKYC on Oct. 5, 2014. “I had an opportunity to coach a couple of these guys like Kerry Collins and Matt Hasselbeck, and I would put him in that group of the guy’s a pro. Football’s very important to him.

“Outside of his family, I’m probably — I hate to put words in his mouth — but my assumption is it’s probably the most important thing in his life.”

Hoyer is not a stud by any terms, but he’s a reliable backup who can step in and perform in a pinch. He’s smart and should provide leadership as the No. 2 quarterback behind Jay Cutler much like Josh McCown did for a couple seasons. Hoyer is a clear upgrade over last year’s backup Jimmy Clausen.

It appears next year’s crop of quarterbacks will represent an option for the Bears to grab a development player.

Undrafted rookies

Here is the reported list:

TE Joe Sommers (Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
TE Ben Braunecker (Harvard)
OL Dan Buchholz (Duquesne)
OL Adrian Bellard (Texas State)
OL John Kling (Buffalo)
LB Don Cherry (Villanova)
DE/LB Roy Robertson-Harris (UTEP)
DE Nate Meier (Iowa)
CB Kevin Peterson (Oklahoma State)
CB Taveze Calhoun (Mississippi State)
WR Darrin Peterson (Liberty)

TE Joe Sommers

The 6’3″, 240-pounder totaled 87 receptions for 1,384 yards and seven touchdowns in four games at Division-III Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He’ll compete for the No. 3 tight end spot.

TE Ben Braunecker

A 6’4″, 240 lb tight end, Braunecker was seen often on ESPN on Saturday, but never got the call from any team. At Harvard, he totaled 68 receptions, 1,168 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a senior, his line was 48-850-7. Not too shabby. Braunecker grew up five hours south of Chicago in Ferdinand, Ind.

OL Dan Buchholz

He started 34 of 45 games played for the Dukes in four years, all at left tackle. The 6’4″, 301-pounder played his junior and senior seasons in high school with a torn labrum in his shoulder, per NFL Draft Diamonds. This kid sounds very tough.

OL Adrian Bellard

A big tackle at 6’5″, 314 lbs, Bullard made 36 consecutive starts at left tackle for Texas State after serving as a backup as a freshman.

OL John Kling

Going by the nickname ‘Kling Kong’, Kling stands at 6’7″, 315 lbs. He started all 12 games as a senior at left tackle after serving as a swing tackle as a sophomore and a starting right tackle as a junior.

LB Don Cherry

Lining up as an inside linebacker, Cherry is listed at 6’1″, 240 lbs. He totaled 258 tackles (46.5 for a loss), 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and seven pass breakups in four seasons for the Wildcats.

DE/LB Roy Robertson-Harris

If you thought Leonard Floyd was lengthy for a linebacker well Robertson-Harris is even taller at 6’7″, 255 lbs. He started 33 games at UTEP, totaling 138 tackles (23 for a loss), six sacks, nine pass deflections and two fumble recoveries in 47 appearances. He had a fifth round grade by

DE/LB Nate Meier

A former all-state running back in high school, Meier started out as a linebacker before moving to defensive end as a sophomore at Iowa. The 6’2″, 252-pounder totaled 139 tackles (17.5 for a loss), 9.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in four seasons for the Hawkeyes, two as a starter.

CB Kevin Peterson

The 5’11”, 190-pounder projects as a slot corner. He is thick, physical at the point of attack and very smart. Peterson had five interceptions along with 143 tackles (nine for a loss), 23 pass breakups and a fumble recovery as a three-year starter. He ran a 4.66-second 40-yard dash which hurt his stock.

CB Taveze Calhoun

A three-year starter at Mississippi State, he totaled 161 tackles (12 for a loss), six interceptions, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 50 appearances, 36 starts. The 6’1″, 180-pound corner also had 23 pass breakups in his time there, including a team-best 10 as a senior.

WR Darrin Peterson

A 6’2″, 190 lb target, Peterson totaled 3,154 yards and 27 touchdowns on 214 receptions (14.7 average) at Liberty. He had an 80-plus yard reception each of the last three seasons, averaging just over 1,000 yards per year. His junior stat line (85-1,379-12) is very impressive.

Thoughts on the signing of Brian Hoyer and these 10 undrafted rookies?

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