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LAKE FOREST – Jay Cutler will not have to look over his shoulder this fall.
Well, Cutler can look over his shoulder if he wants, but he apparently won’t find a young quarterback with designs on winning his job in the years ahead.
The Bears wrapped up the NFL draft Saturday by selecting a linebacker, an offensive tackle, a defensive end and a wide receiver in rounds 4 through 7. By trading down 10 spots in Round 5, they were able to add a seventh-round pick from the Atlanta Falcons.
We’ll have to wait until training camp in Bourbonnais to see how the rookie class measures up, but most observers seemed to think that the Bears had a decent overall draft. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said the Bears “hit a bunch of really solid doubles,” which probably made the Cubs feel more than a little bit jealous.
The Bears’ final draft haul included:
• Round 1: Kyle Long, OG, Oregon
• Round 2: Jon Bostic, LB, Florida
• Round 4: Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers
• Round 5: Jordan Mills, OT, Louisiana Tech
• Round 6: Cornelius Washington, DE, Georgia
• Round 7: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington St.
You’ll notice the absence of a quarterback on that list.
Even though a rookie quarterback likely would not have taken a single regular-season snap for the Bears in 2013, I was hoping that the Bears would select one in the middle rounds. Marc Trestman has a reputation for working with quarterbacks, so why not draft one?
Best case, the Bears could have found Cutler’s successor or gained a valuable trade chip in the long run. Worst case, they could have drafted the next Dan LeFevour or Nathan Enderle, and they could have cut their losses and tried again in a year or two.
Clearly, Cutler is the No. 1 quarterback on the lakefront. The Bears would like that to be the case for quite some time. But Cutler will turn 30 Monday, and his contract is due to expire after this season, and anything can happen in the crazy universe of the NFL.
Behind Cutler is Josh McCown, who was born on the Fourth of July almost 34 years ago. McCown was a street free agent before the Bears brought him back last year.
Behind McCown is Lake Zurich’s Matt Blanchard, who spent last season on the Bears’ practice squad after a college career at Wisconsin-Whitewater. He’s a guy worth rooting for, but if he has NFL ability, why did no other team add him to their 53-man roster in 2012?
All in all, it was a weird year for the draft. Typically, quarterbacks and other glamour positions go early while the big fellas on the offensive and defensive line wait around. But this marked “the year of the fat guys,” as Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod joked on Twitter.
Bushrod was right.
If you stand 6-foot-5 or so and weigh 300-plus pounds, this was a year for celebration.
If you happen to play quarterback, this was a year for patience. A lot … of … patience.
Florida State’s E.J. Manuel was the only quarterback selected in Round 1, going to the Buffalo Bills at No. 16. West Virginia’s Geno Smith was the lone quarterback to be drafted in Round 2, joining the traveling circus that is the New York Jets, and North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon went to Tampa Bay as the only third-round quarterback.
A slow start gave way to a run – no, a sprint – on quarterbacks early in Round 4.
The Philadelphia Eagles traded up to select USC quarterback Matt Barkley with the first pick of the fourth round. Barkley could have been a first-rounder a year ago but stayed in school.
As the Bears waited for their fourth-round selection, the New York Giants traded up to select Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. Two picks later, the Oakland Raiders traded up to select Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson. Three picks after that, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones.
Emery said the Bears might have looked at quarterback if they had an abundance of picks. However, without that surplus, he chose to focus on bigger needs at other positions.
“I don’t know how practical that was,” Emery said of selecting a quarterback. “It had to be the right value for the team. Things would have to line up perfect to take a quarterback with five picks.”
So Emery focused elsewhere, where he hit a lot of doubles.
Let’s hope the pitcher stays healthy.
• Northwest Herald sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @tcmusick.