Fales will battle mentor to back up Cutler

  • Sixth-round draft pick David Fales went 17-8 as a two-year starter at QB for San Jose State.

    Sixth-round draft pick David Fales went 17-8 as a two-year starter at QB for San Jose State. Associated Press/February 2014

Updated 5/10/2014 11:05 PM

Quarterback David Fales, the sixth-round pick from San Jose State, has a history with current Bears backup Jordan Palmer, who briefly mentored Fales during the pre-draft process.

Now they'll be competing for the backup job behind Jay Cutler, although Fales believes he will continue to learn from Palmer.


"I think he'll always be a mentor," Fales said. "I'm always picking his brain. We have a great relationship, so I'm looking forward to working with and competing with him."

Knocks on Fales include a lack of size and arm strength, but he went 17-8 as a two-year starter at San Jose State and he led the nation with a 72.5 completion percentage as a junior.

"I definitely think my mechanics are pretty consistent and my anticipation and accuracy are consistent, and my footwork as well," he said. "And I do a good job of giving my receivers the best chance to make a play."

Bears general manager Phil Emery said Fales will get a fair shot in the competition, which also includes longshot first-year player Jerrod Johnson. Although Palmer is a five-year veteran, he's never started an NFL game and has thrown just 15 regular-season passes.

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"We need to increase the competition for a backup spot," Emery said. "We sent (quarterbacks coach) Matt Cavanaugh out to work (Fales) out late last week, and Matt came away very impressed. We expect David to come in and compete with Jordan and Jarrod for a position on our roster. Best player wins."

Not just a specialist:

Sixth-round punter Pat O'Donnell posted some impressive Scouting Combine numbers, including a 4.64 40-yard dash and 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.

"It helps me get some respect, be one of the guys, work out with them," he said. "If need be, I'll jump in there and make a tackle."

O'Donnell's 40 time is faster than running back Ka'Deem Carey, the Bears' fourth-round pick, who ran a 4.69; and O'Donnell did almost twice as many reps on the bench press as the Bears' first-round pick, cornerback Kyle Fuller, who did 12.


After spending four years at Cincinnati, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound O'Donnell transferred to Miami to be close to home and his father, who was undergoing treatment for cancer, which is now in remission.

"It was a no-brainer for me to come down and support him as he was battling through that," O'Donnell said. "And it was a good opportunity at Miami. They had just graduated a punter."

O'Donnell's competition for the Bears' job, which has been vacant since veteran Adam Podlesh was released in March, includes Drew Butler and Tress Way, neither of whom has punted in the NFL.

"We felt (O'Donnell) was the best punter in this draft," Phil Emery said. "(He's) a remarkable athlete, huge leg; he's got linebacker stats in terms of the physical upside and the body type and that's what you look for."

Swinging a deal:

The trade that allowed the Bears to select safety Brock Vereen at the end of the fourth round sent this year's fifth-round pick (156th overall) and next year's fifth-rounder to the Denver Broncos.

The Bears also picked up Denver's seventh-round pick (246th overall) in this year's draft, which they used to select Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr., a three-year starter. Leno played his last two seasons at left tackle.

"We really need a person that has left tackle experience who can provide a quality backup (to Jermon Bushrod) at that position," Phil Emery said.


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