--Because first-round draft pick Gabe Carimi played his home games just two hours away at the University of Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium, the Bears had many opportunities to see him play in person and get to know him as a player and a person. And no one had more opportunities to get to know Carimi than Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice, whose son Nate is a backup quarterback at Wisconsin.
"He's been an outstanding player at Wisconsin for four years," Tice said of the 6-7, 314-pound Carimi. "He's gotten better every year; he's gotten tougher every year, too. It's nice to have another guy in the building who's as big as I am. And that's what we're trying to do; we're trying to get bigger. We got a very good football player with a great track record. The tape doesn't lie."
Tice said the Bears had Carimi rated as their fourth-best offensive lineman, although he was the seventh O-lineman and fifth offensive tackle picked. Despite some discussion, it's a virtual lock that he will be plugged in at one of the tackle spots.
"I think he's an outside player, personally," Tice said.
--Offensive coordinator Mike Martz found a lot to like about Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle when he worked him out before the draft - enough that the Bears made him their fifth-round pick (160th overall).
QB Nathan Enderle
Joe Nicholson/US Presswire
"Coach Martz had a real strong conviction on him, and we agreed with the traits that he saw," Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell said. "This guy looks good coming off the bus. He has the attributes, he has the traits that Mike's looking for at the position, so it was a good consensus.
"He's a big guy, he's got a very strong arm, he's a very intelligent man, and an intelligent quarterback. He didn't have the stats his senior year, (because they) lost a lot of guys from the year before. Coach Martz really kind of fell for the kid in terms of the intangibles that he brings."
The 6-4, 240-pound Enderle was a four-year starter who struggled along with the Vandals' program, going 17-29 as a starter. After completing 61.5 percent of his throws as a junior with 22 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions to lead the Vandals to an 8-5 record, Enderle completed just 56.7 percent of his throws last season with 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
The Vandals' '09 season was their first winning campaign in 11 years.
"It's going to be different, but it's going to be good for me," he said. "I can really work on fixing some things that I want to fix and that need to be fixed, and that's going to give me the opportunity to do that. And then to really come in and learn the playbook and really prepare myself and get myself in a position where if I need to (play), I can."
--The selection of is evidence that the Bears weren't just paying lip service to the concept of developing their own quarterbacks, even though wide receiver and linebacker may have been more pressing needs. They also wanted to avoid last year's situation when they were forced to add 38-year-old veteran Todd Collins late in the preseason when Hanie was injured.
"The value of the (quarterback) position (superseded) everything else in terms of other players at that point," Angelo said. "We want to develop our own quarterbacks, and we want to stay with that plan. We hit a speed bump last year, and we just felt like the plan is in place, and we feel very good with him coming on board."
LB J.T. Thomas
Charles LeClaire/US Presswire
--Sixth-round pick J.T. Thomas (No. 195 overall) will probably have to earn his way onto the roster by playing special teams, which is OK with him.
"I played on every special teams (unit) at West Virginia University," he said. "When I was younger, I played a lot of different special teams. As I got older, I was a little more valuable to the team, so I didn't play as many, but I was always on the punt coverage team and punt block team."
The 6-1, 241-pounder could be coming into a favorable situation since the Bears have only two linebackers under contract, although that will change whenever free agency begins.
"He fits us perfectly," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. "He can play all three (linebacker) positions. He played multiple roles at West Virginia. We spent a lot of time (evaluating) him. We saw him at an all-star game, and he got hurt during that practice week, but we feel very, very good about his fit. Picking up a linebacker was a goal (Saturday), and he was the right one."
--Commissioner Roger Goodell encouraged the Bears to compensate the Ravens with a draft pick for the Thursday snafu that would have had the Bears and Baltimore swapping first-round picks.
The Ravens would also have gotten the Bears' fourth-round pick for moving back three spots from 26 to 29. But because of miscommunication in the Bears' draft room, the swap was never called in to the league, and the confusion caused the Ravens to go past their allotted time and move back to 27. But losing the fourth-round pick they thought they had was what fueled their anger.
"That (report) was accurate," Angelo said. "But they have rules when you do something wrong, not when people make mistakes, and a mistake was made. No rules were broken, so let's just make that clear."
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