Emery not sold on "developmental" QBs

Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery says he's happy with the club's backup quarterbakcs and poured cold water on the idea of drafting a late-round, developmental signal caller.

Many folks in and around the NFL believe a "pipeline" system should exist for quarterbacks: Late-round quarterbacks with upside should be selected, stashed and developed into competent backups or starters.

Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery isn't buying it.

"That developmental theory doesn't hold a whole lot of water. There's entire classes of quarterbacks, since '06, I went back and looked at from Jay [Cutler] on — when people say developmental quarterbacks, OK, so who has gotten developed? There isn't a single quarterback after the third round since '06 that has been a long-term starter. So you're either developing thirds, and most of them have been wiped out of the league. So to get a quality quarterback, you've got to draft them high."

Emery said the likelihood of finding a prospect in the late rounds, one who can eventually run an NFL offense, is slim to none in this day and age.

"Most of the starters in this league come from the first and second round. So that's where you need to take a quarterback. So when you talk about quarterback every year, they have to be somebody that you truly believe will beat out the second and third quarterback that you perceive on your roster. And if not, history shows that you shouldn't make that pick."

The Bears invested $38 million in guaranteed money the next four years for Jay Cutler, so there's no chance Emery is going to spend big on a quarterback in the first two rounds of any upcoming draft.

"In the first round, I would say only quarterback [is off the table]," Emery said. "That would be the only surprise pick to me."

Behind Cutler, the Bears will turn to four-year veteran Jordan Palmer, a 29-year-old whose been in and out of the NFL since 2007. Still, Emery has faith he can be a reliable backup this season.

"Absolutely. And I told him that the other day — the same thing I told Josh [McCown]: ‘Glad you're here, looking forward to your contributions and we're counting on you.' And Jordan, since the time that he came last year has been nothing but a positive."

The Bears will also bring to training camp Jerrod Johnson, who since 2011 has played for the Hartford Colonials, the Arizona Rattlers and the Sacramento Mountain Lions, and has never played in an NFL game.

The belief here is that head coach Marc Trestman, who turned journeyman Josh McCown into the most sought-after quarterback on the market this offseason, can again work his magic with Palmer and, to a lesser extent, Johnson.

"I got to be honest with you, I'm more intrigued with how Marc matches up with Jay and Jordan and Jerrod," Emery said. "I think we've got three guys that all have traits that can continue to be developed. And you look at Jordan and Jerrod, they're both 6-5, they both have good arm strength, they're both intelligent, they both work extremely hard at being a very positive part of the team. So to me, both of those guys have developmental upside and Jay is working his tail off to get better at everything he does. So that's what I'm most interested in — pairing Marc with the players that we have."

Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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