Rookie Minicamp Report: Day 1

Is Major Wright going to be a pure free safety? Can Dan LeFevour make some NFL throws? Bear Report had a front-row seat at Day 1 of rookie minicamp for the Chicago Bears and made these observations:

Pick Six
It's been a while since I've put together one of these, since this past summer as a matter of fact, but I certainly remember that any practice report has to start with the play of the quarterbacks. Although it was an incredibly windy day at Halas Hall that made it difficult on the passing game, sixth-round draft pick Dan LeFevour couldn't even find his receivers during positional drills. While he did complete 9 of 12 passes in 7-on-7 action, including a perfect 4-of-4 on his final series, most of his completions were of the check-down variety to his running backs. Juice Williams, a non-roster invitee for the weekend, didn't fare much better than his more-heralded counterpart. He finished the day 7-of-12 in 7-on-7, although a pretty hitch-and-go pass to fellow invitee Greg Mathews slipped right through the wideout's fingers. ...

Unfortunately, there won't be very much to report this weekend on either fourth-round defensive end Corey Wootton or seventh-round offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb, as rookie minicamp is mostly non-contact drills and the only equipment the players are wearing is a helmet. Wootton competed his senior season at Northwestern at much less than 100 percent coming off knee surgery the previous January, although he isn't expected to be limited and took part in every drill on Day 1. There wasn't any 11-on-11 competition Friday because the session was somewhat abbreviated, but if there is some Saturday or Sunday, he might be matched up against Webb, who was lining up at the left tackle position. ...

Because both LeFevour and Williams struggled greatly throwing the football Friday, we didn't get a chance to see very much from either third-round safety Major Wright or fifth-round corner Joshua Moore in coverage. But off the field, with Alex Brown unceremoniously released this offseason and now suiting up in New Orleans, Wright has already taken the torch as the official loose-lipped Florida Gator on the roster. Moore isn't as gifted of a talker, but you can see early on what the coaching staff saw on tape, as he looks really fluid and stuck everyone rather closely. ...

We kept waiting for one of the receivers to step up and be noticed, kind of like tight end Fontel Mines did three rookie minicamps ago as a non-roster invitee, but none of the nine wideouts on the field Friday did much to get anyone's attention. Erratic play from the quarterbacks and a miserable wind certainly deserve their fair share of the blame, but most of the pass catchers took a while to get up to top speed, rounded off their routes and dropped passes way too often. Mathews had an especially tough day and helps explain why Rich Rodriguez's offense hasn't done diddly squat so far at Michigan, and the only thing notable about local product Freddie Barnes on Day 1 is that he resembles a shorter version of ex-Bear Mark Bradley, from his build to the way he wears his socks. ...


QB Dan LeFevour
AP Images: Nam Y. Huh

Defensively, another of the local boys, linebacker Matt Mayberry, stepped in front of a LeFevour throw on a button hook over the middle and should have had a pick-six, although he dropped the ball and had to settle for a measly pass defensed. But shortly thereafter, one of the workout-invite LBs, Chris Johnson, managed to intercept a delivery from Williams down the seam and raced the other way toward paydirt to the delight of his teammates. ...

There was much more news made off the field Friday than on the field, as first came word that fifth-year defensive end Mark Anderson has finally signed his one-year tender offer and is now officially under contract. Then during practice, the worst kept secret in Chicago became reality when former Seahawks president Tim Ruskell was announced as the new director of player personnel. With pro personnel director Bobby DePaul and college scouting director Greg Gabriel both getting axed this offseason, two jobs have now been condensed down to one and, according to general manager Jerry Angelo, makes the chain of command easier to manage in the front office.

Injury Report
Wootton appeared to be moving just fine now 15 months or so removed from knee surgery, and no new injuries were noticed by the media from the sideline.

Studs of the Day
Because there wasn't one player that really shined, we'll hand out some kudos to a few that looked like they knew what they were doing. Running back Brandon Minor, who signed as an undrafted free agent, was light on his feet during positional drills and caught all five passes thrown his way in 7-on-7 work. On the other side of the ball, Moore seems to have solid instincts in the defensive backfield and didn't surrender any completions of note.

Dud of the Day
It's perhaps unfair to hand out this dubious award on Day 1, especially to a passer working with new receivers on a blustery day, but LeFevour was nothing short of awful out there. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz paid close attention to his new signal caller and kept finding all kinds of mechanical flaws, from how he plants his back foot to how he squares his shoulders to how slowly he was getting rid of the football. While nobody is expecting him to contribute any time soon with starter Jay Cutler signed through 2014, LeFevour certainly seems like he has a country mile to go before being ready to play at the next level.

Quote to Note
"I believe it does because communication is such a big thing in this business, any business. Certainly in a sports business, in terms of a front office, and to have a relationship with those guys, I think I know just about every one of the scouts. [I've] got to get to know the pro guys a little bit better, but having that relationship already established and having worked with some of those guys, I just think it tears down a lot of the barriers you have to fight through and get right to the matters at hand. So I think it is a good thing." – Director of player personnel Tim Ruskell, when asked if working before with both general manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith helps.


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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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