Bears

Nathan Enderle draft capsule

Nathan Enderle draft capsule

Nathan Enderle, Quarterback
Height: 6-4 Weight: 240 College: Idaho
What they say about Enderle
CBSSports.com

Overview

Not many quarterbacks would earn a third year as a starter after his team went 3-21 in his first two seasons.

Idaho coaches actually brought in junior college transfer Brian Reader to compete with Enderle before the 2009 season, and Reader led the Vandals to a win over San Jose State after Enderle threw interceptions on consecutive drives. But the team stuck with the Nebraska native through the rest of the season, and the Vandals finished with a winning record (7-5) and won the Humanitarian Bowl - their first postseason appearance in 11 years.

Enderle finished high school early, but still redshirted in 2006. He earned the starting position as a redshirt freshman, and the Vandals went through growing pains with him (44.3 percent completions, 10 touchdowns, 18 interceptions).

Improvement was evident in 2008, as he completed 54.3 percent of his passes for 2,077 yards and 20 scores, but he still threw 17 picks. His maturation continued in 2009 as he completed 61.5 percent of his passes, threw for 2,906 yards and connected for 22 touchdowns against only nine interceptions.

Analysis
Accuracy: Has improved his accuracy each season, does a good job generally getting the ball where it needs to go. Can thread the needle between defensive backs over the middle. Good touch and trajectory on fade patterns in the end zone and on the sideline, puts ball where only receiver can find it. Not deadly accurate on short timing throws, however, often forcing his receivers to go low or wide. Inconsistent on purposely-thrown balls behind his receiver, will get them too close to the defender at times. Can be forced into interceptions when under pressure.

Arm Strength: Only an average arm, but still could succeed in the NFL in a patient offense staying with short and intermediate throws. Adept at making quick decisions to unload the ball. Makes shorter throws while being wrapped up by defenders or slinging the ball out under pressure, but also forces some throws in that situation. Willing to throw passes down the seam or in tight spaces, though his arm is not strong enough to beat defenders to the spot if he doesn't see them closing; this leads to interceptions. Deep ball will float, especially when his feet are not set.
SetupRelease: Looks like an NFL pocket passer. Stands tall and unloads the ball relatively quickly, with only a minor wind-up. Delivers the ball knowing he's about to take a hit. Can throw at different angles if needed. Works primarily from under center but will line up in the shotgun. Carries the ball a bit low and loose at times, defenders can easily swat it out of his hands. Must improve his footwork; takes extra steps in his drop, will jump back before planting. Regularly pats the ball before throwing. Unnecessarily stands flat-footed to throw some passes.

Reading Defenses: Long-time starter in a quasi-pro style offense, who has earned the ability to change protections and plays at the line of scrimmage. Will check down to safety valve if first option is covered. Needs to sell the ball fake more aggressively to freeze linebackers and safeties. Feels pressure well, sometimes too well; his feet get a bit happy if running out of time. Will force throws into coverage both because he doesn't see defenders and because he tries to make plays that aren't there.

On the Move: Good internal clock, counts to three and gets out of the pocket. Able to complete passes running to his left or right. Mobile enough to step up or to either side, reset, and find a target downfield. Lacks speed to break off long runs, will get a few yards if stepping up into a vacated area. Inconsistent tucking the ball away if feeling pressure and unable to throw.

Intangibles: Battle-tested, four-year starter who has seen great highs and lows during his career - and matured through the process. Honor student who graduated early from high school to attend Idaho.
Sideline Scouting

Positives: Good accuracy within short areas, can hit his receivers in stride... Quick feet, gets adequate depth in his drop steps... Intelligent, has a very high football IQ... Calls many of Idaho's plays at the line of scrimmage... Does a good job making pre-snap reads and adjustments at the line of scrimmage... Good at avoiding the blitz by stepping up into the pocket... Does a good job working the middle of the field with quick, accurate, strikes... Prototypical height and frame for an NFL quarterback... Played in a pro-style offense, knows how to take snaps under center... Should have a short learning curve in the NFL.

Negatives: Just average arm strength, looks like he'd throw harder than he does... Has some issues when throwing the deep out, defenders are able to jump on some of his throws... Struggles against top competition... In five games against BCS schools, he completed 51 percent of his passes for an average of 165 yards per game and threw only four touchdowns to 13 interceptions... Long throwing motion... Tips some of his passes off by patting the ball before he throws... Doesn't always take a stride while throwing which causes some passes to sail on him... Throws too many interceptions, needs to cut down on mental errors... Trusts his arm far too much, tries to make throws that he has no business making... Has a hard time picking up disguised blitzes and coverages... Not a great runner, is more of a pocket passer... Really a poor athlete.
Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Also played basketball and baseball and ran track as a Nebraska prep. Graduated high school early to enroll at Idaho and redshirted in 2006. Stepped into the lineup in 07 when he started all 10 games in which he played and completed 132-of-298 pass attempts (44.3 percent) for 1,787 yards with 10 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Missed three games after rupturing a tendon in his right (throwing) hand against Hawaii. Started all 12 games in 08, tossing 184-339-2,077-20-17 (54.3). In 09, started all 11 games in which he played and completed 192-312-2,906-22-9 (61.5). Suffered a right (throwing) rotator cuff tear against Louisiana Tech and missed two games. Started all 13 games in 10 and totaled 271-478-3,314-22-16 (56.7). Team captain. Had a 17-29 career starting record. Graduated in December.

Positives: Looks the part. Outstanding size and arm strength to drive the ball into tight spaces. Extremely intelligent and has a strong understanding of the game set protection and was given reign to heavily audible at the line. Works and practices hard. Very experienced, pro-style passer. Has physical tools to develop.

Negatives: Too analytical on the field overthinks the game and lacks the innate instincts desired to become a decisive triggerman. Average poise and processing speed in the pocket holds on to the ball too long and takes needless sacks. Tends to set tall and narrow-based and footwork requires refinement. Not quick-footed to escape the rush marginal scrambling ability. Struggles to take pace off the ball and throw with touch does not toss a catchable ball. Crumbled against better competition (Nebraska, Boise State). Has a 54.6 percent career completion percentage and a 37 percent winning percentage, and it shows. Marginal weight-room worker and strength. Lacks mental toughness, confidence and the command to take charge in an NFL locker room.

Summary: A well-built, pocket-passing, four-year starter who still makes too many freshman mistakes. Looks the part on paper, but enters the NFL as very much a project with a long way to go. Has the size and arm strength to fit best into a vertical passing game, but heavy feet, inconsistent accuracy and raw decision making might keep him holding a clipboard for the next 10 years. Most comfortable when he is not on the hot seat.

NFL projection: Fifth- to sixth-round pick.

Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

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USA TODAY

Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

The Bears are looking for an upgrade at wide receiver this offseason, and there may be one available.

The Dolphins used the franchise tag on wide receiver Jarvis Landry on Tuesday, in a move that many believe signals the team's desire to deal him instead of losing him in free agency for nothing.

Landry put up excellent numbers last season, catching 112 passes for 987 yards and nine touchdowns. He led the league in catches and was fourth in touchdown receptions but was just 17th in yards. His yards per reception ranked 108th of 139 qualifying players.

Still, it's no secret he'd be an upgrade for the Bears at wide receiver. Though they'll get Cam Meredith and Kevin White back from injury, the corps largely struggled and didn't give rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky much help.

Luckily, they may be interested in Landry, per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

"There are a couple teams that we should keep an eye on as far as a potential Jarvis Landry landing spot......the Chicago Bears are looking for receviers," he said.

Rapoport also mentioned the Titans, Panthers and Saints as options for Landry. The franchise tag will pay Landry about $16 million before he becomes a free agent in 2019 (or has the franchise tag used on him again).

 

2017 Bears position grades: Management

2017 Bears position grades: Management

2017 grade: D+

For these purposes, “management” encompasses the coaching staff and front office. We don’t need a lengthy re-litigation of the failures of the John Fox era, so briefly: The offense was unimaginative, predictable and unsuccessful; there were too many head-scratching coaching decisions, punctuated by that backfiring challenge flag against Green Bay; the defense was solid but not spectacular; special teams had plenty of highs (three touchdowns) and lows (Marcus Cooper’s gaffe against Pittsburgh, Connor Barth’s missed field goal against Detroit). Fox didn’t win enough games to justify a fourth year, even if he left the Bears in a better place than he found them back in 2015. But that 5-11 record drags the management grade down. 

But the larger thing we’re going to focus on here is the hits and misses for Ryan Pace in the 2017 league year. The hits: 

-- Drafting Mitchell Trubisky. Will this be a long-term success? That’s another question. But Pace hitched his future in Chicago to a quarterback last April. For a franchise that hasn’t had a “franchise” quarterback in ages, what more can you ask for? If Trubisky pans out, nobody should care that Pace traded up one spot -- effectively losing a third-round pick for his conviction in his guy -- to make the move. 

-- Moving quickly to hire Matt Nagy. As with Trubisky, Pace identified his guy and made sure he got him. The Bears hired Nagy just two days after the Kansas City Chiefs’ season ended with that playoff collapse against the Tennessee Titans, and with the Indianapolis Colts -- who eventually got burned by Josh McDaniels -- sniffing around Nagy, Pace made his move to hire a young, energetic, offensive-minded coach to pair with Trubisky. It’s tough to argue with any of the coaching hires made by Nagy, who had a head start on the competition: He retained defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and that entire defensive staff, kept Dave Ragone to be Trubisky’s quarterbacks coach and hired Mark Helfrich to bring some different concepts as offensive coordinator, and hired a special teams coach in Chris Tabor who must’ve been doing something right to survive seven years and a bunch of coaching changes in Cleveland. Like with Trubisky, it’s too early to say if Nagy will or won’t work out long-term, but it stands out that Pace had conviction in getting a franchise quarterback and a head coach who will make or break his tenure in Chicago. 

-- Drafting Tarik Cohen and Eddie Jackson in the fourth round. In Cohen, the Bears found an offensive spark (who was nonetheless under-utilized) who also was a key contributor on special teams. In Jackson, the Bears added a plug-and-play 16-game starter at safety who looks to have some upside after a solid rookie year. Both picks here were a triumph for the Bears’ amateur scouting department: Cohen wasn’t on everyone’s radar (special teams coach Chris Tabor, who previously was with the Browns, said Cohen’s name never came across his desk in Cleveland), while Jackson was coming off a broken leg that prematurely ended a solid career at Alabama. These were assuredly two hits. 

-- Signing Akiem Hicks to a four-year contract extension. The Bears rewarded Hicks a day before the season began; Hicks rewarded them with a Pro Bowl-caliber season (despite him only being a fourth alternate) and was the best player on the team in 2017. 

-- Signing Charles Leno to a four-year contract extension. Leno may not be an elite tackle, and still has some things to clean up in his game, but he’s 26 and his four-year, $37 million contract is the 14th-largest among left tackles (for what it’s worth, Bleacher Report ranked Leno as the 20th best left tackle in the NFL). The Bears believe Leno is still improving, and could turn that contract into a bargain in the future. But this is important to note, too: Players notice when a team rewards one of its own, especially when that guy is a well-respected former seventh-round draft pick. 

-- Signing Mark Sanchez to a one-year deal. This wasn’t a miss, certainly, and while it’s not much of a “hit,” Sanchez was exactly what the Bears wanted: A veteran mentor to Trubisky. While Sanchez was inactive for all 16 games, he and the No. 2 overall pick struck up a good relationship that makes him a candidate to return in 2018 as a true backup. 

-- Releasing Josh Sitton when he did. Whether or not the Bears offensive line is better off in 2018 is a different question, but file cutting Sitton on Feb. 20 -- when the team had until mid-March to make a decision on him -- as one of those things that gets noticed by players around the league. 

-- Announcing the expansion to Halas Hall. The plan has Pace’s fingerprints on it, and should help make the Bears a more attractive destination to free agents in 2018 and beyond. 

And now, for the misses:

-- Signing Mike Glennon. That completely bombed out. While the Bears weren’t hurting for cap space a year ago, and Glennon’s contract essentially was a one-year prove-it deal, his play was so poor that he was benched after only four games -- when the initial plan was for him to start the entire season to give Trubisky time to develop. The wheels came off for Glennon on his seventh pass in Week 2, when after completing his first six he threw the ball right to Tampa Bay’s Kwon Alexander for an interception from which he never seemed to recover. He’ll be cut sometime soon. 

-- Signing Markus Wheaton. After signing a two-year, $11 million deal in the spring, Wheaton struggled to stay healthy, with an appendectomy and finger injury limiting him in training camp and the early part of the season, and then a groin injury knocking out a few weeks in the middle of the season. When Wheaton was healthy, he was ineffective, catching only three of his 17 targets. That places him with eight other players since 1992 who’ve been targeted at least 15 times and and caught fewer than 20 percent of their targets. He’s another one of Pace’s 2017 free agent signings who’s likely to be cut. 

-- Signing Marcus Cooper. The Bears thought they were signing an ascending player who picked off four passes in 2016 and would be a better scheme fit in Chicago than he was in Arizona. Instead, Cooper was a liability when he was on the field and didn’t live up to his three-year, $16 million contract (with $8 million guaranteed). Dropping the ball before he got in the end zone Week 3 against Pittsburgh was a lowlight. The Bears can net $4.5 million in cap savings if he’s cut, per Spotrac. 

-- Signing Dion Sims. Sims isn’t as likely to be cut as Glennon and Wheaton, and even Cooper, but his poor production in the passing game (15 catches, 29 targets, 180 yards, one touchdown) puts a spotlight on how the Bears evaluate how he was as a run blocker in 2017. If that grade was high, the Bears could justify keeping him and not garnering a little more than $5.5 million in cap savings. If it was low, and the Bears are confident in Adam Shaheen’s ability to improve, then Sims could be cut as well. 

-- Signing Quintin Demps. The loss here was mitigated by the strong play of Adrian Amos, but Demps didn’t make much of an impact on the field before his Week 3 injury besides getting plowed over by Falcons tight end Austin Hooper in Week 1. He’d be a decent guy to have back as a reserve given his veteran leadership -- he was a captain in 2017 -- but given how well Amos and Eddie Jackson worked together last year, he’s unlikely to get his starting spot back in 2018. 

-- The wide receiver position as a whole. Kendall Wright led the Bears in receptions and yards, but his numbers would’ve looked a lot better had he been surrounded by better players. The cupboard was bare at this position, and after the worst-case scenario happened -- Cameron Meredith tearing his ACL in August, and Kevin White breaking his collarbone in Week 1 -- the Bears were left with an overmatched and underperforming group of receivers. For Trubisky’s sake, Pace has to work to make sure 2018 isn’t a repeat of 2017. 

-- The kicker position as a whole. Since we’re focusing solely on Pace’s 2017 moves, the decision to release Robbie Gould and replace him with Connor Barth doesn’t fall into this grade. But Barth had struggled with consistency prior to this season, and Roberto Aguayo didn’t provide much competition in his short-lived stint in training camp. The Bears eventually released Barth after he missed a game-tying kick against Detroit in November, then replaced him with a guy in Cairo Santos who was coming off an injury and, as it turned out, wasn’t completely healthy yet. So the Bears then had to move on from Santos and sign Mike Nugent to get them through the rest of the season. Better consistency from this position will be important to find in 2018. 

A couple moves fall into the neither hits nor misses category:

-- Drafting Adam Shaheen. Tight ends rarely make a significant impact as rookies, but Shaheen was only targeted 14 times last year. He did catch three touchdowns and flash some good chemistry with Trubisky before suffering an injury against Cincinnati that wound up ending his season. The gains he makes with a year of experience under his belt and during his first full offseason as a pro will be critical in determining his success in Year 2, and whether or not taking him 45th overall was a hit or a miss. 

-- Signing Prince Amukamara. This was neither good nor bad, with Amukamara playing solidly in coverage but not making enough plays on the ball and committing a few too many penalties. 

Pace still has decisions to make on a few other potential cuts, including right tackle Bobby Massie ($5.584 million cap savings per Spotrac) and linebackers Willie Young ($4.5 million cap savings) and Pernell McPhee ($7.075 million cap savings). Whether or not to place the franchise tag on Kyle Fuller and potentially pay him $15 million in 2018 is another call Pace has to make before the official end of the 2017 league year. 

But for Pace, did the hits out-weigh the misses in 2017? The Glennon signing imploded, but Trubisky showed signs of promise during an average season for a rookie quarterback. Cooper was a bust, but Fuller emerged as a potential long-term option to cover for that. The most glaring misses, then, were at wide receiver and tight end where, after injuries sapped those units of Cameron Meredith and Zach Miller, there weren’t reliable targets for Trubisky. 

We’ll probably need more time to determine if Pace’s “hits” on Trubisky and Nagy truly are “hits.” But if they are, the misses of 2017 -- Glennon, Wheaton, Cooper, etc. -- will be nothing more than amusing footnotes to a successful era of Bears football.