Are Bears peer­ing into their QB fu­ture?

Red Eye Chicago - - Sports - By Brad Biggs

MOBILE, ALA.— Ac­tion shots of Dak Prescott and Car­son Wentz hang from lamp posts and are plas­tered on ho­tel en­trances and in store­fronts across the city pro­mot­ing the Se­nior Bowl.

Boy, what the Bears would do to see a Prescott or Wentz in ac­tion Saturday at Lad­dPee­bles Sta­dium.

Un­for­tu­nately, there’s def­i­nitely not a passer of Wentz’s stature in the game a year af­ter he went from the Se­nior Bowl to be­com­ing the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft. It’s hard to say if there is a Prescott ei­ther. He was the MVP of the 2016 game, but any­one who tries telling you Prescott’s Se­nior Bowl week vaulted his draft sta­tus for­gets he lasted un­til the end of the fourth round and the 135th pick when the Cow­boys, who coached in the game, chose him af­ter fail­ing to land Pax­ton Lynch or Con­nor Cook ear­lier.

The quar­ter­back class looks as weak as it gets for this game, rem­i­nis­cent of two years ago when Bryce Petty was the top passer. The good news is the two prospects gen­er­at­ing the most con­ver­sa­tions are on the North squad the Bears are coach­ing: Pitt’s Nate Peter­man and Iowa’s C.J. Beathard.

That pro­vides gen­eral man­ager Ryan Pace, coach John Fox and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dow­ell Log­gains some ad­di­tional in­sight in the pre-draft process.

“The thing that jumps right off the bat is their abil­ity to process this in­for­ma­tion and go through the pro­gres­sions,” Log­gains said. “And there haven’t been a lot of busts. We’re still in the process of fig­ur­ing these guys out.”

Peter­man threw for 2,855 yards this sea­son with 27 touch­downs and seven in­ter­cep­tions, and the week af­ter Pace saw him have a rough game in a loss at Mi­ami, he threw five touch­down passes to lead the Pan­thers to a 43-42 up­set of even­tual na­tional cham­pion Clem­son.

Since the end of the col­lege sea­son, he has worked with quar­ter­backs coach Ken Mas- trole, who was with the Bears dur­ing train­ing camp in 2002.

“I don’t want to call him a safe pick, but he’s a guy you draft and he’s not go­ing to be the guy you go, ‘Why is he on the ros­ter?’ ” Mas­t­role said. “He has the abil­ity to win games and not just be a guy out there to fill a void.”

Beathard had a 21-7 record as a starter for the Hawkeyes. He un­der­stands pro­tec­tions, run checks and pre-snap reads, and he’s still gar­ner­ing at­ten­tion even though his statis­tics took a dip in his se­nior sea­son when his yards per at­tempt dropped from 7.8 to 6.4 and he dou­bled his in­ter­cep­tions from five to 10 while throw­ing for nearly 900 fewer yards.

“It was a com­bi­na­tion of a lot of things,” Beathard said. “Our lead­ing re­ceiver [Matt Van­deBerg] got hurt early in the year. Our best tight end [Ge­orge Kit­tle] got hurt as well. We were do­ing the same stuff we al­ways do. We are a pro-style team that likes to run the ball and we do what we think is go­ing to help us win games. Our of­fense re­ally pre­pared me to take the next step.”

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