Chicago 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.

Mark Sanchez on fast food runs, shutting up and policing a QB controversy

Mark Sanchez on fast food runs, shutting up and policing a QB controversy

When the Bears signed Mark Sanchez March 24, some fans panicked that it meant Ryan Pace would avoid selecting a quarterback for a third straight draft. And when Pace boldly (or, stupidly, to some) traded up a spot to second overall to secure Mitch Trubisky for the future, those critics emerged, too. 

Sanchez signed as Mike Glennon's backup, and according to Pace Wednesday, that's still what he is. For the former fifth overall pick of the Jets, starting would be great. But he's only done that ten times over the past four years after starting all but two games in his first four seasons under the media microscope in New York.

"I thought this team was on an upper trend and it'd be great to help somebody like Mike," Sanchez said Thursday in his first interview with Chicago reporters. "I know they went through a serious injury bug last year and a lot of guys would be getting healthy."

The man is only 30, and things were never better professionally than in his fresh-faced, first two NFL seasons, helping the Jets win two playoff road games in both 2009 and 2010 (including one at New England) before getting knocked out in AFC Championship games on the road. Now, he's not considered a starter, unless it's an emergency.

"It has been a different role, and adjusting your perspective is not always easy, but that's the mental side of this game and that's why I love playing it, no matter what," Sanchez said. "I wanna be competing my butt off in practice, and then pushing the starter as much as I can."

With Tony Romo hurt yet again in Dallas last year, Sanchez was picked up as insurance by the Cowboys after the Broncos decided to go with two other young quarterbacks, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, following Peyton Manning's retirement. But fourth-round rookie Dak Prescott's performance kept him on the field and Sanchez in a mentor role. Just as he will be with Glennon and Trubisky.

"Whatever it takes to win," Sanchez said. "And if that means getting him ready to play, and if that's what the role is, which is what it looks like here, then I'll push Mike, get ready to play myself and make sure he's ready to go in. It's been exciting working with him, because he can really play. I think he's a special player. He's decisive, he's got great feet for a big guy, and he can make all the throws so I'm excited to see how well he does."

Sanchez was Prescott in 2009, being chosen as a rookie over veteran options on a contending team.

"I had Kellen Clemens, Kevin O'Connell and Mark Brunell," Sanchez said of his NFL baptism under fire. "And all three of them, my first couple years, were amazing guys. Whether it was body language, footwork, where to live, where to eat, anything, you name it. We got so close. That kind of stuff transcends football when you get close off the field like we did those first couple of years, things take off. That kind of stuff I learned right away. We're still building that here."

There's no telling the degree of influence Sanchez may have had on Prescott's success. He arrived in Dallas late (after opening last preseason with a long touchdown pass to Demaryious Thomas at Soldier Field), too. But he hopes the NFL life lessons he'd been through, from winning, to butt-fumbling, to being cut, will help Glennon and Trubisky as he hope it did with Dak.

"That was a heckuva run," he said. "When you look at these teams, especially heading into year nine, you know from the first practice what you have, what you're searching for, what guys lead, what guys follow. You can feel it right away.

"It's a young team, but the emphasis is for the veterans to help push guys. Speaking from a number two role, I have to push Mike with everything I see. I had the conversation with Dak last year, 'Hey, I'll tell you everything I know, I'll push you as hard as a I can. But if at any point, you need me to turn it off, I'll do that. I'll shut up and won't say a word.' That's the same relationship I have with Mike and I'm pushing him hard, helping him compete, and I think he's gonna do really well.

"The best compliment you can give a rookie is not have to tell him to shut up," the USC product said of the seniority pecking order. "Just keep your head down and work, and that's really been his mentality. That's huge. And that's not easy, especially coming from where (Trubisky's) come from. The status you build as a college player... then a team trades up to get you, all those things, you start to believe all that.

"I remember getting ready to fly to divisional games, championship games, and two hours before the plane takes off I'm going to like, three different places. Popeyes Chicken, Quiznos, and I'm thinking, 'Geez, this is crazy.' But there's Brunell and Kellen Clemens saying, 'Just keep your mouth shut.  Do it or it'll be worse.' But (Trubisky's) done a great job. He's worked hard, doesn't say much and doesn't need to. Just keep working, keep learning, playing hard."

And despite his own desire to play, he won't fan the flames for change when Glennon has a bad practice, series or game. All four quarterbacks (including Connor Shaw) are ready to accept and follow the gameplan that's in place for the most scrutinized position in sports.

"There's no chance that happens here," Sanchez said of a divided room. "It's been defined clearly, and that's what you need. It's already been addressed by Ryan Pace, by Coach (John Fox), and you can't say it enough. You guys (the media) have a job to do, and I totally understand how papers sell, and some don't. Certain quotes, certain headlines, I've been around a bit, so I know. But we're not gonna have that issue because Mike's gonna play his butt off. If anything happens, I'll be ready. Mitch is gonna be ready. We have a great room so, I like where we're at and I like where we're headed."

Kevin White is starting small to answer the big question: Can he break out in 2017?

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USA TODAY

Kevin White is starting small to answer the big question: Can he break out in 2017?

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Kevin White isn’t taking his ability to play football for granted anymore, not after missing 28 of the Bears’ 32 games since he was drafted seventh overall in 2015. This is supposed to be fun, White said, even though these last two years couldn’t have been much fun for him.  

So with training camp underway at Olivet Nazarene University, White isn’t putting any added pressure on himself in a year that could determine whether or not he gets labeled a bust. 

“I don’t look at this as a job,” White said. “I think it takes the fun away from it. So I would just look at it as it’s a game. I love to play it, just getting paid to do it. But it was fun to be back out there with the guys and rallying together and going out there to compete.”

White looked solid in the Bears’ first training camp practice of 2017, which was a promising start for the 6-foot-3, 216 pound West Virginia product. But that’s a small step that won’t hold much significance unless White can string a few good practices together, and then eventually turn those practices into productive games. 

The good news is the Bears don’t have any restrictions on White and aren’t planning on giving him any additional rest days during training camp.

“He’s ready to go,” general manager Ryan Pace said. “He’s had a great summer, a great offseason, so he’s ready to go. You can just feel his confidence gaining, knowledge of the offense and just being comfortable with his body. He’s pretty much unleashed.”

The bad news is until White proves he can play a full season, questions will remain about his durability. Since being drafted, White has dealt with a fractured left tibia and a severe ankle sprain that resulted in a spiral fracture of his fibula. Those two severe injuries mean we don’t really know what White can do — the four games he played last year were perhaps nothing more than an incomplete glimpse. 

White had the third-lowest average yards per target (5.19) among receivers with at least 35 targets last year, which couldn’t have been what the Bears envisioned when they invested a top-10 pick in him. This is a guy who had 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final year at West Virginia, after all. 

The Bears still believe White can be a go-to target opposite the budding Cam Meredith and in conjunction with the trio of veterans (Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright, Victor Cruz) they signed in the spring. 

“We all can do whatever the coaches put us in position to do,” White said. “I do have a lot of confidence (in) us.”

But from a larger view, the Bears need White succeed so they won’t have to re-draft a player at his position, or at least be tempted to deviate from their best-player-available strategy. Doing so would be a blow to Pace’s efforts to build through the draft, a process that’s also, notably, seen the additions of Cody Whitehair, Jordan Howard, Mitch Trubisky and Adam Shaheen on offense. 

For White to fulfill those big-picture hopes, though, he’ll have to start small — like with Thursday’s practice. Saturday’s practice will be the first time White will take contact since Week 4 of the 2016 season, and the Aug. 10 preseason opener will be his first game action since then, too. 

“It’s hard to get better at something if you don’t practice it,” coach John Fox said. “So getting a string of practices, getting him out there and developing his skill set. He’s got plenty of athletic ability. That’s why he was picked where he was. Now it’s just getting out there and improving (his) skillset.”

White’s love of the game wasn’t marred by the frustration of his first two years in Chicago, though. In fact, the opposite happened. 

“You get something taken away from you a little bit, you enjoy it more,” White said.