Bears draft QB LeFevour
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears made Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour their sixth-round pick (181 overall) on Saturday, marking the first time in five years the team used a draft pick to acquire a quarterback.
The acquisition of LeFevour, a Downers Grove, Ill., native who played at Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., gave the Bears their first selection on the offensive side of the ball of the draft. The Bears shored up the defense with their previous three picks spent on safety Major Wright (third round), defensive end Corey Wootton (fourth round) and cornerback Joshua Moore (fifth round).
Although he is a sixth-round pick, LeFevour possesses the most star quality of the Chicago's draft class by virtue of his local ties and production in college.
"He's a winner, a big kid," said Bears midwest scout Jeff Shiver. "A long time ago, I missed on a quarterback in the sixth round [Tom Brady] and he's still with the Patriots. So hey, maybe I got lucky."
Chicago's selection of LeFevour isn't an indication of dissatisfaction about the state of the quarterback position. LeFevour, who accounted for the most touchdowns in NCAA history (149: 102 passing and 47 rushing), represented an ideal opportunity for the Bears to add arguably one of the draft's top quarterbacks at basically a bargain-bin price.
"I'm ready," LeFevour said. "I haven't competed [for playing time] since my true freshman year in 2005. But that's part of the territory."
Another regular part of LeFevour's life recently has been criticism about how he will make the transition to the NFL. LeFevour started in 51 of 53 career games at Central Michigan, completing 66.4 percent of his passes for 12,905 yards and 102 touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 2,948 yards.
"You almost fear his feet as much as you do his arm," Shiver said about LeFevour's prowess as a dual threat.
Yet for all LeFevour accomplished in college, somehow he managed to slip to the sixth round. Perhaps the most significant factor driving the slide stems from Central Michigan's use of the spread offense, which called for LeFevour to take snaps from the shotgun instead of from under center.
Personnel evaluators often describe the transition from a spread to a pro-style offense as learning a new position with a steep learning curve. So to become Cutler's primary backup as a rookie, LeFevour will have to learn quickly.
Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson said that too much is made of quarterbacks transitioning from spread offenses to the pros.
"If you're a good player, you can play. There are instances where guys will not have taken a direct snap in their college career, so you have to make sure you can do that," Thompson said. "You've got to do that before you can play at all. I think if you're a good quarterback, have the ability to see the field, anticipate things and have almost that sixth sense of when pressure is there and when it's not there, I think you can play."
Chicago obviously felt the same way. Still, it's likely the club won't rush LeFevour's development.
"It's different. It's not a problem; it's just a challenge," LeFevour said. "The more I've worked on it, the easier it's gotten for me. I feel been making a lot of progress. But I've got a few more strides to make."
LeFevour wasn't happy with falling to the sixth round, but being drafted by his hometown team served somewhat as consolation.
"That means everything to me. It's a dream come true, literally," LeFevour said. "It might not have happened in the round I might have liked, but it definitely happened with the right team. It's a great day for me. I'm really proud to be a part of that organization."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.