Chicago Football's Bears beat writers Arthur Arkush and Kevin Fishbain analyze each of the Bears picks in the final rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Charles Leno Jr., OT, Boise St. (No. 246 overall)
Why we like this pick: Despite starting all 16 games on one of the most improved lines in football - an impressive feat for a fifth-rounder - Jordan Mills experienced his share of struggles. O-line coach Aaron Kromer is as intensely competitive as they come, and adding Leno to compete with Mills, Eben Britton and Joe Long is exactly how Kromer wants it, we believe. Leno manned the blind side in college, and he has intriguing athleticism and movement skills to be groomed.
How he fits into Bears’ plans: Linemen who can move are key in Chicago's scheme, and ones with the ability to play multiple positions are even better. Leno has experience at tackle and guard, plus he has terrific length, and instincts to locate defenders at the second level. The Bears will be better as a result of increasing the level of competition at right tackle.
What made him last until Day Three: Ryan Clady notwithstanding, Boise State not exactly an institution for offensive linemen - or NFL players in general, for that matter. NFL draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki said Leno struggles with speed and doesn't play strong enough, weaknesses that almost certainly led to him lasting this long.
Pat O'Donnell, P, Miami (Fla.) (No. 191 overall)
Why we like this pick: The first punter taken in the 2014 NFL Draft, O'Donnell figures to be the Bears' starting punter in 2014, and if all goes well, for a long time. As easy as it is to mock a punter pick, the Bears don't have a clear-cut starter for next season after parting ways with Adam Podlesh and they get an athletically-gifted punter to continue this offseason special-teams improvement.
How he fits into Bears' plans: As a sixth-round pick, O'Donnell's roster spot isn't guaranteed, but the Bears wouldn't use a draft pick on him if they didn't hope he beat out Tress Way and Drew Butler to be the punter next season. There will be a competition in Bourbonnais, but O'Donnell will be the early leader in the clubhouse.
What made him last until Day Three: Well, he's a punter! Some had Iowa State's Kirby Van Der Camp as a higher-rated punter.
David Fales, QB, San Jose State (No. 183 overall)
Why we like this pick: Fales and current Bears backup Jordan Palmer have the same number of career NFL starts. Yet Fales, 23, is six years younger than Palmer, and gives Marc Trestman his first hand-picked, homegrown developmental prospect. He was extremely accurate in college, shows outstanding anticipation and has the work ethic and toughness to succeed with the right QB developer. We think Trestman has proven to be one of the best, plus starter Jay Cutler has struggled to stay on the field.
How he fits into Bears’ plans: Trestman's version of the West Coast doesn't require a rifle arm or amazing athlete to move the offense (see: Josh McCown). Sure, Cutler boasts those traits, but Fales made consistently smart decisions - a must in Trestman's eyes - and he has the oustanding supporting cast that can cover up some of his physical limitations. Cutler is Chicago's $54 million man, which places Fales in an ideal spot to develop at his own pace under Trestman's fantastic guidance.
What made him last until Day Three: Average arm strength and athleticism, primarily. Fales can also improve against the blitz and going through his progressions. At 6-1, 212, he's smaller than some teams prefer. A juco transfer, Fales has limited starting experience and tape against upper echelon competition.
Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota (No. 131 overall)
Why we like this pick: The Bears needed to get a safety on Day Three, and preferably one that had good coverage skills to help complement Ryan Mundy. Vereen's numbers in college won't blow anyone away, but his outstanding Combine performance showed the athleticism that we know Phil Emery loves in his players. Vereen stands out from other safeties because he has enough cover experience to play corner.
How he fits into Bears' plans: Emery said that safety is a "wide-open" competition, though Mundy should be one of the starters. Vereen will compete with Chris Conte and MD Jennings, along with any other safety additions, to be the other starter. Joe DeCamillis should like his athleticism for special teams, where Vereen could also carve out a niche if he doesn't start right away.
What made him last until Day Three: With his experience at both corner and safety, some considered Vereen to be a "tweener" pick, not good enough at either position to merit being chosen in the first three rounds. He had only one interception his senior season and has small hands.
Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona (No. 117 overall)
Why we like this pick: The Bears had to add another back to challenge 2013 UDFA Michael Ford and veteran Shaun Draughn, and Carey is a value pick in this spot. A prolific producer in the Pac-12, Carey's a tough, instinctive runner who knows how to find pay dirt (42 touchdowns in final two collegiate seasons).
How he fits into Bears’ plans: Chicago has one of the most complete backs in football, but Matt Forte could be even more productive with a reliable second option to handle some change-of-pace carries and pick up the tough yards. Carey has enough catching and blocking traits to contribute right away. His slashing, instinctive running style meshes well with the Bears’ zone scheme.
What made him last until Day Three: Carey isn’t a burner – he posted an underwhelming 4.70 40 at the combine. What’s more, he had several off-field transgressions, including a domestic assault charge filed by his pregnant girlfriend that was later dropped. No running backs went off the board until the 54th pick, an illustration of teams believing they can wait to address the position in today’s QB-driven NFL.