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Patton trys out at Bears' rookie camp

Sunday, May 3, 2009 | 8:09 p.m. CDT

AKE FOREST, Ill. — After the NFL draft, Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo estimated six of the team's nine draft picks could make the team's final roster.

Coach Lovie Smith had a higher opinion after getting a closer look at those players in a three-day rookie minicamp that ended Sunday.

He liked them all.

"I'm trying to figure out what three Jerry didn't like," Smith said. "Really, as you look at our draft, it was a good draft. All of the players we drafted, I think, bring something to the table. They have a chance."

At the very least, Smith saw talent enough to push current roster players when full-squad non-contact practices begin later this month.

Areas that could remain a problem going into training camp include backup quarterback and starting safety.

The Bears have no one with an NFL start backing up recently acquired quarterback Jay Cutler. Second-year quarterback Caleb Hanie is the backup and former Northwestern quarterback Brett Basanez is the third-stringer.

At rookie camp, Northwestern's C.J. Bacher, Missouri's Chase Patton and Florida State's Drew Weatherford all had tryouts, but Smith said it's uncertain if the team will pursue another veteran backup or go with three quarterbacks at training camp instead of the customary four.

"We'll continue to look up guys right up until we can't, but anymore we feel comfortable with the three guys we have right now," Smith said.

The Bears may not have enough practice snaps to go around if they bring in a fourth quarterback.

"When you have a new player coming in like Jay Cutler, Jay will want the majority of the reps (plays in practice)," Smith said. "Caleb Hanie, as a young player, needs quite a few reps."

 


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