A big part of the Bears’ plan this offseason was to get QB Jay Cutler more firepower at the skill positions, and GM Phil Emery has shown a willingness to take major risks in order to do it.
Six rounds into the draft, the team had not even addressed its offensive line. Emery’s focus has been on defense, wide receiver and tight end.
After trading two third-round picks for WR Brandon Marshall in March and trading up to spend a second-round pick on South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery on Friday, the Bears selected Temple TE Evan Rodriguez in the fourth round Saturday.
Rodriguez has the potential to be a versatile H-back complement to TE Kellen Davis, whom the Bears re-signed this offseason. Rodriguez has the athleticism, flexibility and balance to be the threat in the seam that the Bears have lacked.
For an offense that certainly needed more playmaking ability at receiver and tight end, the plan makes sense. They have significantly upgraded the talent at those spots.
But can they keep that talent focused and on the field?
The challenges for the Bears will be keeping Marshall, who has a long, concerning list of off-field incidents, from getting into trouble, instilling more discipline in Jeffery, who has allowed his weight to fluctuate and needs to prove he has the work ethic to succeed, and making sure Rodriguez, who has his own off-field baggage, matures.
The Bears have been bold. Time will tell if they have been smart.