Rookie Minicamp Report: Day 3

OT J'Marcus Webb (AP: Nam Y. Huh)

Which draft pick continues to impress? Are either of the two passers getting better? Bear Report had a front-row seat at Day 3 of rookie minicamp for the Chicago Bears and made these observations:

Pick Six
It was more of the same for the two quarterbacks at rookie minicamp, sixth-round pick Dan LeFevour and workout invite Juice Williams, as each made his fair share of decent throws but both have a long way to go before being able to play at the next level. LeFevour tends to put too much air under the football on passes that don't necessarily need it, like offensive coordinator Mike Martz's liberally-used deep dig routes, but it's hard to tell if that's because of a lack of arm strength or it's just the way he's always thrown patterns like that. Williams is apparently coming to the conclusion that he's not going to make it as a passer in the NFL, and while he told reporters Friday he'd be open to a position change, coach Lovie Smith said the plan all along was for the Bears to see him as a QB and just a QB over the weekend. ...

One of the more impressive performers at rookie minicamp was fifth-round cornerback Joshua Moore, who looks like a pretty good athlete and showed off the man-to-man coverage skills the Bears apparently liked so much on film. He managed to record an interception Sunday, outrunning workout-invite receiver Zeke Markshausen on a fly route down the right sideline that was overthrown by Williams and making an over-the-shoulder grab. Moore is also supposed to be an accomplished gunner on the punt team but isn't going to be a return man any time soon, not with him dropping more balls than he caught off the Jugs machine at the outset of practice. ...

One day after he turned some heads during 7-on-7 action, reeling in a pair of hitch-and-go patterns for long gainers, workout-invite wideout Nick Merchut wasn't able to follow that fine effort up with another Sunday. Not only were his hands inconsistent throughout positional drills, but he was running weak routes and didn't even seem to be giving maximum effort on every attempt. It became quite obvious that they don't teach the post-corner pattern at Carthage College, as not only did he do a poor job of selling the post, but then he would simply turn around after the double move and didn't finish the route to the corner. ...

Undrafted free agent Eric Peterman was supposed to have a leg up on the other pass catchers at rookie minicamp since he spent some time on the practice squad last season and earned a futures contract in January, but Martz didn't seem to notice. During positional drills, Peterman jumped to secure a ball along the left sideline that he didn't necessarily need to leave his feet to grab, which is a bad habit a lot of young receivers get into and takes away run-after-the-catch opportunities. "Nice jump, Eric," Martz shouted, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "I don't really know why." ...


CB Joshua Moore
AP: Nam Y. Huh

Probably the best catch all weekend long was delivered Sunday by workout-invite fullback Shamar Graves, although he paid the price for it. During 7-on-7 work, the 6-2, 230-pounder split into the slot and sprinted straight down the seam, elevated to snare a way-high throw from LeFevour and pulled the pigskin into his body before falling awkwardly. It took Graves a little while to get to his feet and limp over to the sideline, so it ended up being his final rep of the day. ...

LeFevour was again up and down during 7-on-7s and threw a pair of interceptions. While the first one wasn't necessarily his fault because the pass was tipped and ended up in the waiting arms of workout-invite linebacker Matt Mayberry, the second one was an ill-advised throw along the left sideline that would have been six easy points for workout-invite safety Cam Nelson. Williams had just the one INT, on that deep ball Moore picked off intended for Markshausen.

Injury Report
Surprisingly, four players sat out Sunday's practice because of various bumps and bruises: receiver Antonio Robinson, linebacker Blaze Soares, receiver Vic Hall and defensive end Lawrence Wilson. Graves did not return after that impressive leaping catch in 7-on-7 drills. But since nobody in the media asked Smith about them after the workout, no diagnosis was available for any of the five rookies.

Stud of the Day
Moore looked awfully sharp out there and might end up being a productive player in Year 1. On that interception, Markshausen never had a chance to get on top of Moore and the ball shouldn't have been thrown in the first place. Forget him about dropping all those punts off the Jugs machine, as some guy named Devin Hester is likely to have that job wrapped up by the season opener in September.

Dud of the Day
All the positives Merchut put on display Saturday was erased by Sunday. Throughout positional drills, he ran bad routes, dropped as many balls as he caught and showed no explosion off the line. You won't see an orange C on his helmet again.

Quote to Note
"On, no. I love our receivers. I think that our receiver corps will be the strength of this team. You can put that in granite. I can promise you that one. There's not very many things I would say are unretractable, but that one is pretty strong. That's a terrific group." – Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, when asked if the Bears need to add a veteran receiver.


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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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