LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears' interest level in East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden became clear on Day 3 of the NFL draft.
Instead of taking a more traditional approach to upgrade at quarterback -- the Bears passed on drafting Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson at No. 71 and UCLA’s Brett Hundley at No. 142 -- first-year general manager Ryan Pace worked hard behind to scenes to sign Carden after the quarterback went undrafted.
“I was a little anxious throughout the day. I thought my name would be called, but everything happens for a reason,” Carden said at rookie minicamp. “I talked to the Bears pretty quickly and things worked out. The conversations my agent had with them late in the draft was like, ‘Hey, if he slips out, we need to talk to him fast.’ I think they assumed I’d be drafted, at least in the sixth or seventh, but you know, it worked out and I’m in Chicago.”
In fact, the Bears believed Carden was a draftable player based on their evaluations. Keep in mind the Bears did not have a 2015 seventh-round pick because of the Brandon Marshall trade; otherwise the club may have opted to burn a draft choice on Carden.
“He was actually a guy that we had good grades on, a guy that could have potentially been a draft pick,” Bears head coach John Fox said. “Our scouts, obviously, saw a lot more of him than the coaching staff. But he was productive, smart. He has good moxie, being able to execute in a pass offense that throws the ball quite a bit and was very productive.”
Carden is one of three quarterbacks present at the Bears’ rookie minicamp, sharing the snaps with tryout throwers Chase Cartwright (Northern Arizona) and Patrick Devlin (Delaware). The 6-foot-2 Carden will presumably battle David Fales for the No. 3 job behind Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen, if the Bears intend to keep three quarterbacks on the active 53-man roster. Many teams prefer to keep just two quarterbacks on the 53 to improve roster flexibility in other areas.
“Right now I’m just learning this playbook as fast as I can, getting down to competing, getting better every day, just showing I can pick this playbook up,” Carden said. “I’m going to go out there and compete every day. But it’s fun, it’s fun learning a new playbook. There are some different things I haven’t got the chance to do, and I’m enjoying it right now. So it’s just a matter of getting it all, feeling comfortable with it and making sure the 10 guys around you feels comfortable, too.”