Bears met with Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg

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Former Penn State Christian Hackenberg could be a mid-round bargain. (AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — After saying they would evaluate mid-round quarterbacks in a search for a backup, the Bears met with perhaps the most intriguing one at the NFL Scouting Combine: former Penn State signal-caller Christian Hackenberg.

Hackenberg said Thursday he sat down with the Bears the night before, which jibes with GM Ryan Pace’s assertion that their scouts earn their money by evaluating bargains at the position.

Once considered a possible No. 1 overall pick, Hackenberg struggled the past two seasons with the Nittany Lions — partially because of a struggling offensive line.

He was a promising 18-year-old freshman under Bill O’Brien before he left for the Texans, and many of those qualities haven’t changed. At 6-4, 236 pounds with a big arm, Hackenberg’s measurable are among the most impressive in the draft. His knowledge of O’Brien’s NFL scheme is also considered a positive.

A two-time captain who declared after his junior year, Hackenberg left as the program’s leading passer.

He’s been training for the past eight weeks with former Bears quarterback Jordan Palmer.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “My biggest fear is just not being able to reach my full potential.”

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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