I once blew off a story on the Bears signing a third-string quarterback to write what I thought was a better story on a defensive end who was cut even though he was second on the team in sacks. The defensive end was Mark Thomas, who you probably don’t remember. But the quarterback was Jim Miller, who would become the Bears’ starter in 1999 and went 11-2 and led the Bears to the playoffs in 2001.
Lesson learned. It’s all about the quarterback. So here’s the deal with Jerrod Johnson, the quarterback the Bears signed to their practice squad Sunday. His first name is pronounced ja-ROD. He’s 6-5, 250 and played basketball, wide receiver and quarterback at Texas A&M. He started as a junior in 2009 and went 6-7, including a loss to Georgia in the Independence Bowl, when he passed for 362 yards and ran for 51.
He began the 2010 season as the preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, but threw four picks against Florida International (a 27-20 victory) and Oklahoma State (with five TDs in a 38-35 loss) and eventually lost his job to Ryan Tannehill.
Johnson went undrafted in 2011, but was the No. 1 overall pick of the USFL draft a week later. Unfortunately, the league went out of business and Johnson never played a game for the Harford Colonials.
He signed with the Eagles in 2011, the Steelers in 2012 and the Seahawks in 2013, but was cut by each team before playing in a regular-season game.
For what it’s worth, here is the scouting report on Johnson from Pro Football Weekly in 2011. It’s easy to tell from the “positives” why Marc Trestman and Phil Emery like the guy.
Positives:‘‘Excellent size. Can sidestep the initial rush and throw with touch. Outstanding work ethic and passion for the game. Terrific intangibles. Studies the game. Team player. Outstanding character — class act. Solid career production.’’
Negatives: ‘‘Marginal arm strength for his size. Overgrips the ball and it comes out with a loose rotation, floats and sails high as if it were in slow motion. Has an elongated delivery and telegraphs his passes. Inconsistent throwing mechanics leads to inaccuracy — too often sprays the ball. Lacks pocket poise and passing instincts. Often locks in to his targets and does not feel pressure. Average mobility.’’
Summary: ‘‘Streaky performer who was benched late in his senior season after regressing, not showing the same arm strength he did prior to offseason surgery and pressing way too much. Athletic enough to garner some interest as a projected tight end, but brightest future in football might turn out to be as a coach.’’