From 1998 until 2013, the Chicago Bears had a good thing going and you probably didn’t even know it.
That’s when Patrick Mannelly played 245 games during a productive 16-year career in which he had one simple job – long snapping the ball to a punter, holder, or, on the rare occasion, a back-up or kicker on the occasional trick play. Mannelly was one of the constants on Dave Toub’s stellar special teams units, and he was reliable, productive, and steady for any years.
Of course, Mannelly retired in 2013 and has since parlayed his lengthy NFL career into a spot in the radio business. If only Chicago was lucky enough to have such a smooth transition with regards to its long snapper position.
Indeed, the Bears haven’t found stability at the position, which is probably an underrated concern, considering its importance to the all-important kicking game.
But maybe that’s about to change:
There has been a LS drafted each of the past 3 years, and I think Carew is picked late
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) March 22, 2018
Eric Edholm tweets that the Bears (as well as, ugh, the Packers) have been scouting Oregon’s Tanner Carew. And as Edholm notes that a long snapper has been drafted in each of the last three years, there is a decent chance Carew makes it four-in-a-row.
The Bears could have the inside track on Carew, should they choose to prioritize him with a late-round pick. After all, he played his college ball for the Oregon Ducks and was coached by Mark Helfrich – who know serves as the Bears’ offensive coordinator.
Chicago went through three long snappers in John Fox’s final season with the team. Patrick Scales suffered an ACL injury during the preseason and Jeff Overbaugh’s time with the team was short-lived. The Bears eventually settled on Andrew DePaola, who has since signed a rich deal with the Oakland Raiders.
Long snapper doesn’t jump off the page as a need, but special teams coordinator Chris Tabor saw first-hand the value of stability that Mannelly brought to the position while he served as an assistant under Dave Toub. Tabor his finger prints on the Bears signing kicker Cody Parkey, and his familiarity with the AFC North could have been a driving force behind the interest in Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber. It’s possible that Tabor could try to chime in and suggest taking a stud special teamer to round out his group.