In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears made a selection that hardly anyone expected. In the sixth round, Chicago drafted punter Pat O’Donnell. Knowing that the Bears had other important needs, this pick came as a surprise to many fans in the Windy City.
O’Donnell was the only punter selected in the entire draft, and can be seen as a possible wasted pick, considering that Chicago probably could have signed the former Miami Hurricane as an undrafted free agent.
However, the chances of O’Donnell making the 53-man roster for the 2014 NFL season looks pretty good. Prior to adding the 2013 First-team All ACC selection to the roster, the Bears signed punter Drew Butler to a future/reserve contract, joining fellow punter Adam Podlesh on the depth chart. Leading up to the draft, Chicago severed ties with Podlesh, and later did the same with Butler after selecting O’Donnell.
Currently, the only competition for the rookie punter in training camp this upcoming summer is Tress Way, who has no NFL experience as well.
This will be one competition that will probably take the entire preseason to decide. The one thing that could put O’Donnell ahead of Way is his kickoff ability, in addition to the 47.1 yards per punt he averaged during his final year of college.
I’m sure that the Bears will give O’Donnell every chance possible to make the team, and to prove that he was worth investing a draft pick on. Either way, Chicago’s punting situation will be one to keep an eye on all season long.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.