Bears go for defense, quarterback in rounds 4 through 7
Chicago’s haul in the final day of the NFL Draft included the fourth-rated defensive end, a cornerback who thrives in man-to-man coverage and a record-setting dual-threat quarterback.
The Bears started Saturday with a fourth-round player they had never considered: Injury prone Northwestern defensive end Corey Wootton, who even coming off knee surgery was rated higher (No. 44 overall) by Pro Football Weekly than Friday’s third-round safety Major Wright (No. 82).
“I don’t think we ever thought Corey would be there,” Greg Gabriel, the Bears director of college scouting, said of the 109th overall pick.
Wootton had 10 sacks as a junior but only four as a senior after tearing the ACL and MCL ligaments and meniscus cartilage in his right knee at the end of the 2008 season. He had surgery in January 2009 and said he played at “70 percent” as a senior but is “90-95 percent now.”
“His knee is sound,” Gabriel said.
Wootton projects more of an all-around type like Alex Brown, whom the Bears recently released, than the pass-rush specialist general manager Jerry Angelo was looking for.
“We see him as a three-down player, the prototypical (end) on the left side,” Angelo said.
While Chicago’s picks in rounds three (Wright), four (Wootton) and six (Dan LeFevour) were high-character guys, fifth-round cornerback Joshua Moore of Kansas State was academically ineligible as a sophomore and was called “lazy and immature” in Pro Football Weekly’s scouting report.
“He needs structure,” Angelo said. “We feel we can offer him that structure. Take school out of the equation, put football in his diet seven days a week, and we like what he can become.”
Moore also bench pressed 225 pounds only twice at the NFL Scouting Combine. But he did rank second and first in tackles for Kansas State the past two years.
“He needs to work on upper body strength to become more physical, but he is a very willing tackler,” defensive backs coach Jon Hoke said. “You didn’t see him shy away from contact. That was a good thing. As long as they are willing, they’ve got a chance.”
Hoke also said Moore played his best in Kansas State’s biggest games.
“That’s what intrigues you about the guy,” Hokey said. “When he’s playing big teams, he played extremely well.”
LeFevour grew up in Long Grove. The sixth-round pick had an NCAA-record 149 passing and rushing touchdowns at Central Michigan and is the only player with more than 12,000 yards passing and 2,500 rushing. Angelo said his 4.65 time in the 40 was the fastest of any quarterback at the NFL Combine.
Bears area scout Jeff Shiver compared the 6-2 ½, 238-pound LeFevour to Bobby Douglass, who in 1972 passed for 1,246 yards for the Bears and ran for 968.
“This guy may be the most athletic non-athlete guy I’ve ever laid eyes on,” Shiver said. “You think he’s going to be one of these statues back there, but everybody is falling around him and the next thing you know he is high-tailing it down the field.”
LeFevour doesn’t have a strong arm, but Shiver said today’s NFL offenses don’t require one.
“It’s just getting rid of it and throwing to the right guy,” Shiver said. “That’s what he does. He’s amazing to watch.”
LeFevour is the first quarterback drafted by the Bears since Kyle Orton in 2004. Angelo compared him to a more athletic Orton.
“There have been a lot of good stories about down-the-line quarterbacks, and hopefully Dan is one of them,” Angelo said.
The Bears’ final pick was 6-foot-8, 335-pound offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb. “In the seventh round,” Angelo said, “you can’t get too excited about any player, other than he’s a fit for you in terms of need.”
Assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge can be reached at 815-987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.