Skip to main content

Bears don't pick until third round but quickly address needs

CHICAGO -- Handcuffed by dealing draft picks to the Denver Broncos for quarterback Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears focused on defense by the time they finally were on the clock.

"It was a good draft for us without having a first- or second-round pick," Bears coach Lovie Smith said.

After trading away both of Saturday's picks, the Bears began Day 2 by selecting San Jose State defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert in Round 3. They spent five of their first seven picks on a defense that finished 28th and 21st in two seasons since their Super Bowl XLI appearance.

"Defensively, we really wanted to infuse our defense with some young talent," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. "That was really one of the goals of this draft.

Chicago also drafted Texas defensive end Henry Melton and Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore in Round 4, Ohio State linebacker Marcus Freeman in Round 5 and Oregon State safety Al Afalava in Round 6.

Two picks before the end of Round 3, the Bears took Oklahoma wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias. They also drafted Abilene Christian wide receiver Johnny Knox in Round 5, Pittsburgh wide receiver Derek Kinder in Round 7 and San Diego State tight end Lance Louis in Round 6.

"Receiver-wise, we knew that was a position we needed to add some players, and we did," Smith said. "From Iglesias, with what he brings as a good, steady receiver with good skills, caught a lot of balls, to the speed of Johnny Knox and the combination we got with Kinder."

Iglesias caught 202 passes for 2,821 yards and 19 touchdowns, including 10 as a senior, at Oklahoma. Knox ran the third-fastest time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine at 4.34 seconds.

"I saw a little more attention, a little more interest after my combine," Knox said.

The Bears found themselves short on receiving help for Cutler. Their top wide receivers last season were Devin Hester with 52 catches and Rashied Davis with 35. Their 2008 third-round pick, Earl Bennett, failed to catch a pass.

The Bears plan to use Gilbert at defensive tackle behind starter Tommie Harris, who has battled an assortment of injuries the past three seasons. Gilbert made 24 college starts at defensive end and 12 at defensive tackle.

"He more looks like an end," Angelo said. "They moved him inside this past year, which I thought was really a great move for him, and obviously he really kind of fit into their defense."

Gilbert made 21.5 sacks for San Jose State, including 9.5 his senior year.

"Either one is actually great for me," Gilbert said. "Inside, I feel like I'm really quick in there. And outside over the tight end, I feel like I'm pretty strong. Either one I feel like I can play pretty well."

Gilbert is the son of former New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Daren Gilbert, but he's also known for an Internet video showing him jumping out of a swimming pool.

"He can do more than jump out of a swimming pool," Smith said.

Melton scored 16 touchdowns in his first two seasons as a short-yardage running back before converting to the defensive side, and he's regarded as a project.

Moore came out for the draft early, after making 12 of his 13 career interceptions in his sophomore and junior seasons.

"I didn't believe I was going to get too much better than what I was," he said. "I was one of the best cornerbacks in the best conference, playing with the best players.

"I felt I was the best cornerback in the draft."

The Bears didn't have a need at linebacker, but they had Freeman rated much higher than the fifth round when they took him. Afalava fills a need because Chicago allowed former starting free safety Mike Brown to leave in free agency.

Louis was an offensive lineman in college, but the Bears project him as a 6-2, 302-pound tight end or even a short-yardage fullback after he ran a 4.75-second 40-yard dash.

"I've never seen a guy that big since Randall McDaniel run that fast, and when he ran that fast, he was about 275 pounds, so he's got some special traits," Angelo said.

Melton and Afalava both were arrested on DUI charges in college, but Angelo is confident there is no risk after exploring their backgrounds.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.