Chicago Bears' Comments on Currie

Airese Currie, a four-year star wide out at Clemson, became the fourth offensive player the Bears selected in as many picks.

As a senior at Clemson, Currie brought in 61 passes for 868 yards and two touchdowns. As a junior, he was the leading receiver on the team until he went down with an ankle injury. He finished the year with 43 catches for 560 yards, despite missing three games and essentially not playing in two more.

Over the course of his career, Airese averaged 14.7 yards on 138 receptions for 2,030 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The 5-foot-10, 186 pounder was also a collegiate sprint champion who has a personal best of a blazing 10.22 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

Obviously, his speed is one of the biggest reasons the Bears were interested.

"He's a very fast, quick, inside receiver," said Greg Gabriel Director of College Scouting for the Bears. "Not that I can compare him to anyone, but we're trying to get fast, we're trying to get playmakers. He made plays at Clemson. When you put on the tape, you see the speed and that's the important thing for us."

The Bears selected Mark Bradley from Okalahoma in the second round in the hopes he can develop into a deep threat. Opposite Muhsin Muhammad, the Bears are looking for a receiver threat can stretch the field, and Currie represents one of the fastest players available in the 2005 Draft.

Foot injuries are the main reason Currie dropped to the fifth-round. He recently had surgery on his left foot to repair a stress fracture. Both the Bears and Currie compared the injury to what David Terrell had coming out of Michigan and broke in 2002.

Despite his left foot currently being in a walking boot, the Bears are looking at the long-term investment.

"You're not drafting them for today or tomorrow, you're drafting them for a career," Gabriel said. "It wasn't a big thing, it was a stress fracture the type of thing that if he didn't get it fixed, sooner or later it was going to break. It could've been this year, it could've been three years, but some day it will break. But now it's fixed so the problem's gone."

The good news from a Bears' perspective is they only had to invest a fifth round pick in Currie, who was the 140th overall selection.

Currie arrived at Clemson four years ago as one of the most highly recruited wide outs in the country. His numbers, when healthy, were always strong, but there always seemed to be a perception that he failed to do a lot with his abilities.

However, Currie believes his best performances on the field have yet to come.

"To tell you the truth, I think I have a lot more to go in terms of growing as a player," the South Carolina native told CUTigers.com last week. "I think maybe I could've been used more ways or excelled in things we didn't use. I feel I have a lot more potential left and I'm going to get much better."

With the selection of Cedric Benson, Bradley and Currie, the Bears have added something their opponents are going to have to game plan against.

"We didn't have people who going into this draft that we felt scared people," Gabriel said. "With Mark Bradley, with Benson, with this guy, we've got people who are adding an element of speed."


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