The California Kid

The Chicago Bears bypassed some more-pressing positions of need in the third round -- namely wide receiver, cornerback and linebacker -- to draft California free safety Chris Conte.

With the 93rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Chicago Bears chose safety Chris Conte. Conte, a native of Los Angeles, played college ball for the University of California. Conte spent his first three seasons lining up as a reserve cornerback. He was moved to safety in his final season and earned All-Pac 10 honors.

Conte (6-2, 197) brings speed and athleticism to his position. In 2010 he had a breakout year working under Cal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. Conte started 12 games at free safety during his final season at Cal and had 72 tackles, one interception and three deflected passes.

Scout.com gave Conte a three-star rating going into the draft, ranking him as the nation's 65th safety overall.

"Chris has a lot of good football ahead of him," said Bears GM Gerry Angelo. "His value was just too good to pass up. We emphasize the quality of players and want players who are a good fit for us. Chris has the size and speed we need. We liked him during the scouting process and felt that if we were able to get him it would be a no brainer to get him."

Angelo characterized the draft as "difficult" but seemed pleased with the selections the Bears have made.

"We focused on fit and quality," he said. "The value at the safety position made Chris stand out."


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