Deep Threat

The Bears shifted to offense with their third-round pick and believe they added something the offense has been sorely lacking with the selection of Fresno State WR Bernard Berrian.

"He comes to us with track-type speed," offensive coordinator Terry Shea said of Berrian.

The Bears have plenty of size in the depth chart at receiver, but no true burner and with 4.46 on grass, which is a slower running surface than Astroturf.

"There's no doubt that after spending two mini-camps with our guys, he will come in and be one of the more dynamic runners in terms of the receiving corps," Shea said. "I would like to believe that if he's capable enough, that we could use him and use his ability to push coverage and to run after the catch. I think he's got some real traits from that standpoint."

Before David Carr became the first pick in the 2002 draft his main target at Fresno State was Berrian, who reached the end zone 13 times with 85 receptions for 1364 yards during his junior campaign. After Carr left Berrian struggled to keep his production at the same level.

"There's only so many David Carr's that come around and I was fortunate enough to play with him," Berrian said.

A knee injury in the season opener forced Berrian to redshirt rather than miss half the season. As a senior he had 63 receptions, but averaged just 10.6 yards per catch.

"This past year, if he watched him closely, you watched a very inaccurate quarterback play for Fresno," Shea said. "I think that was their Achilles' heel in some ways. He didn't have David Carr throwing to him."

Berrian brings the added benefit of being a top-notch punt and kick returner, reaching the end zone four times.

Jerry Azumah made the Pro Bowl a year ago when he led the NFL in kick return average and R.W. McQuarters finished among the punt return leaders, but the Bears would prefer not to have to use two of their top three corners on special teams.

While Berrian could make an immediate impact in the return game, he could also challenge David Terrell, Justin Gage, Bobby Wade and Ahmad Merritt for playing time. At this point Marty Booker is only sure thing among the receivers on the roster.

However at 6-foot-1, 183 pounds he may have to bulk up somewhat to be able handle the NFL physically.


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