Bears continue defensive trend

GM Jerry Angelo continued to add depth on defense by selecting Texas CB Nathan Vasher and Maryland LB Leon Joe.

"These guys are going to make the team, they're going to be quality players, they're going to be real good special-teams players," said director of college scouting Greg Gabriel.

The Bears were high on linebackers Reggie Torbor and Shaun Phillips, but they were the first two picks in the fourth round. Chicago then dropped back 8 slots (from 104th to 112th overall) to select Joe and picked up San Francisco's fifth-round pick, which later turned into DE Claude Harriott.

With their original 4th-round pick the Bears took Vasher, who had 17 career interceptions at Texas, adds depth to the secondary and is also regarded as a top punt returner. He averaged 14.0 yards per attempt and brought two back for the Longhorns.

"If he's not the best he's the second-best punt returner in college football this year so that gives us a guy who can do that," Gabriel said.

Vasher had the benefit of going up against Roy Williams in practice and the two could now meet again as the Detroit Lions selected the receiver in the first-round.

"We get to look forward to having some really good ballgames over the next couple years," Vasher said of trying to shutdown his former teammate.

While Vasher is undersized at 5-foot-10 and 177 pounds, he makes up for his lack of bulk with athletic ability.

"He can jump, he can run, he's been a physical player, very good run support player at Texas," Gabriel said. "He's got a strong upper body, I think he's a 15, 16-rep guy at 225."

Still Vasher may have to add weight as some of the biggest receivers in the game preside in the NFC North. The Bears project Vasher as a dime back that could eventually mature into a starter.

"I think he's going to come in, he'll be a fourth corner off the bat," Gabriel said. "He's going to eventually compete and grow into being a 3 or a 2, real god player, played in a good conference, tough kid."

The Bears also had the benefit of knowing Vasher through new wide receivers coach Daryl Drake, who held the same positions for the past six seasons at Texas.

Like Vasher, who runs a forty in the 4.4 range, the Bears added another fast defender with their second fourth-round selection (112th overall). LB Leon Joe out of Maryland has great speed and has been clocked at 4.55. He attributes his work in track and field to being drafted.

"It helps me get to the ball a lot faster then if I didn't have that speed, so I'm glad I started running track in high school," Joe said. "I think that's the main part of my game."

Joe projects as a weakside linebacker. Lance Briggs has that spot locked down, but with Warrick Holdman gone the Bears need depth at linebacker and at worst Joe is expected to be a special teams contributor.


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