Bears keep foot on the pedal

On the second day of the draft the Bears continued what they began on Day One: seeking to become faster, quicker and more mobile on defense.

Last year the Bears were dead last in sacks, 22nd in points allowed and 21st in interceptions. Coach Lovie Smith believes increased speed will improve all those areas of weakness.

"That's what Lovie wants," Bears director of college scouting Greg Gabriel said. "Lovie wants speed."

He got it on Sunday, but he had to wait a little while. The Bears traded down six spots from No. 104 when the speed-rushing, undersized defensive ends they had earmarked - Auburn's Reggie Torbor and Purdue's Shaun Phillips - went with the first two picks at 97 and 98. But they claimed Texas cornerback Nathan Vasher at 110 and Maryland linebacker Leon Joe two picks later with the extra choice they acquired from dealing down with the 49ers.

Both players are significantly smaller than NFL prototypes, but they're also faster. So is 252-pound defensive end Claude Harriott, the Bears' first fifth-round pick who had 9.5 sacks in 2002 but wasn't nearly as productive last season. His role will be as a situational pass rusher.

"We have a different look to our defense now, especially our defensive line," Smith said. "Those three (Harriott, Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson) are exactly what we're looking for."

One pick after Harriott, at No. 148, the Bears added Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel, who has the smarts to learn the offense with limited reps as the No. 3 guy. Seventh-round Miami CB Alfonso Marshall (215th overall) is an extra DB with man-to-man cover ability.

Bear Report Top Stories