Player Spotlight: Shurron Pierson

LAKE FOREST - In acquiring Shurron Pierson from the Raiders, the Bears made their third trade in less than two weeks to sure up the defensive line.

While Pierson has only played linebacker since being selected by Oakland in the fourth-round (129th overall) of the 2003 draft, his natural position is defensive end.

"It's my first chance to play end in the league. It's like a fresh start just like I just got drafted again," Pierson said. "Chicago wants me to be go back to my old days, so I'm all for it."

In his two years at Southern Florida, where he racked up 18 sacks and 21 tackles for loss.

The Bears didn't have a lot of interest in Pierson when he came out of college because he didn't fit in the previous scheme. However his skill set is a perfect fit for what Lovie Smith expects from his defensive ends. The Bears plan on using the six-foot-2, 250-pounder as a situational pass rusher.

"He's a speed rusher, he ran a 4.47 and if you know anything about Coach Smith that's what he loves off the corner," said defensive ends coach Karl Dunbar.

Pierson will wear jersey number 99 and considering the timing of the trade it's likely he'll make the team, which means Alain Kashama and Israel Idonije are in jeopardy with of not making the 53-man roster.

"We've got to make a decision on the 53 we're going to keep and the only way you can evaluate someone is to put them in the fire," Dunbar said. "It's just always trying to upgrade, I mean if you don't you get stuck. You either get better or you get worse. And brining in a young guy in like that who might be a developmental guy. Someone we can groom for the future."

Pierson's rookie season proved to be an adjustment. He didn't make the Raiders team out of training camp and spent part of the season on the practice squad. He finished the year on the active roster, but only appeared in six games.

The Bears are still getting to know Pierson's game. Dunbar received film of his preseason games today. For the time being Pierson is trying to play catch up with the Bears defense. He'll get a chance to show what he's learned on Friday, as he's expected to play a lot in the preseason finale.

"We'll call some vanilla defenses for him and just let him run," Dunbar said.


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