Bears Go Defense in the Sixth Round

Offense prevailed with the Bears first four picks in the draft, but the team decided to address the other side of the ball in the sixth round by selecting safety Chris Harris from Louisiana-Monroe.

"I think that's real special," Chris Harris said. "For me to be that first defensive selection, that means a lot to me, for them to think I was that good of a player to be their first defensive selection, even though it was in the sixth round."

With the return of Mike Brown from an Achilles injury, which allowed players like Todd Johnson to get on the field, the Bears appear to have depth at safety. However, the Bears felt Chris Harris was the best player on the board with the 181st selection.

"I know our scouts really liked him and I know Coach (Lovie) Smith really liked him and to be honest with you the defensive coaches all as a whole really felt that the young man is going to be a good solid pick for us," said defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. "We've got a lot of hopes on this young man developing into the kind of guy we need to have around."

The six-foot-1, 214-pounder has a reputation for being a physical player, which on occasion has led him to miss tackles.

Still, he made his fair share of stops in college and showed a good eye for the ball. He tallied 383 tackles and14 interceptions.

"I love to catch the ball," Harris said. "I ended up with seven interceptions this past season. That's the one thing I stressed this past summer going into the season. I worked on that just to make sure I got my hands right and everything so I could come down with the picks and make some turnovers."

Although Harris has the frame to move to outside linebacker, the Bears plan on using him at safety. Whether it will be strong or free is still to be decided.

The Bears have had success with finding members of the secondary out of small schools in Louisiana. In 2003 Charles Tillman was a second round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette. A year earlier the Bears took Bobby Gray from Louisiana Tech in the fifth round. In 2000 Mike Green was "Mr. Irrelevant" out of Northwestern State in Louisiana.

"I try to keep in contact with all of the Louisiana people who have been in the NFL," Harris said. "I've been keeping tabs on them in Chicago."

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