Defensive Fifth Round

Despite having an opportunity to draft quarterback Kurt Kittner with their first of two fifth rounds selection Chicago choose to go with Louisiana Tech safety Bobby Gray. Kittner went to the Falcons 18 picks later.

Bears director of college scouting Greg Gabriel said Gray (6-0, 209) is similar in stature to departed safety Tony Parrish.

"You'll love this guy because he'll hit people," Gabriel said. "How good is he going to be in coverage (is a question) but from what we've seen he's instinctive, a good tackler and in the worst case scenario he's a special teams player."

The reason Gray was still on the board because safety isn't considered a glamour position.

"Safeties generally don't go as high as value position. You can find good safeties late in the draft."

Gray Bio Notes: Partial qualifier in 1997. Played in every game and generally started in '98, when he had 83 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack. Also broke up three passes and picked off one. Had 85 tackles, two tackles for loss, four passes broken up and one pick in '99. In 2000, led the team in tackles by 40 with 119, despite missing one game and most of another with a concussion. Also picked off a pass and broke up two. Won All-Western Athletic Conference honors in '01, when he had a team-best 103 tackles. Also broke up five passes and picked off two more. Plays a rover-SS position in college.

Positives: Hard worker. Loves the game, and football is very important to him. Extremely well-built with a powerful upper body. Top competitor and hitter and team captain. Tackles very well in close quarters and is fearless. Can be very effective when he lines up in the box and can play like an extra linebacker against the run. Should be a good special-teams player.

Negatives: Is not a gifted open-field athlete or cover man. Does not react that quickly to the pass and will get a late break on the ball at times. Has limited range and loses a lot when he must turn his hips and run with the receiver. Will miss some open-field tackles because of a lack of great agility.

Summary: In-the-box type of SS candidate who will have to improve his coverage skills somewhat.

The Bears used their second fifth round pick on Pittsburgh linebacker Bryan Knight. Despite spending time at defensive end at Pitt he should provide depth at linebacker and could be a situation pass rusher in the mold of Rosevelt Colvin.

He had productive sack numbers at defensive end during his junior (11.5 sacks) and senior (8.5) seasons.

Notes: Played tight end and defensive end in high school, despite being only 190 pounds. Was tried at wide receiver but wound up redshirting in 1997. Moved to defense in '98 and had 24 stops, including one for a loss and 1/2 sack. Started as a defensive end the past three years. Had 69 stops, nine for loss, three sacks and one pick in '99; 74-26-11 1/2-1 and five passes broken up in 2000, when he won All-Big East honors and was the best defensive player on the team. Had 52-18-8 1/2 in '01, when he won first-team All-Big East honors for the second year in a row, despite being slowed much of the year by a bad ankle sprain. Projects to linebacker on the next level.

Positives: Looks athletic and plays a lot quicker than he times. Off tapes, would have estimated his speed at 4.6-4.7. Has quick upfield moves and can get to the quarterback. Is not another Hugh Green, but he looks like a pretty good athlete who should be able to move laterally and pedal well enough for linebacker. Plays much faster than he times.

Negatives: Is not very big for a linebacker and may have to play on the weak side. Has very little experience dropping into pass coverage and does not look that fluid. Too small to play over the tight end and can't stack very well. Does not have a really good 40-time. Lacks moves as a pass rusher and needs to beat blocker right off the bat to get the job done.

Summary: Interesting projection pick.

* Player biographies are provided by Pro Football Weekly.

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