Bears Interested in a Viking?

Although general manger Jerry Angelo said he prefers to look for sleepers from big time college programs, his scouts are spending time with prospects from smaller schools. Read about a cornerback who could be a second day diamond in the rough.

Whenever the off-season actually begins, the Bears plan to address cornerback. Even though the start of free agency has been pushed back a second time, the draft is the more likely route for the team to strengthen the position.

Angelo has taken at least one cornerback in three of his four drafts with the Bears. He's been successful finding talent outside of the first round. Charles Tillman was a second round pick in 2003, while Nathan Vasher proved to be a steal the fourth round.

However, Angelo's first draft brought Roosevelt Williams in the third round. He also took Alfonso Marshall in the seventh round of the 2004 draft. Marshall made the roster as a rookie, but has been sidelined for much of his two seasons with a knee injury.

The Bears have spent time talking with defensive back and return specialist Danieal Manning from Division II Abilene Christian. It appears another small school prospect has caught their eye.

Tarrence Rhodes, a cornerback out of Missouri Valley, has a rare combination of speed and size. Despite his six-foot-2, 195-pound frame he ran the forty-yard dash in 4.36 seconds.

If Rhodes had turned in that time at the scouting combine, it would have been among the fastest among the defensive backs.

Rhodes lack of quality competition at the NAIA level will likely keep him from going on the first day of the draft. Teams requested game film to get an idea if his speed matched his play on the field. He was a first team Heart all-conference performer as a senior. In 2004 he tallied 65 tackles for the Vikings.

Aside from the Bears several other teams talked to him when he participated at Missouri's pro day on March 2nd. Among them were the Cardinals, Panthers, Saints, and Texans.

If the Bears went after Rhodes, it would be because the team has added a veteran in free agency and feels comfortable taking a chance on a potential prospect in the latter rounds of the draft. Another scenario for Rhodes coming to Chicago is after taking a defensive back early on day one, the team is looking to boost their depth at the position.

Either way, Rhodes' name is worth remembering come draft weekend.

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