Bears Draft: First Round Target

Several mock drafts have the Bears taking a tight end in the first round, but with a deep class the position could be addressed down the line. With that in mind, Florida State CB Antonio Cromartie could be a steal with the 26th selection.

Without a knee injury, which cost him the entire 2005 campaign, Cromartie could be a top ten pick and the first cornerback off the board. He was an All-Conference selection as a sophomore with 22 tackles, 4 interceptions and 6 pass break-ups. He saw extensive playing time as a true freshman, posting 19 stops, an interception and 2 pass break-ups.

A torn ACL, MCL and hamstring he suffered in the preseason pushed Cromartie down draft boards. Still he took the chance to go pro with his family in mind.

"It was tough for me. For me, when I grew up, I was always in the projects," Cromartie said. "So it was money. It was always a problem for us family-wise. But I feel like (now that) I'm taking on this opportunity now we won't have any financial problems for the rest of our lives."

Cromartie began to change his fortune at the NFL Combine when he proved to be healthy by participating in all the drills. He clocked in at 4.51 seconds during the 40. Less than a month later he improved to roughly 4.4 seconds at FSU's pro day and had a 42-inch vertical jump. ranks Cromartie as the fifth best cornerback prospect, earning a four-star rating. An added bonus with the six-foot-2, 208-pounders game is his experience in the return game.

Meaning Cromartie could fill two needs for the Bears as a rookie. Along with being the nickel back, he could compete for the kick and punt return job in training camp.

While Cromartie is similar in size to Charles Tillman, Nathan Vasher is versatile enough in his game to play the slot receiver in the nickel package.

TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Natural cover corner who shuts down opponents. Physical, sized well and jams opponents at the line. Mirrors receivers down the field and offers blanket coverage. Flips his hips in transition, quickly gets his head back around and immediately locates the ball. Aggressive in run defense.

Negative: Lacks quick and fluid footwork in reverse. Slow reacting to receivers' moves.

Analysis: A junior who entered the season with high grades before his knee injury, Cromartie offers terrific upside for the next level. Will see playing time as a rookie if given a clean bill of health.

Bear Report Top Stories