First Impressions

So what did the Bears end up with? It's hard to tell at this point, obviously, in terms of future impact on the team, but both Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo are convinced that the new defensive oriented Bears will offer the best value at their positions. Take a closer look at the five newest members of the defense.

Danieal Manning, the safety out of Abilene Christian evidently impressed the Bears with his performance at the East West game, as well as with his overall production during his senior year. Although it remains to be seen how he'll respond to the major step up in competition, he seems to have good skills and could make a difference in the return game.

The crowds in most NFL stadiums could be a shock for the Corsicana, Texas native as a sellout game in Abilene Christian usually attracted only around 3,000 fans. But he did return three kickoffs and punts for scores. Both Smith and defensive coordinator Ron Rivera seem to feel his impact will be sooner rather than later, but also admit Manning's game will need some development before he is fully able to play at this level.

Devin Hester could be a real find. The future cornerback and return specialist for Chicago played a variety of positions at Miami. Along with cornerback he lined up at wide receiver and tailback. The Bears would rather have him concentrate and develop cornerback, rather than scatter his skills in various positions on the field.

Unlike Manning, Hester has played in a big time athletic program and should be able to make the transition to the NFL with relative ease. He's fast and competed in track while in college. Hester had a 4.36 in the 40 at the Combine to go with a 38-inch vertical jump. He's also known for sure hands with the ball, something the Bears have lacked in the return position for the past few seasons.

With injuries seemingly always occurring in the secondary, extra depth could help the Bears over the course of a 16-game regular season.

Dusty Dvoracek, the 6-3 defensive tackle from Oklahoma also has experienced the pressures of a very competitive college program. As a consensus All-Big Twelve choice in 2005,he seems to have the physical tools. Various draft pundits have mentioned a possible character issue with an alcohol related incident at one point in Dvoracek's college career, but the lineman has quit drinking and claims to have learned his lesson.

In a call with the media after his selection, Dvoracek seemed genuinely delighted to have been chosen by Chicago and sounded to speak of his previous indiscretions with true maturity.

On day two of the draft, the Bears chose yet another defender, LB Jamar Williams of Arizona State. What Angelo and Smith mentioned repeatedly about this player once the pick was announced was his football intelligence, his high skill level and his versatility at all three linebacker positions. Speaking later, Rivera added his surprise that someone with William's talent would still be available at the 159th spot.

Why the hype about Williams? Angelo and Rivera both like his speed and maturity. He appears to be a playmaker. And even better, at 6-foot, 235-pounds Williams seems to fit the Angelo-Smith ideal of an athlete at the position. Williams won't loom over opposing quarterbacks, he could be all over them in a hurry once the ball is snapped with 4.66 40 speed.

In the fifth round the Bears a pass rush specialist, Alabama's Mark Anderson. Like all of his Bears draft predecessors, Anderson was lauded for good speed. He's played defensive end and outside linebacker and seems to have the skills for either position. Again, he's a player with big school experience from a high quality program which should make the transition to the pros that much easier.

At the Combine, Anderson opened eyes with a record 42" vertical leap, a skill he credits to his growing up in a basketball-oriented family. In an interview with the media after hearing from the Bears, Anderson claimed to have always wanted to play for Chicago, which is the best possible thing for any rookie to say.

Neither J.D. Runnels nor Tyler Reed spoke with the media over the weekend, but will get a chance to answer questions this weekend at the Bears rookie mini-camp.


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