Frampton Comes Alive for Bears

Lovie Smith is happy to have Adam Archuleta at his disposal once again, and all indicators say Archuleta is ecstatic to be back with his former coordinator. All that aside, there are still some questions that have to be answered including whether Mike Brown will move back to free safety, plus the draft is approaching. Eric Frampton is a guy the Bears like, so where might he fit?

The Bears were woefully thin at safety down the stretch last season, losing Mike Brown to injured reserve in Week 6 and seeing the likes of Chris Harris and Todd Johnson battle minor injuries, too. Danieal Manning played pretty well early in his rookie year before faltering toward the end. Brandon McGowan spent the majority of the season on IR once again, and it's impossible to predict what the team has in unproven youngsters Tyler Everett and Nick Turnbull.

GM Jerry Angelo made a big step toward repairing the depth chart at safety when he sent a draft pick to Washington for Adam Archuleta, a player coveted in free agency just a year ago. Brown will be back but his recent history of getting hurt is alarming, so it's quite possible the Bears will target another safety in the NFL Draft at the end of this month. Questions remain – Will Brown be moved back to free safety? Can Danieal Manning play cornerback? Is Archuleta the player he used to be? – no matter how you slice it.

Although the Bears probably won't take another safety at No. 31 or No. 37 anymore after the Archuleta trade, a fresh face could still be on the horizon.

During a recent interview with Washington State safety Eric Frampton, he talked about some of the teams he met with at the NFL Combine that showed interest in him such as the Broncos and Bengals. But he said he really felt he connected well with members of the Bears coaching staff during his interview with them.

Frampton is currently projected as a Day 2 pick in this year's draft but has been rising according to some reports. A fan favorite at Washington State for his tough, big-hitting style of play, Frampton also picked off five passes during his senior year and forced a pair of fumbles.

Is he on his way to the Windy City?

Eric Frampton tackles Arizona's Syndric Steptoe (AP Photo/John Miller)
NFL DRAFT SNAPSHOT

Eric Frampton
S, Washington State

Numbers: 5'11", 205 pounds

2006 Stats: 5 INT, 8 PD, 100 tackles (55 solo), 5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 QB pressure, 2 FF in 12 games

Career Stats: 6 INT, 16 PD, 187 tackles (107 solo), 11 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 QB pressures, 3 FF in 47 games

The Buzz: Thrives in a system where he's allowed to use his tremendous instincts  ... "Sweet kid, but he's a headhunter. A tough kid, and the pro scouts say that, too." -- Washington St. coach Ken Greene ... A physical, sure-tackling safety with a nose for the ball who flies around the field ... "Perhaps the best safety no one seems to be talking about." -- NFLDraftScout.com ... His five interceptions during his senior campaign helped draw attention to his play, but it's his offseason performances that have helped more teams make note of him ... The significant performance gains he's made over the last two seasons are a positive as he appears to really be settling in and hitting his stride as a player.

Noteworthy: All-Pac-10 first team ... Iron Man Award for largest contribution and most plays on special teams in 2004 ... Assassin Award for most tackles on special teams in 2004 ... Led team in tackles each of his two starting seasons ... Led the team in interceptions in 2006.

For more about Eric Frampton, visit his profile page at Scout.com. And check back this week for our exclusive two-part interview with him!

Ed Thompson of Scout.com contributed to this story.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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