Pro Day Buzz: Safety Off the List?

Safety looks to be a need position for the Chicago Bears, even though Jerry Angelo sung the praises of Craig Steltz recently. Maybe Angelo was serious, as team officials did not attend the Pro Day for one of the prospects they scouted closely at the Senior Bowl. Who may have been scratched off the list?

21 of the 32 NFL teams were on hand Tuesday for Pro Day at Western Michigan, but the Monsters of the Midway curiously were not one of them.

This is an interesting development because the top prospect the Broncos have to offer is safety Louis Delmas, and safety certainly appears to be a position of need for the Bears in the 2009 NFL Draft. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that Chicago spent a lot of time with Delmas in Mobile at the Senior Bowl in January, so it's possible the front office has scratched him off their list of potential draftees this April. General manager Jerry Angelo expressed some confidence in '08 fourth-round draft pick Craig Steltz when asked about replacing Mike Brown at the Scouting Combine last month, and his confidence now looks to have been solidified since the Midway Monsters were absent in Kalamazoo.

Chicago announced this offseason that Brown, who looked to be indestructible his first four years in the league but has battled numerous lower-leg injuries the last five, will not be back in 2009.

While Delmas is a quality player and figures to come off the board in the late first or early second round, he does have a history of concussions as a collegian – the Bears simply can't afford to have yet another safety constantly in and out of the lineup.


S Louis Delmas
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Should Steltz indeed be handed the keys to the starting job at free safety, he'll have some big shoes to fill since Brown is a former Pro Bowler and was the emotional leader of the defense for almost a decade.

As for Delmas (5-11, 197) and how he projects, he was a four-year starter and a three-time all-conference performer during his career at WMU. He is a physical defender against the run and plays much bigger than his size would indicate, and he's a natural playmaker in coverage with noticeable instincts for the game. His level of competition will be called into question and his tackling can be a bit sloppy at times, yet he still has an opportunity to be the first safety drafted in what is considered a so-so class at best.

But if Angelo was legitimately interested in Delmas as a Day-1 selection, it's reasonable to assume he would have at least sent a representative to watch him up close one last time at his Pro Day.

On the other hand, one could argue that the Bears saw everything they needed to see from Delmas in Indy at the combine, especially because all he did Tuesday was positional drills and the 60-yard shuffle.


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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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