Minicamp Report: Friday's Workout

The Chicago Bears had nine selections in the 2009 NFL Draft, and all nine were on display for the first time Friday. Receiver Juaquin Iglesias looks ready to contribute as a rookie, and tackle Jarron Gilbert was all smiles. Bear Report had a front-row seat for the action and made these observations ...

Pick Six
With no quarterbacks drafted this past weekend and none signed as undrafted free agents, the Monsters of the Midway simply invited three passers to minicamp on a tryout basis this weekend: C.J. Bacher of Northwestern, Chase Patton of Missouri, and Drew Weatherford of Florida State. It's not a good sign that two of the three didn't even start this past year in college, as Patton backed up Chase Daniel for the Tigers and Weatherford was beaten out by Christian Ponder for the Seminoles – he started for most of his first three seasons, though. Weatherford threw the ball best throughout positional drills, but Bacher was most accurate during 7-on-7 action. The former Wildcat hit 7-of-8 through the air, while Weatherford was a strong 7-of-9. Patton, however, didn't help himself much with a 2-of-6 performance. ...

Nobody got a very good look at the defensive players Friday, as they stood on the far side of the field and didn't do much more than basic fundamentals. In the past, members of the media have been allowed to walk around the outside of the entire complex to watch all the different position groups do their thing up close, but now the press is only allowed to patrol one sideline – that leaves the defenders out of sight to the point where it's difficult to read jersey numbers. But as far as the defense is concerned, one rookie made a name for himself with his mouth off the field much more so than his play on the field. Fourth-round cornerback D.J. Moore isn't short on confidence, even though he's wearing the No. 30 that had been the possession of Mike Brown for almost a decade. When asked about it after practice, Moore simply said that the organization "passed it down to another great player." ...

General manager Jerry Angelo drafted a triumvirate of wide receivers this past weekend, but it didn't take long for observers to discover who was the best of the bunch. Third-rounder Juaquin Iglesias looked like quite an athlete at 6-1 and 210 pounds, and he caught everything thrown his way from start to finish. Of the 16 total completions the QBs recorded during 7-on-7, Iglesias was on the receiving end of five of them. Fifth-rounder Johnny Knox is taller than you'd expect for a player that's known as little more than a track star with shoulder pads, but he's explosive off the snap and gets to top speed in a hurry. While seventh-round pick Derek Kinder is listed at 6-1 and 210, just like Iglesias, he's not nearly as put together and struggled with his footwork more than the other two. ...

It's not hard to tell that top pick Jarron Gilbert has had enough of his YouTube fame, as he'd much rather be known as a great football player than some guy who jumped out of the shallow end of a pool. But as far as first impressions go, Gilbert is affable, humble, and appreciative of his opportunity to play in the NFL. None of this should come as a big surprise since his father, Daren Gilbert, played for the Saints from 1985-88. We won't get a true look at the younger Gilbert's potential until training camp, when he finally puts on some pads, but he's easy to find on the field at 6-5 and 288 pounds. Israel Idonije is about the same size in terms of height and weight, although Idonije is just a physical freak – Gilbert still sports some baby fat. The fact that he's wearing Dan Bazuin's old No. 73 conjures up bad images, too. ...

So much for seventh-rounder Lance Louis making the switch back to tight end from offensive line, as the San Diego State product lined up at both left guard and left tackle during Friday's session. He's definitely lean-looking for a 300-pounder and doesn't lumber around the field like most of the big uglies do, but Bears fans need to cast aside their dreams of Louis beating out Kellen Davis as the third-string tight end – the one responsible for short-yardage and goal-line duty. Angelo raved on Day 2 of the draft about Louis' speed and athleticism blowing him away during a private workout. However, that isn't going to do him any good trying to keep Kevin Williams and Pat Williams at bay. At first glance, Louis looks like little more than a candidate for the practice squad. ...

With monster fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou signed out of Cal as an undrafted free agent, some were expecting the 5-11, 253-pound wrecking ball to have a chance to make the team. Starter Jason McKie is a solid blocker but nothing special, and backup Jason Davis has been a taxi-squad guy more often than not. Nevertheless, Ta'ufo'ou doesn't look nearly as sturdy as the 253 pounds he's listed at, and he's awkward running routes out of the backfield. Catching the ball is essential for fullbacks in Ron Turner's offense, and Ta'ufo'ou doesn't look natural doing it. We'll have to wait until Bourbonnais to discover if he can open up a hole on the ground.


Iglesias had sticky hands his first day in a Bears uniform. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Injury Report
No injuries were reported, although several players were slipping and sliding all over the place because of the wet field – there's been an awful lot of rain in Lake Forest the last week or so.

Stud of the Day
It was hard to ignore what Iglesias did his first day with an orange C on his helmet. With the exception of one ball, he showed sticky-soft hands and ran his routes with the precision of a veteran. And the one ball he didn't come down with was high and way behind him, yet he still widened eyes by almost making a ridiculous one-handed grab anyway.

Dud of the Day
At 6-4 and a thin 215 pounds, wideout Maurice Covington of Virginia, one of the undrafted free agents brought in for a workout, reminds many of Brandon Rideau, who has been on and off the Chicago practice squad seemingly forever. They even outfitted Covington with Rideau's No. 84 for the weekend. But the former Cavalier doesn't bring a lot of speed to the table, and he was particularly sloppy getting in and out of his breaks on the wet track.

Quote to Note
"It's great to be out here. I'm real happy to be with the Bears and real happy to learn from [defensive line] coach [Rod] Marinelli. It sunk in today that I'm a Chicago Bear. It's a good feeling. This is the first big step of realizing that I'm part of the NFL and I'm a Chicago Bear." – Defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert when asked about his first day as a professional.


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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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