Given a second-round grade by most experts leading up to last year's draft, Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore was considered a steal for the Bears in Round 4.
A highlight-reel regular that even saw some time on offense because of his enviable ball skills, Moore supposedly played much bigger than his 5-9, 192-pound frame – the former Commodore talked a big game, too. However, Moore was totally outplayed throughout rookie minicamp, training camp and the preseason by undrafted free agent Woodny Turenne, and if he hadn't been one of general manager Jerry Angelo's precious draft picks, Moore might have been cut loose in favor of the bigger and stronger Turenne. A fixture on the game-day inactive list, Moore failed to dent the stat sheet his first year in the Windy City and doesn't look to have moved up the depth chart at all during the offseason.
Not only is the free-agent acquisition of Tim Jennings a clear sign that Moore is no threat to compete at the nickel back position, but two more cornerback prospects have been added to Angelo's board for this month's draft.
According to Scout.com NFL Draft analyst Chris Steuber, the Bears will play host to Akwasi Owusu-Ansah from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Amari Spievey from Iowa for pre-draft visits this week at Halas Hall.
Here is a snapshot of Steuber's scouting report on Owusu-Ansah, who measures in at 6-0 and 207 pounds:
"Even though Owusu-Ansah is listed as a cornerback, in college he basically served as the team's free safety. At IUP, the defensive structure calls for a lot of two-deep coverage where Owusu-Ansah played field corner, which requires him to function as a free safety. But at IUP, the linebackers and safeties amassed most of the tackles. That's why Owusu-Ansah, who was the last line of defense, didn't record many tackles during his career. He had 14 tackles in 2008 and 27 this past year. Owusu-Ansah is a physical player and will be a dynamic player at the next level. Don't let his lack of tackles alter your view of him as a prospect."
Here is a snapshot of Steuber's scouting report on Spievey, who measures in at 6-0 and 190 pounds:
"Spievey is a solid Cover-2 corner and could be an instant contributor at the next level. He primarily played off of the line during his time at Iowa and possesses good cover skills. He doesn't have elite straight-line speed, but has a good burst and closes quickly. He plays physical and will defend against the run."
JC's Take: Angelo's draft class from a year ago was somewhat disappointing, and if it hadn't been for the pleasant surprises delivered by fifth-round receiver Johnny Knox and sixth-round safety Al Afalava, it may have been a complete failure.
But Moore stands out as perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, mostly because he was supposed to be NFL-ready from a coverage perspective and could help provide some depth to a secondary desperately short on good cover men. At least defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton – taken in Rounds 3 and 4, respectively – were considered projects that needed a year or two of seasoning, while third-round wideout Juaquin Iglesias wasn't needed that much because Knox and Co. exceeded expectations. Like the departed Nathan Vasher, Moore isn't much use unless he's a starter because he can't play nickel and hasn't distinguished himself in any capacity on special teams.
Both Owusu-Ansah and Spievey are built like Cover-2 corners and better fit the mold of what the Bears like at that position, with Owusu-Ansah worthy of a pick in Round 2 or 3 and Spievey expected to be selected in Round 3 or 4.
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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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