“But anyways, Conte turned out to be a talented, but flawed corner, occasionally making uneblievable plays, and sometimes failing at basic pass defense. I never thought he would be someone playing at the next level . . . until this year and his move to safety.
Bam! It was like watching a bigger faster Eric Zomalt. Passes defended, big hits delivered – Conte wasn’t the best safety of recent years (DeCoud, McClesky) but he made big hits and big plays and was huge part of this year’s oftentimes awesome defense. Its too bad it took 3 years to discover his real role as a hard hitting safety, instead of a mis-placed corner, but I’m glad we finally figured it out.”
Just like with Carimi, the more I read, the more I like concerning Conte. At corner, the Bears are still banking on last year’s fifth rounder Joshua Moore (Kansas State) and Zackary Bowman to rebound from last year’s lackluster showing. Also, don’t forget D.J. Moore, who had a banner season in ’10-11. Tim Jennings, though undersized, performed well above expectations in his first run with the Bears. Plus, special teams menace Corey Graham is still in the mix – I’m still high on him as a corner. And then you have Charles Tillman, our best playmaker in the secondary.
As far as safety, you have Major Wright, Chris Harris, and unrestricted free agent Danieal Manning. Three solid players; but when you look at it, depth was needed at safety more than corner. I don’t expect Craig Steltz and Josh Bullocks to make the roster. All things taken into consideration, you understand why the Bears picked a safety over a corner in the third round. A reach? Maybe. However, realize they traded their fourth round pick to Washington in order to trade up for Paea. In review, Conte was the right choice.
More on Paea:
Stephen Paea was a home run with a few front office men: “He is a very good player and a great kid,” one said. “Plus he’s a perfect fit for that system. They are going to love him.”
- Round 5 – #160: Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho
“We all feel that Enderle has tremendous potential as a quarterback,” Tim Ruskell told the media immediately after the pick was made. “He has all the intangibles. Mike Martz worked him out and fell for him. We feel that he ‘s the type of player who looks good coming off the bus. Several players were available who had traits we were looking for once we got to this pick, it was a consensus to go with Nathan.”
- Round 6 – #195: J.T. Thomas, LB, West Virginia
Positives: A high-motor, full-effort linebacker who will throw himself into contact with reckless abandon. Flies around the field and uses above-average athleticism to recover from mistakes and track down ball carriers from the backside. Takes smart angles to the football and wraps up on contact, making sure tackles to prevent additional yards after the catch. Is relentless fighting off blocks and never gives up on a play. Has some natural fluidity and smoothness in his hips and possesses above-average straight-line speed. Shows the ability to sidestep blockers and can get upfield in a hurry when asked to rush the passer.
Negatives: Has loads of experience, but has not honed his instincts through extended playing time. Often misdiagnoses plays and flies up to defend the run on play-action passes. Will get caught peeking into the backfield or incorrectly anticipating routes. Loses control and has a habit of running himself out of the play while looking for the highlight hit. Is undersized and does not possess the frame to add weight without sacrificing speed. Can be washed at the point of attack by stronger blockers and often allows offensive linemen into his frame. Gets lost in zone coverage consistently and guesses all too often instead of making reads and watching run/pass keys. Has a slight injury history and violent style of play will only lead to more ailments at his current build.
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