Manning A Lock To Leave
The Bears’ 2006 second round pick from Abilene Christian is finished in Chicago.
With Chris Harris moving back to his original position (strong safety) it looks more and more like unrestricted free agent safety/returner Danieal Manning will be exiting the Windy City.
The new starting strong safety has a strong indication that the Bears see Manning as expendable:
“I don’t think Danieal will be back, to be honest with you,” Harris told the Chicago Tribune. “That will leave myself, Major, Craig (Steltz) and (Chris) Conte. And I’m pretty sure they’ll go and get somebody else.”
With Manning gone (six teams have already reached out to him), you can be assured that the team believes last year’s third round pick (Florida), Major Wright, is ready to start in the defensive backfield, despite being injured most of his rookie campaign.
According to the Louisiana-Monroe product, Major is ready:
“I think Major is ready,” Harris said. “He’s a young guy. He’s an athletic guy. He’s definitely got the talent. I think you’ll see Major Wright make an impact.”
Let’s hope this year’s third round pick (California), Chris Conte, has a quick learning curve, as he’s likely to be relied upon as the team’s third safety behind Wright and Harris.
Former Bears Director of College Scouting Greg Gabriel raved about Conte after learning more about him from a well-respected scout:
“I wrote after the draft that I didn’t know much about Conte when the Bears drafted him. I sent a text to a scouting director asking him to tell me about Conte. He told me that he felt Conte might be the best safety in the draft. I trust this man’s opinion very much, but still I decided to look at tape to form my own thoughts. All I can say is that he was right. Conte plays fast, has excellent instincts and is a hitter. He was a corner his first three years at Cal and because of that he has better man to man coverage skills than many safeties. With the Bears having the possibility of losing Danieal Manning, Conte may be in position to start soon.”
All in all, the genuine interest directed towards do-it-all return specialist/receiver Brad Smith and move of Harris to strong safety signals the inevitable end of the Danieal Manning era in the Chi city.