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Bears Sign Two More Draft Picks; DT Paea, FS Conte

Conte’s Value Increased After Manning’s Departure

Danieal Manning has exited Chicago for Houston, and it’s still undetermined whether or not Anthony Adams will return to the Bears – though he has mentioned he wants to stay in the Chi.

Nonetheless, it was apparent the Bears had to address both the defensive tackle and safety position via the draft.

Now, we will get to see if these selections back in April have paid off.

With training camp one day away, second and third round picks Stephen Paea and Chris Conte agreed to four-year deals on Friday.

Paea, a defensive tackle out of Oregon State, is expected to compete for one of the starting inside positions on the front four with Henry Melton and Matt Toeaina – that is, if Adams re-signs.  Say Adams goes elsewhere, it’s almost a lock the former Beaver will start in his first season on Sundays.  His physical attributes are undeniable, possessing a sensational skill set of a first-round talent.

Conte, a converted free safety from California, is also going to see some significant playing time during his rookie campaign, especially with the loss of Manning to the Texans.  Some believe Conte was a major reach in round three, but after more and more research of the former Golden Bear, I have come away with the impression that he’s more of a steal than a reach.

I like the stellar combination he offers; as a natural free safety who plays aggressive and wants to tackle:

“I was definitely a natural free safety,” Conte said. “I think I have the athletic ability to play corner, but safety suited me way better. My gift as a football player is being able to come down and tackle. Being aggressive is really my strength, and safety suits that more than corner does.”

“You have to have the heart and the will to tackle,” Conte said. “All that tackling is is wanting a piece of someone, wanting to get someone to the ground. As long as you have that will, you can tackle.”

The ability to cover ground like a corner and hit like a safety – that’s my kind of hybrid as a free safety.  It will be interesting to see if he can push Major Wright for a starting job at the position.

The Bears have all of their draft picks inked to contracts, except for first round choice Gabe Carimi, who is projected as the starting right tackle.


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