April 30th, 2011
by bearsbacker

The Bears drafted safety Chris Conte with the No. 93rd pick in the third-round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Conte played his first three seasons at the University of California as a cornerback. Last season, was Conte’s first playing time at free safety and it paid off, he was named to the first-team All Pac-10.

In 50 career games at Cal, Conte made 17 starts, 157 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Last season, as a starter at the free safety position, Conte made 72 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception. Conte also blocked a punt which he returned six yards for a touchdown.

Conte, 6’2″, 199 lbs should fit in well with the Bears defense. Conte has good balance, agility and and speed in coverage.

SI.com calls Conte, ”intelligent and a fierce defensive back with an improving game. “Conte played behind a aggressive pass-rush at Cal, which should be the same with the Bears, who saw improved safety play with a better defensive line.

Conte is raw at the free safety position, which is his only real negative. Also, Conte isn’t the best in man coverage, which could be the reason he fell to the Bears late in third round.

What does it mean that the Bears drafted a safety?

It means the Bears are likely to use Conte at free safety and Chris Harris at strong safety. The Bears are really high on last season’s third-round pick Major Wright. The Bears could use Wright at free safety and Chris Harris at strong safety.

Conte will likely spend time playing special teams and adapt slowly to the defense. The Bears aren’t afraid to use rookie safeties as starters, so don’t be surprised if Conte works his way into the lineup.

Danieal Manning turned down the Bears contract offer before the lockout started, so drafting Conte maybe an insurance policy if Manning doesn’t return. The Bears would love to have Manning back for next season. If he decides to return this could be the deepest they’ve been at safety since they had Mike Brown and Tony Parrish starting in 2001.

What do you think of the Bears first three picks?

First Round-Gabe Carimi, OT

Second Round-Stephen Paea, DT

Third Round-Chris Conte, S

Bear Down!

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