A new look defense in Chicago, having a familiar face no longer with the organization, that face being future hall of fame linebacker Brian Urlacher. Holes have been patched up on this roster and coaching staff, as the franchise nearly received a complete face-lift.
When you think about the Chicago Bears, of course you think about ‘The Monsters of the Midway’, a black and blue defense, in the black and blue division. Players who don’t stop hitting bodies until a whistle blows the play dead. Chicago and its fans, have seen some of the greats of this game on either side of the ball, begin and/or end their career walking through that tunnel that leads to that historic battle-field.
It has been about 2 weeks since the NFL Draft has wrapped up and draft picks are starting to sign with the teams they were drafted too. A spot on this Chicago Bears depth chart that needed to be filled, besides the linebacker slot, was the defensive end position. Israel Idonije, has spent 9 in a half years out of 10, in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears, played defensive end/tackle for this team where he finished 2012 with 40 tackles, 7.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
With Idonije a free agent and with the Chicago Bears drafting Cornelius Washington, he may be officially off Chicago’s radar now that they have drafted and signed their 6th round pick to a 4 year contract. Washington being a strong pass rushing prospect, should fit well behind Corey Wootton, as he may get the nod to start at left end now that Idonije is gone.
A top performer in the combine in the 40 yard dash, bench press, vertical jump and broad jump, Washington is ready to show what he can bring to this defense. I was surprised he was over looked in this draft, showing how good of a pass rusher he could potentially be in this league. He is currently a project, needing to work on some things like stamina and more hustle if he hopes to be a starter on this defense some day.
He finished his college career with 76 total tackles, 17 for loss and 10.5 sacks. With the way this defensive line looks, they should get to the quarterback quicker, or at least force turnovers, now that you have Julius Peppers/Shea McClellin on one side and Corey Wootton/Cornelius Washington on the other.
“Even though his sack totals were very low, his talent is enormous. I thought he played better in certain games than people gave him credit for. I thought he had a nice Senior Bowl week. He’s got too much talent to last to the sixth round. But when people get that underachiever label, sometimes that hurts you.” – ESPN’s Mel Kiper on Washington
It won’t be easy replacing a veteran who has stepped up his play for this defense over the years, but it isn’t impossible. This defense has had a ton of greats play for this franchise and sooner or later, there has been a player who was picked up by this team either in the draft, trade or free agency and added their name to the list of great players who have worn the same uniform.
“I am a little bit discouraged, but the call came and that is the most important thing. Now I am just ready to go out there and be a Chicago Bear and contribute to their team as much as I possibly can. I’ve got an opportunity and that’s the most important thing. You turn something that’s mildly negative into a positive and it’s still a blessing. I’m blessed to be able to go to Chicago. I’m blessed to even get drafted at all. So I’m not bitter. I’m just ready to go to work.” – Cornelius Washington
This season for the Chicago Bears and that defense will be interesting. As a fan of the team myself, I am a bit nervous. I am excited about this group of rookies that will enter camp and compete for roster spots. A few picks made me scratch my head, but the people in the front office of this organization knows what they are doing so as a fan, I trust them.
Cornelius Washington who played defensive end and outside linebacker at the University of Georgia should be a player, fans of this team should keep their eyes on. I know my eyes will be on him and if he plays his best, as the years go on, quarterbacks who play the Chicago Bears each year, should keep their eyes on him.
As the title reads, the Chicago Bears might have gotten a steal at the #188 pick of the 6th round. Only time will tell. Is it pre-season yet?