While the Chicago Bears addressed one need at linebacker early in the NFL draft Wayne Gallman Jersey , their problem at outside pass rusher had to wait.
It waited until the sixth round on Saturday.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace turned largely to the defensive side in the final day with three selections, including sixth-round defensive end Kylie Fitts from Utah.
Before Fitts, the Bears selected Western Kentucky inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe in Round 4, and Delaware defensive tackle Bilal Nichols in Round 5. They closed out the draft in the seventh round by taking another target for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, Georgia wide receiver Javon Wims.
After grabbing Georgia standout inside linebacker Roquan Smith with the No. 8 overall pick on Thursday, the Bears drafted Iowa center James Daniels with the 39th pick on Friday, then traded up to select Memphis receiver Anthony Miller at No. 51.
Yet there was no outside pass rush help until they took Fitts as the Bears stuck to their draft board instead of moving up or reaching for a player at a position of need.
"You've just got to be careful that you don't force these things," Pace said. "I'm glad we attacked needs, but we also took best players on the board."
Now they'll be left to rely on free agent acquisition Aaron Lynch and third-year linebacker Leonard Floyd for an outside pass rush, while considering remaining unrestricted free agents or undrafted free agents.
Overall, productive safe picks replaced potential and risky selections for Chicago Tedy Bruschi Jersey , as Pace made only one trade in his first draft since Matt Nagy became coach.
Last year, Pace traded up to select Trubisky with the second pick of the draft after Trubisky had just 13 college starts. He picked fast, undersized pass rusher Floyd in the first round in 2016, and in 2015 drafted inexperienced wide receiver Kevin White. White has played in five NFL games due to injuries.
The Bears finished last in the NFC North for the fourth straight year and have missed the playoffs every season since 2010, leading to the firing of coach John Fox. They haven't posted a winning record since 2012, Lovie Smith's final year.
A defensive end in Utah's 4-3 formation, Fitts has more than his inexperience in the Bears' 3-4 scheme to overcome. He had a Lisfranc ligament tear in his foot in 2016 and played in only two games, then had shoulder and ankle sprains last year.
Fitts called the injuries the reason he dropped from a projected pick in the third or fifth rounds to the sixth.
"It was just a run of bad luck and I think I got it all out of the way," Fitts said. "I think it definitely made me into a stronger man and I'm healthy now and I'm excited to play for the Bears."
Going undrafted until the final round gave Georgia's Wims a familiar overlooked feeling.
When the Bears' seventh-round pick came out of high school, he had to go to NAIA Belhaven after only one year of high school football and because of poor grades. Wims left Belhaven for Hinds Junior College, earned a scholarship to Georgia Alan Page Jersey , and helped lead the Bulldogs to the national title game last year with team highs of 45 catches, 720 yards and nine touchdowns.
Delaware's Nichols has a real inside Bears connection. Nagy is a Delaware grad, as is Bears offensive assistant Brian Ginn, who played quarterback and was an assistant for the Blue Hens.
"Coach Ginn, he's an awesome guy," Nichols said. "He was one of the guys that helped recruit me at Delaware. Unbelievable guy, great guy."
Additional outside pass rushers are needed because the Bears like to use a rotation of three or four outside rushers. Fitts joins Howard Jones, Isaiah Irving and Sam Acho as potential outside pass rushers behind Lynch and Floyd.
Veterans Lamarr Houston, Pernell McPhee and Willie Young accounted for 10 Bears sacks last year but are no longer with the team.
The Houston Rockets believe they got a steal by adding Southern California’s De’Anthony Melton with the 46th pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night – and they aren’t worried about his off-court headlines.
Melton was drafted by the Rockets following a season in which he was ruled ineligible because of an extra benefits scandal.
”He’s a guy that if he had played we feel pretty comfortable that he would have been a top-20 pick,” general manager Daryl Morey said. ”So that’s why we were really happy to get him there. I think he was a little out of sight, out of mind.”
Houston also added Purdue forward Vincent Edwards in a trade for cash with Utah after the Jazz selected the senior with the 52nd pick.
”We feel like both these guys are not too far from potentially contributing for us Geronimo Allison Jersey ,” Morey said.
USC never had Melton in the lineup last season due to eligibility concerns tied to a sprawling college basketball corruption case. The 6-foot-4 Melton, who started 25 games as a freshman and averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists, sat out after an investigation by the FBI alleged that a friend of Melton’s family accepted $5,000 to influence Melton to sign with a certain agent and financial adviser when he reached the NBA.
His eligibility first came into question when USC’s Tony Bland was one of four assistant coaches around the country accused of taking bribes to influence players to sign with certain agents, advisers and apparel brands. Bland was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to four charges concerning bribery and wire fraud.
”Obviously we have to do our homework and look into everything,” Morey said. ”That was something we were extremely comfortable that was not an issue.”
After leading his high school to consecutive state titles, Melton averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a freshman in the 2016-17 season. Scouts see him as a solid defender who needs to develop offensively.
Melton and Edwards will join a team led by James Harden and Chris Paul that won a franchise-record 65 regular-season games but was eliminated by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.
Paul and center Clint Capela lead a group of free agents the Rockets will work to re-sign. Houston is also expected to make a play for LeBron James, but NBA rules kept Morey for commenting directly on any potential free agent targets.
”This was really about setting up our future but it doesn’t affect free agency,” Morey said of the draft. ”Now we shift our focus to free agency. And the challenge of upgrading a very good team is not easy Amari Cooper Jersey , so we’re going to have to be aggressive.”
The 6-foot-8 Edwards was named second-team All-Big Ten after averaging 14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists a game last season. He shot 39.8 percent from 3-point range and was an 83.3 percent free throw shooter last season. Edwards joined Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine and Tulane’s Jerald Honeycutt as the only three players in the last 25 years to finish their college careers with at least 1,600 points, 750 rebounds, 400 assists and 170 3-pointers.
”He sort of can do it all,” Morey said. ”He can defend multiple positions. He really fits our style of play … one thing unique about him is he can handle the ball and pass at his size and he’s already an accomplished shooter.”
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