The 2011 NFL Draft has come to an end. For the Chicago Bears, it was a very nice three-day affair from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Not spectacular, but a very solid haul for a team that needed to acquire some important pieces in order to take the next step forward and keep up with the Green Bay Packers. We’ll have a full recap of the Bears’ draft selections, but before we get to that, a quick update on the Bears’ final pick of the weekend. With the 30th pick in the sixth round (195th overall), the Bears snagged their fifth defensive prospect, linebacker James Thomas from the University of West Virginia.
Thomas is 6’1" and 245 pounds, not the fastest guy in the world, but a competent tackler with solid instincts in the middle of the field. Thomas has the chance to be a good fit in the Tampa-2 defense deployed by Rod Marinelli, as his best attributes are his closing speed and sure-tackling ability in pass coverage. I imagine he’ll have a chance to be a viable reserve in Marinelli’s defense perhaps as soon as this coming season. If not, he’ll have an opportunity to make a name for himself as a head hunter on special teams.
The athletic Thomas, whose father also played for the Mountaineers in college, was West Virginia’s MVP on defense during his senior season. And from the sound of it, he’s excited to be heading to Chicago where he can be an understudy to two of the game’s premier linebackers.
“I’m definitely looking forward to playing on the same team with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs,” Thomas told the media shortly after being selected. "Also, Josh Moore one of my best friends from high school is there. He told me ‘If you love football you’ll love playing for the Bears.’”