The first two days of the 2011 NFL Draft are in the books. After selecting blue chip offensive tackle Gabe Carimi in the first round on Thursday night, the Chicago Bears added two more players in rounds two and three on Friday. Bears fans will likely be quite pleased with the pick in round two — Stephen Paea, a defensive tackle from Stanford that is strong as an ox and a great replacement for Tommie Harris. As for Chicago’s pick in round three, I’m not so sure folks in the Windy City will be quite as enamored with the pick.
With the 93rd overall pick, Chicago drafted Chris Conte, a converted free safety from Cal. Conte was a reserve corner at Cal for his first three seasons in Berekley, only to have a breakout year as a senior after being converted to free safety. During his senior year, Conte proved to be quite reliable as an open field tackler and last line of defense. And at Cal’s Pro Day, the Los Angeles native ran a 4.55 40-yard dash, plenty fast for his position.
I suppose Bears fans might be nervous that Conte will be the next coming of Adam Archuleta, a mistake machine during his tenure in Chicago. We’ll just have to wait and see I suppose. But he has the physical tools, I don’t think experience will be an issue for the young man, and the Bears certainly will have plenty of talent playing in front of him on defense.
All in all, a very productive first two days for the defending NFC North champion Bears. For more fan reaction to the picks, analysis of Days 1 and 2, and what to expect on Saturday during the final four rounds, head on over to Windy City Gridiron.