With the 109th pick in the fourth round the Bears selected DE Corey Wootton from Northwestern.
First off many Bears fans might be upset that Angelo and Co. used a fourth round pick on a DE, considering they signed Julius Peppers and released veteran Alex Brown all in one off-season. But Wootton has a lot of talent and he was expected to go in the third round.
The 6-6, 270 lbs Wootton started 49 of 53 games at Northwestern, as the fifth-year senior recorded 156 tackles (94 solos) with 19.5 sacks for minus 105 yards, 38 tackles for losses totaling 162 yards and 15 quarterback pressures. He caused and recovered three fumbles, as he also blocked four kicks, intercepted four passes for 11 yards in returns and deflected eight other tosses. He ranks third in school history with 19.5 sacks.
Considering he had 10 sacks and 42 tackles in his junior season at Northwestern he was one of the best defensive ends and was named first-team All-Big Ten Conference. But he suffered an ACL, MCL and meniscus injury in the Alamo Bowl that year. He will reunite with his defensive line coach at Northwestern Eric Washington, who the Bears hired to replace Rod Marinelli.
Wootton had this to say about getting picked by the Bears:
“Everything happens for a reason, I wanted to come back [to school] to get smarter, a year stronger. I’m just lucky to have an opportunity to play for a great team, the Bears. I feel like I’m 90-95 percent [healthy], somewhere around there.”
“It was tough, I didn’t have the leg strength after the prior year. But it made me appreciate the game that much more; [it] made me more of a film studier. I’m very familiar with Chicago being where everybody’s a Bears fan. It’s a program I wanted to play for. It’s a good fit for me, and I can’t wait for minicamp and all that.”
If Wootten can get back from his injury fast and prove his worth with the Bears he could earn some playing time quickly. Julius Peppers is set in stone at the right side, Israel Idonije and Mark Anderson are going to split the reps at the left side and Henry Melton and Jarron Gilbert are in the rotation. Wootten could easily out shine Gilbert or Melton, will have to wait and see. It was a good pick not filling the Bears biggest need, but when a player with this talent falls to you in the fourth round you can’t pass it up.
all quotes from ESPNChicago.com