Bears draft safety Brandon Hardin, receiver Alshon Jeffery on Day 2
BY SEAN JENSEN Twitter: @skjensen April 27, 2012 7:03PM
South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffrey stands 6-3 and 212 pounds. At his pro day, he ran the 40-yard dash between 4.4 and 4.5 seconds. | J. Meric~Getty Images
Updated: April 27, 2012 9:27PM
New Bears general manager Phil Emery continued a tradition of his predecessor, taking a safety in the third round of the NFL draft Friday night.
After the Bears selected Major Wright and Chris Conte in the last two drafts, the club selected Brandon Hardin of Oregon State in the third round with the 79th overall pick.
Hardin didn’t play last season because of a shoulder injury, but he played in a postseason all-star game. He’s a physical specimen at 6-3 with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash. He also has a 35-inch vertical leap, and he knocked out 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, an impressive number for his position.
Among the players available at that pick were Mississippi offensive tackle Bobby Massie, Nebraska cornerback Alonzo Dennard and Oklahoma cornerback Jamell Fleming.
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The Bears gave up a fifth-round pick to move up five spots in the second round to select 6-3, 212-pound receiver Alshon Jeffery.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to be a Chicago Bear,” he said. “I look forward to being ready.”
Jeffery had a solid collegiate career, but the concern about him is his ability to separate from defenders. At his pro day, he ran the 40-yard dash between 4.4 and 4.5 seconds.
He’s not considered a smooth or natural athlete, and some believe he’s similar to, albeit faster than, USC receiver Mike Williams, who plays for the Seattle Seahawks.
He has made his share of acrobatic catches, and he’s regarded to have solid hands. For his size, Jeffery produces the coveted yards after catch with his explosiveness and power.
As a sophomore, he was a Biletnikoff finalist and a consensus All-American, averaging 108.3 receiving yards per game. He set a school record with 88 catches for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns.
He’ll have to improve his blocking if he’s going to get snaps for the Bears.
On ESPN, former Super Bowl coach Jon Gruden said Jeffery appeared “out of shape and disinterested” last season but highlighted his ability to get the football.
“I have a great work ethic,” Jeffery said. “When I get to Chicago, I think you’ll see firsthand.
“I’m a competitor. I just love making plays.”