Bears take safety Brandon Hardin in third round even though he missed 2011 season
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org April 27, 2012 11:38PM
Oregon State safety Brandon Hardin (17) missed the 2011 regular season but played in the East-West Shrine Game in January. | Getty Images
Updated: May 30, 2012 8:29AM
The Bears can’t be totally sure of what they’re getting in Oregon State safety Brandon Hardin after drafting the Honolulu native in the third round (79th overall) Friday night. He missed the 2011 regular season after suffering a broken shoulder. But they know one thing: He’s still 6-3.
“Initially, when the injury happened, I was definitely concerned because I would need my senior-year film to impress NFL scouts and coaches,” Hardin said. “Some worried that it could affect my draft status. But I controlled what I could control. Being picked in the third round is a blessing for me.”
General manager Phil Emery said Hardin is “medically sound, ready for minicamp.”
Hardin’s size is a major asset as the Bears try to catch up to the Packers and Lions and stay ahead of the Vikings in the NFC North. He’s also physical and versatile, having made big plays at cornerback, safety and special teams at Oregon State.
After missing last season because of shoulder surgery, the 218-pound Hardin still played in the East-West Shrine Game in January. He practiced at corner and safety and played safety in the game because of a teammate’s injury. He had four tackles and recovered an onside kick to help the West win 24-17.
Like 2011 rookies Chris Conte and Dom DeCicco, Hardin, at his size, is a hybrid-type player with versatility the Bears are looking for under Emery.
2 more Illini picked
If the Bears were trading up for Illinois offensive tackle Jeff Allen in the second round, they just missed him. The Chicago native (King) went to the Chiefs with the 44th overall pick — one spot before the Bears took South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
The 6-4, 304-pound Allen, a four-year starter at Illinois, saw his stock rise after playing well at guard in the Senior Bowl in January.
With veteran Branden Albert and free agent Eric Winston at tackle, Allen might be pegged for guard with the Chiefs.
‘‘I didn’t play guard one single game at Illinois,’’ said Allen, who will join former college teammate Jon Asamoah on the Chiefs. ‘‘A lot of teams like that potential, and the Chiefs did, too.’’
The Patriots took safety Tavon Wilson, Allen’s teammate, with the 48th overall pick later in the second round. That gave Illinois four players drafted in the top 50 from a 7-6 team.