Late cornerback picks: Bears take Isaiah Frey, Greg McCoy
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org April 28, 2012 9:36PM
Bears draftee Greg McCoy, a cornerback out of TCU, averaged 30.6 yards per kickoff return last season. | Getty Images
Updated: May 30, 2012 8:33AM
With his last two draft picks, Bears general manager Phil Emery added two cornerbacks even though six already are on the roster.
The Bears selected Isaiah Frey out of Nevada in the sixth round and Greg McCoy from TCU in the seventh. Both will have to earn spots through special teams; Frey as a gunner, McCoy as a kickoff returner.
McCoy was sixth in the nation last season, averaging 30.6 yards per kickoff return and scoring two touchdowns, including a 99-yarder.
As for Frey, he was the “most skilled corner in the back of the draft,” Emery said.
The Bears opened Saturday by taking Temple tight end Evan Rodriguez in the fourth round.
The Bears traded their fifth-round pick to move up five spots in the second round and select South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
“I felt like we did very well, and the overriding thing again was … finding the players that can help us the quickest to reach our goal of winning a championship,” Emery said. “We felt very good. We made progress in that area.”
He highlighted the addition of weapons such as Jeffery and Rodriguez, who will threaten the job security of veteran fullback Tyler Clutts.
“That’s something we’ve discussed in terms of going back to Evan; he allows some roster flexibility,” Emery said. “He still has to make the team even though we drafted him, but if he’s in that H-back role, we may not have to carry an extra fullback.”
They have 72 players on their roster, 18 short of the 90-man limit. The Bears didn’t draft a linebacker, so they could look to add another player for that unit.
The three starters and Geno Hayes are the only ones with practical experience on defense — Blake Costanzo is primarily a special-teams player — so the Bears might be in the market for another veteran. Rocky McIntosh was among a handful of veterans who worked out for the Bears before the draft.
“We may bring in some UFAs, guys that are on the street that we feel can fit and help us, make our practices more competitive,” Emery said. “We’re not necessarily driven to go to 90.”
Despite adding Jeffery, Emery said Devin Hester’s role hasn’t changed.
“We see him as a guy that is going to help our receiving corps in a big way,’’ Emery said. ‘‘We want to make sure we have a special plan for Devin, a package of plays. We will have a package of plays that we feel can bring his dynamic ability to the forefront.”
Coach Lovie Smith, though, was thrilled about the prospect of the 6-3 Jeffery being on the field with Brandon Marshall, who’s 6-4.
“As a defensive-thinking coach, it’s pretty hard,’’ Smith said. ‘‘Just look at the size of most corners. Most corners are under 6 feet. That’s why we’re pretty excited about how we’ve given our receiving corps a different look.”
Smith said linebacker Brian Urlacher, who finished last season with a sprained knee, is “good to go.”
He was more vague about receiver Johnny Knox, who suffered a serious back injury.
“Making progress; that’s about all I can tell you right now,” said Smith, noting he has been a fixture at Halas Hall. “Johnny is planning to play many more games of football, and we’re just asking him to stay on that rehab program he’s on.”