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updated: 5/11/2013 7:38 PM

Wide receiver Wilson looks like good find for Bears

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  • Bears receiver Marquess Wilson catches a pass during rookie minicamp at Halas Hall.

      Bears receiver Marquess Wilson catches a pass during rookie minicamp at Halas Hall.
    Associated Press

 
 

Bears rookie wide receiver Marquess Wilson doesn't look like a lowly seventh-round pick.

Nothing against seventh-round picks, but Wilson is tall, fast and fluid, exhibits soft hands, excellent agility and the timing and leaping ability to win jump balls.

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As a true freshman at Washington State in 2010 he caught 55 passes for 1,006 yards and followed that up the next year by setting school records with 82 receptions for 1,388 yards.

After nine games last season Wilson was leading the team with 52 catches and 813 yards when he quit after feuding with coach Mike Leach and his staff over playing time following a one-game suspension.

Mostly because of that, the 6-foot-3 Wilson dropped to the final round despite running a 4.51 40 at the scouting combine.

"The way I looked at it, I was just happy I got drafted," Wilson said. "I was just happy that I got a second opportunity, another chance to play football again."

Wilson had to explain his situation to the Bears before the draft, saying, "It was just a mistake on my part in the way I handled everything, and I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to harm this franchise.

"(I had to) try to get their trust, tell them what I did and what happened and just tell them the truth."

Wilson had a season of college eligibility left but would have had to sit out a full year if he transferred to another Football Bowl Subdivision school. He opted for the draft.

"I always figured if I worked hard I could be in the NFL," he said. "I have the opportunity, and I'm going to take full advantage of it. That was my mindset, to get to the NFL because I knew what I was capable of doing, and I just had that confidence that I could someday make it."

To do that, the spindly, 184-pound Wilson needs to get bigger and stronger. He did just seven reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the combine and, looking at his thin frame, it's hard to believe he did even that many.

In his defense, he's the youngest player at the rookie minicamp.

"He's just 20 years old," coach Marc Trestman said. "He's got a lot of growing to do, and being around here and involved in our weight program over the next few months is certainly going to help him. He's going to get stronger."

Man in the middle:

One of the things the Bears liked about second-round pick Jon Bostic was the middle linebacker's ability to get everyone on the Florida defense lined up in the right spot. And he has demonstrated that ability during the weekend rookie minicamp.

"He's a smart guy," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "He's a take-control guy. He's very comfortable making the calls and controlling the huddle."

Although all 31 of his starts over the past three years at Florida were at middle linebacker, the Bears believe Bostic can play any of the three linebacker positions.

"The height, weight and speed obviously are there," Tucker said. "He's instinctive. He has command of the defense. He's vocal. He can run, change direction, (has) athletic ability, and he's physical. Those are all things you look for in a linebacker."

The competition begins:

The depth chart at linebacker looks a lot different than it did at the end of last season.

Longtime starters Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach are gone. Unrestricted free agents D.J. Williams and James Anderson were added to replace them, and the draft brought Jon Bostic in the second round and Khaseem Greene in the fourth.

"It's going to be very competitive across the board defensively," coordinator Mel Tucker said. "I tell these guys every day 'compete to play; compete to stay.'

"And that's going to be fun. It'll be like steel sharpening steel; we'll make each other better, both sides of the ball and within the defense."

Built Ford tough:

Even though Michael Ford was LSU's leading rusher in 2011 and averaged 5.7 yards per carry for his career, he went undrafted, partly because he started just five games while lost in the shuffle of a talented stable of runners.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder also averaged 27.5 yards on 20 kickoff returns last season, and the Bears jumped at the chance to sign him after the draft.

"He was one of those guys that we targeted, and we're glad to have him," said special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis. "He's going to really bring some competition to that (kickoff-return) position.

"He's a straight-line guy that's got great balance, hard to knock off his feet. When you put up the kind of stats he did in the SEC, you've got some talent. And he's got some toughness, too."

Ford ran a 4.46 40 at the combine, benched 225 pounds 25 times and had a 38-inch vertical.

rlegere@dailyherald.com

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