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updated: 5/4/2014 4:29 PM

Recent picks at safety haven't done the job for Bears

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It's not as if the Bears haven't addressed the safety position in the draft multiple times over the years, but they've yet to get it right.

In three straight drafts, from 2010-12, they used a third-round pick on a safety. First it was Major Wright, who started the past three years but never provided the consistency the Bears wanted. In 2011, Chris Conte was drafted, but he, too, has lacked consistency and had his worst year in 2013. Conte is hoping to be healthy for the start of training camp following off-season shoulder surgery, but he will have to play much better than he did last season to hold on to his job.

In 2012, general manager Phil Emery projected college cornerback Brandon Hardin to NFL safety because of his impressive size-speed combo, but that experiment never worked, partly because of injuries.

In 2008, the Bears used a fourth-round pick on Craig Steltz. He has been a reliable backup, a physical presence in the box and a strong special teams player, but Steltz is limited in coverage. Two years earlier Danieal Manning was drafted in the second round, but he was allowed to leave in free agency after the 2010 season.

After last season's disaster, the Bears signed free-agent safeties Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings and Danny McCray to compete with Conte and Steltz, first-year player Sean Cattouse.

Both safety positions will be up for grabs, and the competition could include a high-round draft pick, taken either Thursday or Friday this week.

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