Bears round out draft with another Division II selection
With their final pick of the draft in Round Five, the Bears went back to Division II, and with the 147th overall pick, they selected Kutztown (Pa.) State offensive lineman Jordan Morgan, a former walk-on.
The Bears also went the less-traveled, D-2 route Friday night, when they chose Ashland (Ohio) tight end Adam Shaheen in Round Two Friday night.
Much like Shaheen, Morgan dominated his level of competition, winning the Gene Upshaw Award as the top offensive lineman in D-2. He could take some time to adjust to the next level, but he's already come a long way, having played just a half-season of high school football, and only then as an afterthought.
"Senior year of high school, you had to do something called enrichment hours to graduate," Morgan explained. "It was a program that some schools in inner-city Philly had to keep (students) out of trouble. You either had to community service, or you had to do extracurricular activities.
"I went with football because I already had a few friends on the team who were already encouraging me to try it, so I figured, why not?"
His participation fulfilled his school requirement but didn't elicit a lot of attention from college coaches.
"The school that took a shot on me, Kutztown, allowed me to come in as a walk-on," he said. "I had to work my way up from there."
The 6-foot-3, 309-pound Morgan was a four-year starter at left tackle but projects to guard in the NFL, although he possesses the long arms (34 5⁄8 inches) prized on the outside.
Throwing a curveball:
Expected by many to focus on defense, the Bears used four of their five picks on offense.
"The drafts unfold different every year," general manager Ryan Pace said. "That's just the way it worked out, and you guys know we're taking (drafting the) best player available, and that's the way the draft fell, and we're just happy to get good football players."
The Bears also used three of their five picks on players who played below the top FBS level.
"I look at (fifth-round guard) Jordan Morgan," Pace said, "and I hate to make comparisons to players, but we took a guy in New Orleans in (six-time Pro Bowl guard) Jahri Evans, who ended up being a great player from Bloomsburg.
"I think you believe what you see on tape. You have conviction on players. When I feel like we have a consensus in our building on the player, those decisions are fun to make and exciting to make."
By any other name:
While 5-foot-6½-inch running back Tarik Cohen is fine with the "Human Joystick" nickname that came from the producer of his YouTube video, he prefers the nickname "Chicken Salad," that he got from an ESPN announcer.
"Why Chicken Salad?" he was asked.
"It's different," he said. "I never heard anybody called that before."
As entertaining as his YouTube game highlights are, Cohen also blew up social media with a video of him catching two footballs while doing a back flip.
"We were bored in the summer after conditioning," he said, "so we just decided to go out and try it."
Undrafted, not unwanted:
NIU running back Joel Bouagnon heads the early list of undrafted rookies signed by the Bears. The Aurora native rushed for 2,170 yards and 26 touchdowns the past two seasons.
The Bears also signed Illinois State center Mark Spelman, Oklahoma State wide receiver Jhajuan Seales, Southern Mississippi defensive back D'Nerius Antoine and 6-foot-6, 248-pound Ball State basketball player Franko House, who will be a tight end.
• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.