There’s no question that the Chicago Bears are loaded at defensive end. It’s one of the few positions of strength on the team’s current roster. Between All-Pro Julius Peppers, Corey Wootton and Turk McBride, not to mention second-year defensive end Shea McClellin, it’s a wonder that the organization used a sixth-round pick on another pass-rushing end in the form of University of Georgia alum Cornelius Washington.
That statement, however, sells the former Georgia star short.
That’s not to say his pedigree is the only thing that matters, but Washington competed against quite a few NFL-caliber players in the SEC, so it’s not outside the realm of possibly that he ends up being a steal in the sixth-round and forces his way onto the field as a member of the Bears.
With 76 tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss and 10.5 career sacks, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will, if anything else, insert Washington into a variety of defensive packages that properly unitize his particular set of skills.
However, that’s a big ‘if.’
Now, the best case scenario for the rookie defensive end is that he works his way into the line’s rotation most likely ahead of McBride, as well as pushing last year’s first-round pick. In the worst case, Washington has a difficult time adjusting to the NFL pace and the steep learning curve of the defense, and is cut by the organization before the end of training camp.
In any case, the even money is that Washington makes the team as the fifth defensive end on the depth chart and he indeed does end up making an impact with the Bears in his rookie season as a special teams ace.
So what are Washington’s chances to break into the starting lineup this season? Slim. Like the many late-round picks that go on to have stellar NFL careers, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound athletic pass-rusher will attempt to make his presence known on the field for the Bears.
The best and quickest way for Washington to accomplish this goal is to make quarterbacks remember his name. If the likes of fellow Georgia Bulldog Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rogers, Eli Manning or any of the other quarterbacks on the Bears schedule remember him, that means Washington properly used his 4.5 second 40-yard dash speed to force signal callers to peel themselves off the field.
M. Quann Boyd is a writer for RantSports.com Follow him on Twitter @MQuannBoyd. “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.