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As was widely expected, the Bears made the safety position their first priority in the 2010 draft, using their first pick in the draft — after not having selections in either the first or second rounds for a second straight season — on Major Wright, a hard-hitting, playmaking safety out of Florida. What wasn't expected was the added bonus the team received at the safety position when it picked up veteran S Chris Harris from Carolina in exchange for LB Jamar Williams four days after the draft.
Team sources say Wright won't automatically walk into training camp as the starting free safety, although he will be given every opportunity to win that job. On the other hand, word is it's "a lock" that Harris, in his second go-around as a Bear after being originally selected by the team in the sixth round of the 2005 draft, will start the season as the starting strong safety.
"He brings an immediate intimidation factor and is known as a big hitter," one team insider said of Harris, who registered 12 forced fumbles over the last three seasons in Carolina, second among defensive backs behind only Bears CB Charles Tillman in that span. "The one thing that you have to wonder about is that the Panthers must not have considered Harris all that valuable to be willing to deal him for the Bears' sixth-best linebacker (Williams).
"As for Wright, I wouldn't call him the favorite (as the starting FS) at this point, although the Bears have shown that they aren't afraid to start rookies right away" the insider said. "I think the guy who will mount the biggest challenge to Wright is Danieal Manning, even though they talked about moving Manning to strong safety. I just never saw Manning playing on the strong side."
For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.