Bears No. 3 pick scouting report: S Chris Conte, California

Posted April 29, 2011 @ 11:49 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

The Bears added depth at safety in the third round, drafting California's Chris Conte, who was a late riser on draft boards during the evaluation process. Conte could help on special teams initially and eventually compete for the starting job at free safety. It's not yet clear if Danieal Manning will be back next year and Chris Harris is heading into the final year of his deal. Here is PFW draft expert Nolan Nawrocki's scouting report on Conte from the 2011 Draft Preview book:

Notes: Last name is pronounced "CON-tee." Safety-receiver out of Los Angeles but began as a cornerback at Cal. Played in all 13 games in 2007, starting three, and recorded 32 tackles, zero pass breakups and zero interceptions with a tackle for loss. Played in 12 games in ’08 (one start) and tallied 28-7-1 with a tackle for loss. Broke his thumb against Stanford and did not play against Washington. Played in all 13 games (one start) and managed 25-1-0. Transitioned to strong safety in ’10 and produced 72-3-1 with two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a blocked kick in 12 starts. Was a 21-year-old senior.

Positives: Good body length to match up with receivers. Runs well in a straight line. Plays with a sense of urgency and is quick to support — closes fast. Takes good angles in pursuit. Aggressive, dependable wrap tackler — plays full speed ahead. Has some upside and a frame to carry more weight.

Negatives: Short arms. Builds up speed and is not sudden. Is leggy, pedals tall and sticks some when changing direction. Average flexibility and lateral agility. Range is just average and is too often a step late getting over the top. Still developing positional instincts — is not anticipatory and does not show an understanding of route combinations. Not a punisher.

Summary:
Lacks starter-caliber burst and flexibility and has man-coverage limitations but tackles well and is athletic enough to make it as a fourth safety and core special-teams player.

NFL projection:
Priority free agent.