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Sixth sense: Bears draft Georgia DE Cornelius Washington
The Bears rolled the dice in the sixth round of the NFL draft by taking Georgia defensive end Cornelius Washington — a ”workout warrior” with impressive athleticism, less-impressive on-field production and ringing endorsements from draft experts Mel Kiper, Jr. and Mike Mayock.
The 6-4, 265-pound Washington ran a 4.53 40-yard dash with a 39-inch vertical, 10-8 broad jump and 36 reps of 225-pounds at the scouting combine. But his on-the-field numbers are less impressive. After coming into the season as a candidate for the Butkus Award, he started 10 of 14 games for Georgia as a senior, with 22 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, a half a sack and 17 quarterback hurries.
As a junior, Washington had five sacks and six tackles-for-loss. In his four-year college career, Washington had 10 1/2 sacks and 17 tackles-for-loss.
His athleticism is intriguing. Washington was ranked the No. 7 outside linebacker prospect in Mel Kiper, Jr.’s Draft Report — right behind Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene, whom the Bears drafted in the fourth round.
Kiper, Jr.’s analysis: ”Washington is a combo 3-4 outside linebacker, 4-3 defensive end. He was really good in spurts during is career before really putting it all together in 2012. He was more consistent as a senior, staying focused and was a real factor in some games, getting after the quarterback.
”Even though he didn’t have great numbers, you noticed him every week on film. Washington went from being a guy who flashed ability to a consistent entity and a player whose draft grade has elevated significantly.
”He’s not a great prospect, but a solid-to-good combo guy who can make things happen getting after the quarterback. Not only does he have imposing size for a combo DE/OLB, Washington is also amazingly strong, incredibly fast and tremendously athletic. He also has super-long arms (33 7/8 inches) and overall wingspan (81 5/8 inches). The question is why he didn’t dominate his entire career and just begin to put it all together this season? He’s definitely a workout warrior, but his performances on the field in 2012 began to match all of that physical prowess.”
But Kiper wasn’t the only draft expert praising the Bears’ selection of Washington. NFL Network’s Mayock said Washington ”one of my favorite players.”
”He’s a little bit one-dimensional. But you put him on the edge, with his 39-inch vertical, his 4.6 40; Don’t ask him to drop. Dont’ ask him to stop the run; just ask him to hunt quarterbacks; and I look at this draft and I really, really like what Chicago’s done. Solid, plug in some starters. Not trying to hit home runs. They’re all football players.”