Chicago Bears – Favorite Strong Safety targets

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Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Round 3 (#81) – Craig Loston, LSU (5’11, 217): Great athlete and big hitter, who is a little raw technique wise but has a ton of potential. Loston will be a force against the run from day 1, but his coverage skills need some work. He has the natural athleticism to become proficient in coverage and could eventually develop into a pro-bowl caliber strong safety. Loston could sit behind Mundy for a year while he improves his coverage technique and be ready to start in 2015.

Round 4 (#117) – Dion Bailey, USC (6’0, 201): Bailey switched between OLB and safety in college and played well at both. He is a sure tackler with great instincts and enough speed to be adequate in coverage.  Bailey showed good hands in college with 11 career interceptions and could become a play-maker at either safety position in the NFL. Bailey isn’t an elite athlete, but is a solid instinctive football player. 

Round 5 (#156)- Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama  (6’0, 210): Borderline athleticism for an NFL player, but Sunseri makes up for it with great instincts. Sunseri is a sure tackler who is very aggressive against the run and is basically a coach on the field. I think he has enough intangibles to make up for his lack of athleticism and be an effective safety in the league. I read a comparison to Craig Steltz which scared me a little, but besides the white safety from the SEC angle, I don’t see it. Sunseri is around the same size but faster and takes better angles in both coverage and run defense.

Round 6 (#183) – Isaiah Lewis, Michigan St (5’10, 205): Lewis has a penchant for big hits, but is questionable in coverage. He made a few nice plays in Senior Bowl practices but also got beat deep a couple of times putting a spotlight on his lack of top-end speed (4.60). Worst case, Lewis will be solid against the run and a big-hitter on special teams. 

Round 6 (#191) – Daniel Sorenson, BYU (6’1, 205): Elite agility and change of direction skills. Sorenson had the fastest 3-cone, 20 yard shuttle, and 60-yard shuttle times at the combine and it wasn’t even close. His 3-cone was .43 faster than the closest guy and his 60-yard shuttle was almost a full second faster than the next guy. Tough, a sound tackler and a hard-worker, but lacks recovery speed (4.67 at combine) and struggles a bit in deep coverage. Sorenson should be at least a solid back-up who can play in a pinch and could be a stand-out on special teams.

UFA – Boo Boo Gates, Bowling Green (5’11, 227): You won’t find Gates on many prospect lists, but he is a well-rounded strong safety with enough skills to play at the next level. He’s a good hitter against the run, solid in coverage, and explosive enough to return two kicks and a punt for TDs during his college career. Gates will excel on special teams coverage off the bat, is a dangerous return man, and has the potential to develop into a starting safety down the road.

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_