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Wright to get a shot at safety job
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/1/2010 11:11 PM

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Bears third-round draft pick Major Wright is coming into a wide-open position battle at safety, which means he should have plenty of opportunities over the next four months to prove he belongs in the starting lineup on opening day.

"Everybody competes for jobs in training camp," Bears defensive backs coach Jon Hoke said when asked about Wright and fifth-round cornerback Joshua Moore. "There are no givens, so they're in the mix just like everybody else. We play the best football players. So, if they're up to speed and they're playing good, they'll play."

Just stepping on the practice field at Halas Hall for this weekend's three-day rookie minicamp has been a thrill for Wright, but he has a long way to go before he can compete for the starting job at free safety, where he will get his first chance.

"I was like, 'Wow, my dream's come true,' " he said. "I dreamed about this when I was younger and it's here. Now I just have to go out and hustle and just stay focused."

At Florida, Wright exhibited the skills to play strong safety, which has traditionally been more of a run-support role, and free safety, which often requires more ball skills and coverage ability.

"We're going to play him at free to begin with," Hoke said. "In this system they have to be able to do both jobs, so he'll learn both, but he has characteristics (for both). He's a ball guy, he's obviously got excellent speed from the times he ran, and he plays fast, but he is a physical guy also."

Soaking it up: Fourth-round defensive end Corey Wootton is from New Jersey, but after playing five years at Northwestern and being drafted by the Bears, he almost feels like a Chicago guy.

He's trying to learn everything he can from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who will continue to work extensively with the defensive linemen, as he did last year as the defensive line coach.

"I've already learned a lot," the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Wootton said. "Coach Marinelli is a great coach. He's teaching a lot of pass-rush technique, a lot about get-off, and I'm just trying to be a sponge and absorb everything."

More than big: Without pads or full contact, it's difficult to evaluate linemen at this point in the off-season, but 6-foot-8, 338-pound seventh-round offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb has already made an impression.

"He's big, and he's a big athlete," coach Lovie Smith said. "That's what we're able to see. He can move. He's a knee-bender and has great size. He's anxious. He's been picking up things fairly well. You can't get too high or too low on these type of practices. But what you don't want to see, as far as a lineman, is a big, stiff guy that can't move. You definitely won't say that about him. He's a big athlete."