This is awesome. We have just two picks left to sign. I'm really excited about this draft class!
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Bears on Tuesday signed third-round defensive tackle Marcus Harrison and agreed to terms with third-round receiver Earl Bennett and fifth-round cornerback Zackary Bowman, all to four-year contracts.
Harrison is a first-round talent who dropped in the draft because of durability and character concerns. The 6-3, 310-pounder tore his left ACL last spring, but rebounded to register 76 tackles, 6½ tackles-for-loss and 1½ sacks while starting 10 games at Arkansas. He also batted down 10 passes and forced one fumble.
"He’s got some talent and some ability and some strength,” said defensive line coach Brick Haley. “There are a lot of things that we like about him.”
Highly competitive and productive, Bennett finished as the SEC’s all-time leading receiver with 236 catches despite playing only three seasons at Vanderbilt. The 6-foot, 209-pounder is the only player in conference history with at least 75 receptions in multiple seasons.
Playing with current Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, Bennett caught 79 passes for 876 yards and 9 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2005. Bennett continued to prosper after Cutler left Vanderbilt for the NFL, catching 82 passes for 1,146 yards and 6 TDs as a sophomore and 75 passes for 830 yards and 5 TDs last season as a junior.
“From Day 1 to now, he’s improved tremendously,” said wide receivers coach Darryl Drake. “He’s just an outstanding young man. He has a great deal of ability. He’s very deceptive with his speed. We just need to continue to work him and bring him along. I’ve been impressed with him as a person—his work ethic and his ability to pick things up.”
Bowman showed promise in 2005 at Nebraska, recording 27 tackles, 14 pass breakups and two interceptions while starting five of 11 games played. But the 6-1, 197-pounder tore his left ACL in spring practice and missed the entire 2006 season.
Bowman then tore his patellar tendon in his right knee in spring practice in 2007, but returned to record 29 tackles, six pass breakups and one interception while starting four of 11 games played.
The Bears have now signed or agreed to terms with 10 of their 12 players chosen in this year’s draft, the most in the NFL. To date, 67 picks from the 2008 NFL draft have signed or agreed to terms with their respective teams.
Bennett (70th overall), Harrison (90th) and Bowman (142nd) join fourth-round choice Craig Steltz (120th), fifth-round selection Kellen Davis (158th) and seventh-round picks Ervin Baldwin (208th), Chester Adams (222nd), Joey LaRocque (243rd), Kirk Barton (247th) and Marcus Monk (248th) as Chicago’s draft picks who have signed or agreed to terms.
The Bears’ two picks yet to sign are first-round choice Chris Williams (14th) and second-round selection Matt Forté (44th).