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Picks to Improve: S Major Wright

Major Wright's in a contract year, and after starting all sixteen games in 2012 and providing some pretty good play, what's next for 2010's third-round pick?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This year was the first time in nine years the Bears didn't spend a draft pick on a safety, and the first time in the last four that a third-round pick wasn't spent on a safety. In fact, the lone safety acquisition this offseason was to sign Tom Zbikowski, who provides ability similar to Craig Steltz in addition to his moonlighting as a boxer.

So that means the current young guys on roster need to take another step forward, and for the Bears that means Brandon Hardin (well, he needs to take a step period...), Chris Conte and Major Wright.

Past Performance:

2010: 11 games, 17 tackles, 4 assisted
2011: 12 games (11 started), 3 interceptions (touchdown), 6 passes deflected, 41 tackles, 16 assisted
2012: 16 games (16 started), 4 interceptions (touchdown), 8 passes deflected, 1 forced fumble, 52 tackles, 19 assisted

Wright had a reputation coming out of college as a thumper and a rangy ballhawk, and he's started to come along in all regards. Wright's tackling numbers put him at third overall on the team, and his four interceptions were second to Tim Jennings' great year.

What's New?

Aside from a lack of Brian Urlacher and a new defensive coordinator calling the same set of plays, not a whole lot. The main thing is that while DJ Williams, Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene have range and can play the middle, Brian Urlacher's range in his prime will be hard to duplicate - that being said, Urlacher didn't have all that range the last year or two, so safety play up the middle is still paramount.

The 2013 Season

The biggest thing that's new about this season is it's a contract year for Wright, and last year was a very good year to build forward on - stayed healthy all year, started all 16 games, continued to build on his ball-hawking. Another year with perhaps turning some of those deflections into interceptions (and not hurting a teammate on a play), and he'll make himself a few millions going forward.

The Way-Too-Early 16-Game Prediction in May: 5 interceptions (career high), 7 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 55 tackles, 15 assists