The Bears went back to the defensive side of the ball in the 6th round, taking safety DeAndre Houston-Carson out of William & Mary.
There was some thought the Bears would look to pick up a quarterback project in the 6th, but that hasn't happened to this point.
Houston-Carson was a three-year starter and all-conference cornerback, but switched to free safety and played his way into being an FCS All-American as a senior. With regard to tackles, he led all Colonial Athletic Asociation defensive backs with 8.4 tackles per game.
STRENGTHS: Looks the part of a modern day NFL defensive back with broad shoulders, a tapered middle and long limbs. Fluid athleticism, including quick, light feet and loose hips to change directions. Accelerates smoothly, possessing NFL-caliber speed.
Showed impressive awareness in making the transition from cornerback to free safety as a senior, displaying the vision, range and ball-skills to potentially remain at this position. Locates the ball quickly and plays with a highly aggressive brand of football, charging toward the line of scrimmage in run support.
Physical hitter. Possesses an explosive closing burst to spark big collisions and rips at the ball when others are near.
Good awareness for zone coverage, showing burst to close on routes caught in from of him. Good patience in off-man coverage, forcing receivers to commit before turning his hips, putting him in excellent position to make plays on underneath routes. Shows very good hand-eye coordination to pluck passes outside of his frame, timing his leap and/or get-off rushing off the edge well to create interceptions or to block kicks. Good vision to set up blocks with the ball in his hand.
Durable performer. Four-year starter.
STRENGTHS Team captain. Combines a nose for the ball and a hot motor to fill up stat sheet. Slippery on his way to the ball with ability to weave through traffic and slip blocks. Plays with plus balance and is able to withstand contact from blocker and stay in the play. High-end, charged up tackler with some explosion behind his pads a high-end tackle production. Former cornerback with a background in man coverage. Has twitch and acceleration to match slot receivers out of their breaks. Plays with outstanding awareness of man and ball in zone coverage. Snared seven interceptions over last two years. Special teams gunner and overall ace with multiple coverage tackles. Gets out of his stance in a flash and has unique talent for blocking kicks including four punts in nine games in 2014.
From the Daily Press:
Scouts like his build, from his size (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) to long limbs. They like his speed, which he showed by running the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds at the NFL combine — the top performance by a safety.
They also like how smoothly he transitioned from cornerback, Houston-Carson's position his first three seasons, to safety. He drew plenty of attention at W&M's pro day, and he's done several individual workouts.
The biggest concern is that Houston-Carson played for an FCS program and didn't go against top-caliber receivers. But William and Mary has a history of sending defensive backs to the NFL. Among them: Mark Kelso (10th round, 1985), Darren Sharper (second round, 1997), Derek Cox (third round, 2009) and B.W. Webb (fourth round, 2013).
Houston-Carson said most teams are looking at him as a safety, though his ability to play corner is an obvious plus. Not to mention his abilities on special teams, where he can be a game-changer. In his senior season alone, he returned two blocked kicks for touchdowns and blocked a punt that resulted in a safety.
"There's so much involved to playing the game as a defensive back," he said. "Being able to play man-to-man and knowing that I'm comfortable on an island at corner makes teams a little bit more interested in me.