Saturday is shaping up to be Intriguing Defensive End day in the NFC North. A few minutes after the Minnesota Vikings selected USC's Everson Griffen, the Chicago Bears grabbed Northwestern's Corey Wootton.
Wootton had two serious injuries in his college career. He missed the 2005 season because of a neck injury and then tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the 2008 Alamo Bowl. In between, however, Wootton was arguably the best pass rushers in the Big 10. He had 10 sacks in 2008 and was named a first-team all-Big 10 player.
Wooten returned relatively quickly from the ACL injury but wasn't the same player in 2009, finishing with four sacks. If he can reclaim his previous form, Wootton is a tremendous value at No. 109 overall. Here's what Scouts Inc. wrote about his pass-rushing ability:
Diagnostic skills are elite. Not a lot of wasted motion and gets himself into strong initial position. Gets the most out of his overall skills on a consistent basis. Works to the whistle on every play.
* Update: Chicago director of college scouting Greg Gabriel said the Bears had Wootton as "a very highly-rated player" entering the season but agreed that he didn't play as well in 2009.
"This was a value pick for us," Gabriel said. "He’s coming off of knee surgery. He had knee surgery in January of 2009, following the season. He wasn’t 100 percent when he played this year. This guy was thought of very highly by everybody, not only in our organization, but around the league going into the season. He fell, I think, because of the injury, but he’s a good player.”