Crafty move by Packers landed them Burnett

When it came to what has been the boogeyman position on defense for the Chicago Bears, were they outsmarted by their rivials?

The Green Bay Packers, who have one of the best safeties in the NFC in Nick Collins, didn’t have an overwhelming need for another one in the draft but as Georgia Tech’s Morgan Burnett made his way into the third round, the opportunity to select him became too overwhelming to pass.

So as Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune details, the Packers traded their third-round pick (No. 86) and a fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles to jump to No. 71 near the top of the third round and draft Burnett four slots before the Bears were going to select. Did the Packers steal the man the Bears had their eyes on? Chicago, when its turn came, chose Florida safety Major Wright.

"We had Burnett ranked really high, and we talked about it in the second round," Packers coach Mike McCarthy told Pompei. "When we got further down, we talked about the other teams needing safeties.

"It's like playing cards. There are teams you think will take safeties, and if you look back on it, they did. I definitely don't think he would have been there where we were picking in the third round."


Part of the thinking in Green Bay was if they didn’t draft Burnett to pair with Collins, they would likely see him twice a season wearing a Bears uniform. Pompei reports that he contacted five NFL teams and all had Burnett ranked ahead of Wright, although on most boards they were close.

"Burnett is more of a ball guy," Bears defensive backs coach Jon Hoke said. "He had more interceptions. But he's not nearly as physical as Major. He's not as sudden in movement or change of directions. I was fine with either of them. Both would have fit for what we want just fine."

A “ball guy” is what most believed the Bears needed, a center fielder with coverage skills. But Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo has traded up in a draft just one time in nine years, and the Bears, as usual, were locked into that spot at No. 75 waiting to see what fell their way. Wright takes the field during rookie minicamp starting this afternoon. The Bears are thrilled with his addition and he figures to start at free safety this season if he develops like previous young safeties have for them. But Wright and Burnett will forever be linked as long as they are playing for rival teams.

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