Bears keep adding to 'D', take WVU's Kwiatkoski in 4th round
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears addressed holes on defense and added to their offensive line during the draft. They brought in a running back and receiver, too.
The Bears began the final day by adding to their defense, drafting West Virginia inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski with their first pick in the fourth round after trading up four spots with the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday.
Those moves were just part of the flurry as the Bears continued to retool their roster after going 6-10 in their first season under general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox. Besides adding players through the draft, they agreed with quarterback Brian Hoyer on a one-year deal Saturday, giving them a veteran to back up Jay Cutler.
"The common trait with these guys is toughness and instincts," Pace said. "It's something we've emphasized, and it's something we drafted."
The 6-foot-2, 243-pound Kwiatkoski is known for his toughness and explosive play and could contribute on special teams. He led the Mountaineers with 86 tackles and was a second-team, all-Big 12 pick last season, and he said he is looking forward to play for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and alongside veterans Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman.
"The Bears have a long line of great linebackers," Kwiatkoski said. "That's something that makes me really happy to be a part of. They're a hard-nosed defense. I haven't really talked to anyone about where I'm going to be in the defense yet, but I feel like I bring versatility and just linebacker instincts. I feel like I've played multiple positions and I'm just happy to work."
At least one Bears player was thrilled to have Kwiatkoski — last year's first-round pick Kevin White. The receiver from West Virginia tweeted, "Yea kwittttttt!!!!! Wvu #BearDown" after the selection. They lived two doors down from each other, and Kwiatkoski lived with White's brother Ka'Raun this past year.
The hard-hitting Bush had an up-and-down senior season. He broke up six passes but had no forced fumbles after recording five as a junior.
"I like to play tough, I like to put fear in my opponent and that's a big thing in my game," he said.
Hall had six interceptions as a senior at Northern Iowa and 13 in his career.
Chicago took Indiana running back Jordan Howard in the fifth round. He transferred to Indiana last year after UAB shut down its program and averaged 134.8 yards rushing — second in the Big Ten — although he missed four games and parts of three others with knee and ankle injuries.
William & Mary safety and special teams contributor DeAndre Houston-Carson, who blocked nine kicks in college, was selected by Chicago in the sixth round and Western Michigan receiver Daniel Braverman in the seventh.
The Bears have been busy this offseason, with a long to-do list after back-to-back last-place finishes in the NFC North.
They addressed weaknesses at inside linebacker by signing Trevathan from Super Bowl champion Denver and former Indianapolis Colts player Freeman. They also added to their offensive line by signing former Arizona Cardinals right tackle Bobby Massie among other moves.
The Bears added athleticism on the edge in the first round when they took Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd with the ninth pick after trading up two spots with Tampa Bay on Thursday. On Friday, Chicago took Kansas State guard Cody Whitehair after trading down twice in the second round and went with Florida defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard in the third.
The Bears believe Floyd will put up more impressive numbers in their system after he had 4 1/2 sacks last season.
"You can't coach speed," Fox said. "I think Leonard has a unique ability to bend and to rush. I don't think he rushed quite as much at Georgia — he maybe didn't get as many opportunities as he had in the past."