When the Bears drafted Cornelius Washington out of Georgia in the sixth round, it was suggested that it was another sign that the team may be moving to a 3-4 defensive scheme since Washington is considered a hybrid-type player.
But like 2012 first-round pick Shea McClellin, Washington will have his hand in the dirt, first and foremost. He'll focus on being a defensive end in the Bears' 4-3 scheme and rushing the passer. He spent all of rookie camp at defensive end.
"He looks athletic, looks like he can rush a little bit, high-motor guy who only knows one speed, full speed whether it's a walk-through or whatever," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "He's a fun guy to coach. ... He's a guy who improves and takes coaching, so I think he's got some upside and the arrow is up with him."
Washington didn't post eye-popping numbers at Georgia. He was moved all over the defense, seeing time at strong-side linebacker then weak-side linebacker and then finally weak-side defensive end.
Washington was actually on the Butkus Award Watch List before the 2012 season and moving to defensive end. He had 22 tackles, 1/2 a sack and 15 quarterback pressures at end.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. projected that Washington could go as high as the second or third rounds because of his versatility and measurables.
"I think the biggest surprise to me was Cornelius Washington," Kiper said. "Even though his sack totals were very low, his talent is enormous. I thought he played better in certain games than people gave him credit for, and I thought he had a nice Senior Bowl week. He's got too much talent to last to the sixth round, but when people get that underachiever label, sometimes that hurts you."
Washington is 6-4 and 265 pounds. He said the Bears haven't asked to bulk up -- at least not yet. He said his current size helps him maintain his speed, but he will "do whatever I'm asked."
"If they say they want me to come in and rush then I'm completely comfortable with that," Washington said. "I'm just ready to come in and do what the coaches ask me to do and earn as much respect as I can on this team, and just make my part of the team."