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David Bruton is hopeful that his teammates get some good luck this weekend but the Notre Dame free safety could be the only Fighting Irish player drafted this weekend.

There is a parallel between the final recruiting class of Ty Willingham at the school and the performance by the Irish last season, that's for sure. The NFL doesn't see the talent either.

Bruton is a projected mid-round pick with a good combination of size and range. He met with the Bears' coaching staff at the Senior Bowl in January but has not had much contact since. Bruton did make two official visits to Denver and the New York Jets and the Broncos are particularly interested as they also put him through a private workout on campus.

"I have heard anywhere between late second to fifth, I don't know,'' Bruton said. "Wherever I fall is where I fall. At the end of the day, I still have to make the team and eventually become a starter wherever I go."


When the Bears go looking for a free safety in this draft--and it's not a matter of if--history indicates there is a good chance they will look to the South.

General manager Jerry Angelo has relied on Southwest regional scout Chris Ballard to uncover many of the team's defensive backs, including its best, cornerback Charles Tillman. Ballard also did extra work before the selection of Nathan Vasher, the only Angelo-drafted defensive back to be named to a Pro Bowl.

Some quick research shows that of the 14 defensive backs drafted by Angelo since 2002 (that counts 2006 second-round pick Devin Hester, who was chosen as a cornerback), eight have come from Ballard's territory. Ballard has expertise in the area. He coached defensive backs at Texas A&M-Kingsville before he was hired. Not coincidentally, that is a school Angelo scouted heavily when he was with Tampa Bay. At one time, the Buccaneers had six players on their roster from the school.

Furthermore, of the seven defensive backs Angelo has drafted in the first four rounds, five have come from Ballard's territory. Hester and former safety Todd Johnson (2003, Round 4) are the exceptions. Ballard also was responsible for the selection of Chris Harris in the sixth round in 2005 and Kevin Payne in the fifth round in 2007. The Bears trust Ballard to find defensive backs.

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