Bears select West Virginia LB Thomas in Round 6

Bears select West Virginia LB Thomas in Round 6
April 30, 2011, 8:45 pm
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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Posted: 3:47 p.m. Updated: 6:00 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

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The Bears 2011 draft came to a quiet close with their selection of West Virginia linebacker J.T. Thomas in the sixth round, the 195th pick overall.

Thomas, 6-1, 241 pounds, started 13 games in each of his last three Mountaineers seasons after working as reserve in 10 games his freshman year. He will need to be a solid contributor on special teams although, GM Jerry Angelo and the Bears liked that Thomas comes with options.

He fits us perfectly, can play all three positions, Angelo said. He played multi-roles there at West Virginia. We spent a lot of time on him, saw him at an All-Star game. He got hurt during that practice week, but we feel very, very good about his fit and picking up a linebacker was a goal today and he was the right one.

That would be an important step up.

The Bears behind Jerry Angelo have fared very poorly drafting linebackers other than picking Lance Briggs in the third round of the 2003 draft. One linebacker was selected in every draft from 2002 to 2009, a list comprised of Bryan Knight (2002, 5th round), Joe Odom (2003, 6th), Leon Joe (2004, 4th), Rod Wilson (2005, 7th), Jamar Williams (2006, 4th), Michael Okwo (2007, 3rd), Joey LaRoque (2008, 5th) and Marcus Freeman (2009, 5th).

Wilson made the team initially, was cut but returned and finished last season with the Bears. Williams gave the Bears several respectable seasons as a backup before being traded. But the Bears have gotten virtually nothing of consequence from multiple attempts to find a linebacker in the mid- to late rounds of their drafts.

But Thomas may be a better fit than some of his unsuccessful predecessors.

"Its the same defense that I played in at West Virginia, the same mentality, very aggressive, Thomas said. Ill also be playing alongside one of my best high school friends, Joshua Moore cornerback, drafted fifth round last year as well. It will definitely be fun and Im very excited.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.