Bears RB Wolfe Could Be Primary Backup
Written by: Larry Mayer ¦ 5/3/2007
LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Christmas never came for Ron Turner in the 2006 draft as the Bears selected defensive players with their first five picks for the first time in franchise history.
A year later, the offensive coordinator has some great gifts to unwrap after the Bears spent three of their first five choices on offense, taking tight end Greg Olsen in the first round (31st overall, running back Garrett Wolfe in the third (93rd) and lineman Josh Beekman in the fourth (130th).
"It's kind of nice," Turner said, "three instead of none a year ago."
The centerpiece of the draft, of course, is Olsen, a 6-6, 254-pounder who possesses a rare combination of size, speed and athleticism. The top tight end in the draft arrives in Chicago after catching 87 passes for 1,215 yards and 6 touchdowns in three seasons at Miami.
Olsen may not revolutionize the Bears passing game, but he will give Turner a downfield threat at the position, which should result in more 1-on-1 situations for the wide receivers.
"I don't know how many plays we'll be able to do that we didn't (in the past)," Turner said. "I think we'll be able to do them better. He's a good player. He's going to be able to do a lot for us.
"He'll be able to stretch the field with his speed. He was a very productive player (at Miami). I watched a ton of tape on him. He's going to help us, no question about it. We'll have a package for him and be able to get him involved early and often."
Turner is just as excited about Wolfe's potential. The 5-7, 186-pounder from Northern Illinois boasts excellent speed, balance and body control. As a senior, he led the nation in rushing with 1,928 yards and 18 touchdowns and was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year.
"I love him," Turner said. "I think he's a great player. I've seen him for a lot of years. Everyone talks about his (lack of) size, but he is a very, very productive player. Some of his best games were against some top teams-Michigan, Ohio State. He played really well in those games."
Wolfe surpassed the San Diego Chargers' Michael Turner as Northern Illinois' all-time leading rusher with 5,136 yards and his 6.5 yards per carry average set an NCAA Division I-A record.
"He's an outstanding player," said the Bears offensive coordinator. "He's very quick and fast and strong. You look at his size and say maybe he's not, but he's a strong player. I see him coming in and being a situational player for us early, but he definitely could be the No. 2 back as well."
In Beekman, the Bears landed a versatile lineman who was named the best blocker in the ACC last season when he started 10 games at right guard and three at center for Boston College.
"I feel really good about Beekman," Turner said. "I thought he did a good job on film. I was really shocked he was there in the fourth round."
While the Bears bolstered their offense in the draft, they didn't select a wide receiver, something that Turner had said during the fan convention was at the top of his wish list.
"You talk to the offensive coordinator and he'll probably say that the next three or four years too," said coach Lovie Smith. "You're always trying to get playmakers.
"We like our wide receivers we have right now. You always would like to add another good player to the mix. But again, we like our wide receivers that we have and we'll go from there."