June 16, 2010
Baylor center J.D. Walton, BA '09 (third round, Denver Broncos), and receiver David Gettis (sixth round, Carolina Panthers) were each selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, while eight other Bears will be in NFL minicamps this summer.
Walton, a three-year starter at center for Baylor after transferring from Arizona State, last fall became the Bears' first non-special teams player to be named an Associated Press All-American since 1991. The Broncos' starting center position is open, and Walton will have a shot at winning the job this fall.
Following the selection of Jason Smith, BSED '08, as the No. 2 overall pick in 2009, with Walton's pick the Bears have had offensive linemen drafted in consecutive years for the first time since 1987-88. Gettis, meanwhile, is the Bears' highest-drafted receiver since Melvin Bonner went to the Broncos in 1993.
Five Bears signed free agent contracts following the draft: Trey Bryant, BSED '09, Atlanta Falcons; Jason Lamb, BBA '09, New York Jets; Joe Pawelek, BBA '09, Seattle Seahawks; Ernest Smith, BSED '09, San Diego Chargers; and Jonathan Weeks, BSED '07, Houston Texans. Three others were invited to camp to try and win a roster spot: Carter Brunelle, BBA '09, Green Bay Packers; Antonio Jones, BSED '09, St. Louis Rams; and Jordan Lake, BBA '09, Detroit Lions.
Senior-to-be offensive tackle Danny Watkins was also the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 Canadian Football League draft. Watkins, a native of British Columbia, was the consensus top player in this year's CFL draft but dropped to the fourth overall pick for two reasons: he still has his senior season yet to play, and he is expected to head to the NFL after his Baylor career is completed.
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