Bears thrilled to get Michigan WR Terrell with No. 8 pick
Updated: Saturday April 21, 2001 6:02 PM
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- David Terrell didn't think he'd have to wait as long as he did to hear his name called at the NFL Draft.
But when he heard who took him, he couldn't have been happier about the wait.
The Chicago Bears took the Michigan receiver with the eighth overall pick in the draft Saturday. He's the Bears highest-drafted receiver since Curtis Conway was the No. 7 pick in 1993.
"How does it feel? It feels good," said Terrell, who is good friends with the Chicago Bulls' Jamal Crawford, a former Wolverine.
"It's got a great, great, great tradition in football, great fans who are supportive. I'm in a great situation here in Chicago."
The situation got even better when the Bears took Terrell's Wolverine teammate, running back Anthony Thomas, in the second round.
"It's a great experience. We did a lot together at Michigan and now it's time to take the next step," Thomas said. "I'm glad we'll be taking it together."
Terrell, the first receiver in Michigan history with two 1,000-yard seasons, left college a year early expecting to be one of the first picks in the draft. His 152 career catches were second most in Michigan history, and he was third in yards receiving with 2,317.
He's fast (4.38 in the 40-yard dash), big (6-2 5/8) and has a 38-inch vertical leap.
But some teams might have been scared off by a stress fracture in his right foot, an injury he played with all last year.
"If it was [a concern] we would have addressed it differently. Our doctors were fine with it," said Mark Hatley, the Bears vice president of player personnel.
Terrell said he's not worried about his foot, either. Even with the injury, he caught 67 passes for a school-record 1,130 yards and 14 touchdowns last year.
"I took care of that and rested it," he said. "Me falling to the eighth, if that's what it was, that's what it was. But now I'm a Chicago Bear and I'm going to prepare myself to get on the field and be productive next year."
Though many mock drafts had the Bears taking California defensive end Andre Carter, San Francisco pulled off a last-minute trade with Seattle to get him. The 49ers swapped their No. 9 for Seattle's No. 7.
Even if Carter had been available, Hatley said the Bears still would have taken Terrell.
"We'd already made up our mind," Hatley said. "[Terrell] thinks he'll be able to put points on the board and that's something we wanted to address with the draft."
Though wide receiver is one area where the Bears actually have some depth, improving their horrendous red zone production last year was a priority.
Chicago got inside the 20-yard line only 26 times last season, scoring 11 touchdowns and 11 field goals.
Thomas can help there, too. The "A-Train," a semifinalist for the Doak Walker award last year, set Michigan records with 4,472 career yards rushing, 924 carries and 55 touchdowns.
He also had 810 yards receiving, and his 6,002 career all-purpose yards is second-best in Michigan history.
Bears head coach Dick Jauron said they'll play Terrell at flanker, which means some stiff competition if he wants to start his rookie year. Bobby Engram, Chicago's leading receiver in 1998 and '99, is expected back after missing most of last season with a knee injury.
Marty Booker and D'Wayne Bates also play flanker.
"We wouldn't plug [Terrell] in right now as a starter. We fully expect him to compete," Jauron said. "We drafted him that high ... and we think he's got the ability to take that job.
"We believe he's an every down player. If he wins the job, he's going to be out there all the time."
Terrell also gives the Bears some insurance at split end. Though Marcus Robinson is one of the league's top young receivers, he missed the last four games last year with a bulging disk in his lower back. Terrell played both flanker and split end at Michigan.
Terrell said he doesn't care where he plays. Just put him somewhere on the field.
"My greatest strength is just knowing I'm a winner, knowing I'm going to do whatever it takes to get it done," he said. "I came in to start and be a productive guy.
"I've won at every level I've played, and I'm not going to stop that."