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Bears draft Bullard in third round

The Bears addressed their defense by selecting Florida defensive end Jonathan Bullard with the 72nd overall pick in the third round of the NFL Draft.

The 6-3, 285-pounder appeared in 50 games with 36 starts over four seasons for the Gators, registering 178 tackles, 33.5 tackles-for-loss and 12 sacks.

Bullard started his career at Florida at end, moved to tackle late in his sophomore season, and opened his junior year back at end before switching to tackle late in the season.

With the 72nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Bears select Florida DE Jonathan Bullard.

As a senior, Bullard played two games at end and 12 at tackle, setting career highs with 66 tackles, 17.5 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks. The 17.5 tackles-for-loss were the most by a Florida player since former Bears defensive end Alex Brown had 18 in 1999.

The Bears envision Bullard as a defensive end in their base 3-4 scheme who is capable of moving inside to the three-technique position in passing situations.

Asked what he likes most about Bullard as a pass rusher, general manager Ryan Pace said: "It's his length and it's his get-off and it's his hand-use. He needs to work on his pad level a little bit when he's rushing the passer, and that can be coached. But some things that can't be coached are just the twitch and quickness he plays with, which will help him as a pass rusher. His get-off is excellent. There are a lot of advantages just from that alone."

It's possible that Bullard could bulk up with the Bears.

"He's got the frame to add weight, which is easy for him," Pace said. "We talk a lot to their coaches and the people who have been around him. He has an outstanding work ethic. Him getting stronger in the weight room is not going to be a problem. He put on weight [last] season and still played at a high level."

The Bears have rebuilt their front seven on defense this offseason, drafting Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd in the first round and Bullard after signing inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman and defensive end Akiem Hicks in free agency.

"It's just getting guys who are athletic, that are versatile and that play with the tenacity that we are looking for," Pace said. "We want guys who can get to the quarterback, too, and I think when you look at Floyd and Bullard now, these are guys who can rush the passer and that's going to help us [this] year."

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