The Bears addressed their secondary for the third time in four picks when they selected William & Mary defensive back DeAndre Houston-Carson with the 185th pick in the sixth round.
The 6-1, 201-pounder appeared in 45 games over four seasons at William & Mary, registering 293 tackles, 11.5 tackles-for-loss, 10 interceptions and 34 passes defensed. Houston-Carson also excelled on special teams, blocking nine kicks.
With the 185th pick (6th round) in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Bears select William & Mary safety DeAndre Houston-Carson.
"He's another versatile player," said general manager Ryan Pace. "He can play corner, he can play safety. We see him as a safety right now. He's a very physical player; hits with explosiveness. He's a very good special-teams player as well. This is a guy [special-teams coordinator] Jeff Rodgers is fired up about."
After playing cornerback his first three seasons, Houston-Carson moved to safety as a senior and responded by recording a team-high 109 tackles and four interceptions, returning one 94 yards for a touchdown. In the process, he became just the third player in the 122-year history of his school's football program to earn consensus first-team All-American honors.
"I was comfortable at both positions," Houston-Carson said. "Coaches asked me to make a position change due to depth chart issues at the beginning of the spring semester. I felt I'd be willing to do it, and I think it went well. We had a good season. We had a chance to get a conference championship, so I think it went well."
Houston-Carson is a versatile defensive back who could make his greatest impact as a Bears rookie on special teams, given his ability to block kicks and play the gunner position.
Asked about his greatest strengths as a player, Houston-Carson said: "I would say just being able to play smart football and make plays however I can, and then obviously special teams. It's huge for me, personally. I take a lot of pride in that."
Houston-Carson credits film work and coaching with helping him block so many kicks.
"The main thing is just preparation and the film study," he said. "And then just my position coach putting us in position to make those plays."