The Bears on Saturday bolstered their secondary by trading up five spots in the fourth round of the draft to select Alabama safety Eddie Jackson with the No. 112 overall pick.
The deal with the Los Angeles Rams cost the Bears a sixth-round pick (197th).
Jackson appeared in 41 games with 37 starts over four seasons at Alabama, registering 130 tackles, nine interceptions, 13 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. The 6-foot, 201-pounder also returned two of 11 punts for touchdowns last year as a senior.
Jackson told reporters during a conference call that he was sleeping when Ryan Pace called him to tell him he was going to be drafted by the Bears but was thrilled to receive the news.
With the 112th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bears selected defensive back Eddie Jackson out of Alabama.
"This is something you dream about since you're a little kid, playing in the NFL," Jackson said. "It's a wonderful feeling, a wonderful feeling."
Jackson's best season came in 2015 when he helped Alabama win the national championship, starting all 15 games and registering career highs with 46 tackles and six interceptions.
He scored three career touchdowns on interception returns of 50 yards against Georgia and 93 yards versus Texas A&M in 2015 and 55 yards against Western Kentucky in 2016.
"When I get the ball in my hands, I feel like I turn into a receiver," Jackson said. "Honestly, I don't think about going out of bounds or think about going down. I think about touchdowns. That's one thing that helped me and a couple guys on the team. We think about touchdowns in the secondary. We don't want to go down. We don't want to go out of bounds. We want to score."
Jackson showed the same knack for finding the end zone while returning punts last year for the first time in his career, scoring TDs on returns of 85 yards against Mississippi and 79 yards versus Tennessee.
"I like playing punt return," Jackson said. "I had been asking my coaches to give me a chance to do it since I had been there. They didn't think I knew how to play it at first but when they finally gave me the chance, it worked out for the best.
"I have gotten some indications from the Bears. They told me they liked me as a returner. It's one of the things they want me to try me at or see how well I do. I'm just ready to come in and compete and work and take advantage of every opportunity that's given to me."
Jackson had two serious injuries at Alabama. He tore his ACL in April 2014 but returned for the second game of the season and appeared in 11 contests. Last year he was lost for the season Oct. 22 when he suffered a broken leg while returning a punt in a win over Texas A&M. The injury prevented him from working out at the NFL Combine.
"It was frustrating, being on top for a while and then you go out with a leg injury, especially coming back after the season I had my junior year," Jackson said. "When you're doing good and get things taken away from you, you lose everything.
"At that moment I was at a low point in my life. But I had family and friends, my teammates and coaches really kept me up, kept me motivated. And also the fans. The Alabama fans always kept me motivated. Big ups go to my girlfriend. She stood by me through thick and thin, along with my family and friends.
"It was just frustrating, but I had to fight through it. My dad always taught me to overcome adversity, which I've been going through my whole life. I just felt like nothing was going to hold me down. I knew what I had to do. I knew where I came from and I knew what I didn't want to go back to. That just kept me going."
Jackson said that he has recovered from his injury and doesn't expect to be limited with the Bears.
"I'm fine right now," he said. "I'm healthy and I'll be ready to go by training camp. Last year it was frustrating. I went down with an injury. It's something I can't control. But I'm just ready to get there and work with the training staff at the Bears. I know I'm going to be ready for training camp 100 percent, no limitations."