When Jonathan Bullard was considering whether to enter last year's NFL Draft, he received a "stay in school" grade from the league advisory committee.
The defensive lineman returned to Florida for his senior year with something to prove and responded by setting career highs with 66 tackles, 17.5 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks.
Despite the breakout season, Bullard went undrafted in the first two rounds this year. But that only creates more motivation for the 6-3, 285-pounder, who was selected by the Bears Friday night with the 72nd overall pick in the third round.
"The NFL told me to come back [in 2015], so I kind of used that as a chip on my shoulder to go out and prove that I was a highly talented guy and I felt like I deserved to go higher," Bullard said.
"I felt the same in this draft. I waited longer than I expected, but I feel like I landed in a good place and I'm excited for it and now I can go out and start my career off with a chip on my shoulder and just go out and prove people wrong again. Sometimes that's not always a bad thing to have that chip."
With the 72nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Bears select Florida DE Jonathan Bullard.
Bullard appeared in 50 games with 36 starts over four seasons at Florida, registering 178 tackles, 33.5 tackles-for-loss and 12 sacks. He moved from end to tackle late in his sophomore season, and opened his junior year back at end before switching to tackle late in the season. As a senior, he played two games at end and 12 at tackle.
"My greatest strength would probably be my first step and my play recognition," Bullard said. "I think I did a good job of learning the game and I could kind of see things before [they] happened. But that just comes off my study from film and learning the little things from what they give you on film.
"I've got a good eye for the ball. When the ball moves, I move. It kind of helps me out on my pass rush and also shooting gaps sometimes when we're doing stunts and movements."
The Bears envision Bullard as an end in their base 3-4 defense who's capable of moving inside in passing situations.
Asked what NFL teams liked about him during the pre-draft process, Bullard said: "They like my physicality and my get-off. I'm still going to have fight, I'm a motor guy. I'm going to give you all I've got every play I'm out there. They liked how I just came out and played and kind of stepped into the leadership role at Florida my last year."
Bullard has trained with Bears first-round pick Leonard Floyd, an outside linebacker from Georgia, and is eager to team with him in Chicago.
"He was a cool guy when we trained," Bullard said. "We talked every day, seeing each other lift in the same area. And he's an SEC guy, so I know he's a physical tough guy. I'm just excited for us to come in young and try to help out any way we can right away."