Quick Quotes: Day 1 Draft Picks

OT Chris Williams (Stan Jones/Vandy Mania)

The Chicago Bears will be pumping fresh blood into the roster this weekend, as the NFL Draft means 11 new Midway Monsters soon to be making their way to the Windy City. Beth Gorr is on the scene at Halas Hall, talking with each selection right after he hears his name called. What do they have to say?

General manager Jerry Angelo on Matt Forte
We like this player. Everything about this kid indicates he will be able to do well here. Forte comes from a program under a very creative coach, Bob Toledo, who was able to showcase Matt's talents well. Sylvester Croom, the head coach at Mississippi State, told us that Matt was integral to the success of Tulane's offense. You had to stop Matt first to shut them down. He's quick, and he can make people miss. ...

He seems to be the kind of a back who can be in there for every down. That's been a weakness on our team the past year. Our offense hasn't posed much of a threat, and we're out to change that perception. ...

Character also enters into this. Both Matt and Chris are exemplary in that respect. Adding their talent into that mix is a plus. ...

This will create some good competition at the running back position. He won't be coming in and becoming the starter, but he will add strength. In terms of Cedric, he made progress last season then he broke his ankle. We need to be sure at that position, and in that sense Forte will give us some depth. The shelf life of a running back isn't good overall. That wasn't the deciding factor, but having extra manpower at running back is a good thing for us. ...

Head coach Lovie Smith on Matt Forte
Offensive line and running back were two positions we had our eye on going into this draft. If I had known when I woke up this morning that we would get two top quality players at these positions, I would have known that it was going to be a good day for us. ...

Matt was very productive at Tulane and had an excellent workout at the combine. His 40 time was particularly good. ...

The more research we did on him, the better we felt about the way he would fit into our program. His speed, his size and his ability to make people miss were all positives. ...

This does not reflect on Cedric, Garrett or Adrian directly, but it will add some competition. Our goal all along has been to add as many good players to our team as possible. We want to have the best 53 players we can get. Our feeling certainly is that the addition of Matt to our team will make us better.

Matt Forte after being selected by the Bears
I'm happy to be a part of the Chicago Bears. They have a long history of strong players at my position. My hope is to add to that history and to become as good as they have been. ...

I have a very strong work ethic. Both my father and my brother were players at Tulane, and they have told me that nothing good comes easy. You have to work for what you want. ...

I felt that nationally I wasn't getting too much press before the combine. My goal was to show the coaches what I was able to do and hopefully make an impression. I welcome competition. I'm used to it, and I think I do well in that kind of a situation. I want to show that I not only can play in this league, but that I can play well. ...

The Bears need backs who can be in there for every down. They need somebody who can stay on the field and get things done. I think my production in the Senior Bowl and the combine show that, in this sense, I will do well for the Bears.

General manager Jerry Angelo on Chris Williams
We feel that we filled our need for a left tackle with this pick in the draft. This year was one of the best ever as far as fine offensive tackles were concerned. This particular choice is something we discussed at length, and we all feel very good about the selection of Chris. Lovie visited him personally during the offseason, so we all feel we know Chris as well as we could know any of the players. ...

Chris is passionate about the game of football. He's very intelligent. IQ at his position has a tremendous impact in a player's overall ability. At the combine, we checked his medical situation thoroughly and feel comfortable with that. It was clear to us that, of the players available, he was our best option. ...

We were surprised how many defensive players were chosen earlier. That left a deeper pool for us to fill our needs. From those who remained, we felt that Chris had the least red flags in terms of future development. ...

We did consider moving down in the picks, but if we had lost Chris doing that it would not have turned out as well. We would not have been in as good a position as we are right now.

Head coach Lovie Smith on Chris Williams
I had the chance to spend some time with Chris and was very impressed at what a quality person he is. He has the potential to be a very good player for us in the future. ...

Chris is what I would call a serious player. He comes from a strong family environment, where the value of education has been stressed. I believe he is driven to become one of the very best players at his position eventually. It was clear when we met that he saw himself as a Bear. I saw him as a Bear, as well. ...

When training camp begins, Chris will start at the bottom as all rookies do. But we feel he should be able to progress well. He's a quick learner. At Vanderbilt he played with a few different quarterbacks, so we know he picks things up and can adjust to different situations. We see him as a pass blocker. I think most offensive tackles you talk to would say they see themselves that way, as well Our system is characterized as running off the bus, and we feel he is strong in run blocking as well. He knows what we do and feels he can fit in.

Chris Williams after being selected by the Bears
It's great to be a Bear. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to play for a team with so much tradition. In fact, just thinking about this, I'd say I'm almost speechless because I'm so excited. ...

Lovie Smith is a great guy and a great coach. I am definitely looking forward to the chance to play for him. ...

I am confident in my ability to help fill a need for the team. I don't think any team would waste a first-round pick on a player they didn't feel could help them out. I plan to play just as I always have, with intensity. ...

I have always thought the game is bigger than any individual player. To me, having a fight on the field is simply a lack of discipline. That is how we play at Vanderbilt. I don't believe in getting into personal altercations. I'll let my play stand on its own in terms of my dedication and my intensity. ...

Communication with the other offensive linemen on the Bears will be important. Getting into sync with them will be one of my top priorities. It shouldn't be a problem. ...

I was glad to have been picked in the first round, and I am thrilled to be coming to Chicago. When Denver passed on me, my first thought was that when I face that team, I plan to show them by my play that maybe they should have considered drafting me.

Beth Gorr has been covering the Chicago Bears for seven years and is the Author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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