LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears weren’t through with controversy after Day 1 of the NFL draft.
Following a stunning trade to move up and select quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 on Thursday, the Bears traded down in Round 2 with Arizona on Friday night and selected Division II tight end Adam Shaheen.
Taking such a player so high in the draft didn’t seem as risky to Bears general manager Ryan Pace as it might to others.
“Any small school player we watch, we really want to see him dominate the level of competition and this guy definitely did that,” Pace said.
Shaheen, a 6-foot-6, 278-pound junior, initially accepted a scholarship to play basketball at Pittsburgh-Johnstown, but transferred to Ashland and put on almost 60 pounds to walk on as a football player for the Ohio school.
“To put on that kind of weight and still maintain my athleticism, it was a good grind for two years,” Shaheen said.
Last season, Shaheen set a Division II record with 16 touchdown catches. Shaheen finished his career with 129 catches for 1,755 yards and 26 TDs. Shaheen said he made the decision to switch sports after watching an Ohio State-Wisconsin game.
“I just really missed football,” Shaheen said. “I didn’t have much opportunity to play football coming out of high school because I was so thin. But I had a bug in me after watching the Ohio State game.”
Bears tight end Zach Miller went on injured reserve late last season with a foot injury. The Bears in free agency signed Dolphins tight end Dion Sims.
Shaheen’s basketball background may have been a factor in the Bears’ interest. Pace had been involved while working with the New Orleans personnel department when former basketball player Jimmy Graham was drafted, and Graham had been a basketball player.
“You can feel his basketball background, his ability to go up and high-point balls in a crowd,” Pace said. “Just a good combination of size and strength and speed after the catch.”
The Bears dealt the 36th pick of the draft and their seventh-round pick for the Cardinals’ second-round pick. They also got Arizona’s fourth-rounder and sixth-rounder this year, as well as a fourth-round pick next year, after giving up three picks on Thursday to move up one spot to draft Trubisky at No. 2.
“Going into tonight one of the goals was we had some options to acquire talent but also get some draft picks back,” Pace said. “That was one our goals. We were able to drop back nine spots and get multiple picks. And basically, when you look at it, it equated to giving up a little bit more than a third-round pick in our trade yesterday for Mitch. So we felt good about that.”
Chicago came into the second round with numerous perceived needs at safety and cornerback and it remains an area to look at when the draft wraps up Saturday. The Bears haven’t had more than one interception from a safety since 2014 and last year tied for next to last in the NFL with eight interceptions.
The Bears will enter the final day with four picks: two in the fourth round and one each in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Shaheen was introduced by former Bears center Jay Hilgenberg and Katie Foster of Rockford, Illinois, a gymnast who lost a leg to leukemia at 12.
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