Washington: Bears brought me here to rush

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
10:06
AM ET
Chicago Bears sixth-round pick Cornelius Washington didn't arrive at rookie minicamp under any false pretenses.

[+] EnlargeCornelius Washington
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhDefensive coordinator Mel Tucker was impressed by Cornelius Washington's speed during rookie minicamp.
"They brought me here to rush (the quarterback), so I'm going to hone my skills at that," Washington said.

"I'm going to get great at it."

Sixth-round draft choices are not guaranteed a spot on the Bears' 53-man roster -- 2012 sixth-rounder, cornerback Isaiah Frey, failed to make the final cut last year before resurfacing on the practice squad -- but a defense can never have enough quality pass rushers.

That fact alone makes Washington, an outside 3-4 linebacker at Georgia, a player to keep an eye on over the summer, even though the 6-foot-4, 265-pound rookie recorded just 10.5 career sacks in college.

Washington got off to a slow start to rookie minicamp due to travel-related dehydration issues, however his play picked up once he got the proper fluids in his system after the first day.

Quarterbacks are never live at practice, but Washington said he received positive feedback from the coaching staff for his ability to push back the tight end and set the edge.

"He looks athletic," Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "He looks like he can rush a little bit. He only knows one speed and that's full speed -- whether it's a walkthru or whatever. He's a fun guy to coach. He was better on Saturday than he was on Friday, so he's a guy that improves coaching and things like that.

"I think he has some upside. We'll see. We'll take it one day at a time with him, but the arrow is up so far with him."

Barring a rash of injuries on the Bears' defensive line, Washington's best bet to make an impact as a rookie is to convince the coaching staff he can be an effective situational pass rusher, similar to how the club used former first-round pick Shea McClellin last year.

"I just (want to give) effort," Washington said. "Effort is the one thing you can't coach. That's the one thing I'm going to give a whole lot of every play. I'm going to do my best. I'm certainly going to come out here and work hard every day and earn the respect of my teammates. One thing I've been hearing a lot is that these veteran guys and a bunch of smart guys and I want to earn their respect. I'm going to do what it takes and I'm going to do what the coaches ask me to.

"If that means I play a situational role, that's what it means."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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