Three Cats drafted, three more sign deals
Wade one of three drafted
Wade one of three drafted

Posted Apr 28, 2003


The smoke cleared on the NBA Draft and when it was all said and done three Wildcats were drafted. It is a better showing than last year when zero Arizona players heard their name called. Of the three, only Lance Briggs was selected on the first day of the draft.

The Chicago Bears were responsible for drafting two of the three Wildcats. In addition to taking Lance Briggs in the third round, the Bears snatched up Bobby Wade in the fifth.

All indication has Briggs coming in and competing for a starting sport right away. The Bears employ a 4-3 and could use the speedy Briggs at weakside linebacker. Briggs indicated that he expects to learn all three linebacker spots, but feels that outside backer will be his main role.

“Built for the weak side though his playing style dictates middle linebacker,” said the TFY Draft Preview. “Tough, hard working linebacker who chases around the field to make plays. Intelligent and quickly picks up assignments, playing with a good degree of discipline.”

Two rounds later the Bears scooped up Wade. Overall he was the 139th player selected, going a little later than some originally thought. Wade has seen his stock rise in some expert’s eyes, and several draft analysts had him as a first day player.

The Bears have a need for some wide receiver depth with the loss of Marcus Robinson to free agency. Marty Booker is the clear No. 1 wideout and David Terrell has shown flashes of becoming the player that the Bears thought they were drafting two years ago. In addition to Wade the Bears grabbed wide receiver Justin Gage of Missouri with the 143rd pick.

“He’s a natural receiver with an exceptional feel for the game,” said the TFY Draft Preview. “Solid route runner who displays quickness out of his breaks, gets separation from defenders and comes back to the ball, making himself an available target for the quarterback.”

Offensive lineman Makoa Freitas was the final Wildcat selected. Indianapolis chose him in the sixth round. Freitas played both guard and tackle in college and that versatility could land him on the Colts’ roster.

“(Too) short to be a weak side tackle and not dominant enough for a run blocking guard,” said the TFY Draft Preview. “Approach to the game and understanding of the position gives him an outside shot to make a two deep at the next level.”

Three other Wildcats inked free agent deals immediately after the draft.

Quarterback Jason Johnson signed with the Buffalo Bills and could have a good shot at latching on. The Bills have just two veteran quarterbacks under contract and Johnson could contend for the third quarterback spot.

Linebacker Ray Wells signed with San Francisco. Wells will get a look at both linebacker and safety and has a great shot to make the club as a special teams performer. Former Wildcat special teams coach Larry Mac Duff is the special teams coach there and knows what Wells can do. He was All-Conference this past season for his special teams play.

David Hinton played well in the post season all-star games and inked a deal with Philadelphia.

Tight End James Hugo and defensive tackle Young Thompson were still weighing offers as of Sunday night.

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ILB Lance Briggs (profile)
OT Makoa Freitas (profile)
QB Jason Johnson (profile)
WR Bobby Wade (profile)
LB Ray Wells (profile)
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