Role unclear for CB Moore

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears bolstered their depth at cornerback with their fifth-round pick Saturday, adding Joshua Moore of Kansas State.

A junior who declared early for the draft, Moore impressed Bears secondary coach Jon Hoke with a knack for performing his best in Kansas State's most important games. It's unclear where Moore fits among the club's current group of corners.

But there's a chance Moore could find a role in some of the Bears' substitution packages.

"When he was playing big teams, he played extremely well," Hoke said. "He definitely has a skill set that we're excited to work with. For the guys we have, he's a little further along in man [coverage] skills for the most part."

Despite being somewhat undersized (5 foot 11, 188 pounds), Moore actually ranked second in tackles (64) for Kansas State last season, picked off two passes and broke up a team-high 13 passes. Moore was named honorable mention all-Big 12 for two consecutive years (2008 and 2009).

Moore said he left school early to improve his family's financial situation.

"I'd just had a kid," Moore said. "Scholarship money wasn't enough to take care of me and my family. So I decided to come out."

Hoke said that Moore would have to improve his upper-body strength to become an effective player in the NFL. Moore benched 222 pounds just twice at the NFL combine. Moore also appears to lack top-end speed (4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash).

Despite those limitations, scouts around the league raved about Moore's fluidity, and quickness. But some questioned whether Moore is dedicated enough to put in the work required for a successful transition to the pro game.

"I know I can work hard. I know that was a big question on me coming into this," Moore said. "I know I have to come in and get into the weight room and work way harder than what I did before."

It's likely that most of Moore's contributions as a rookie would come on special teams or the club's substitution packages as a nickel or dime defender.

"He's a junior coming out," Hoke said. "So he's a younger guy. He gives you a little bit of a different guy [than the corners currently on the roster]. Man coverage is a hard thing to teach from college to the NFL. He does have very good man instincts, route feel."

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.