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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears quickly filled their roster void created by the expected retirement of defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis on Thursday by signing veteran defensive end Jamaal Anderson.
The eighth overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft by Atlanta, Anderson was selected by the Falcons when Bears general manager Phil Emery served with the club as its director of college scouting. Anderson started 48 of 77 career games played with the Falcons (2007-10), Colts (2011) and Bengals (2012), with whom he played just two contests before missing the rest of the season because of a quadriceps injury.
Anderson has 132 career tackles, 7½ sacks (with just 4½ coming over four years with the Falcons), 10 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
The club listed Anderson as a defensive lineman when announcing the move through a press release, which means he'll likely kick inside to defensive tackle, where Ellis' departure created a void at the position. Anderson, 27, has been a defensive end for the majority of his career but has logged experience inside as a tackle.
That's likely where he'll play with the Bears. The players on the depth chart behind starters Henry Melton and Stephen Paea lack extensive experience. Nate Collins and Corvey Irvin have played in NFL games but are the only experienced backups on the roster at defensive tackle.
"As far as I see it, we need a lot of help," Paea said Thursday afternoon. "I think Nate Collins and some of our other guys on the defensive line are going to have to help us out. It's still going to be a competition on the line."
The hope is that Anderson significantly adds to that.
"We have a lot of guys competing," defensive end Corey Wootton said. "Aston Whiteside is a guy who stepped up, put on some size coming from defensive end to defensive tackle, and Nate Collins has been doing a great job in there playing both the 3 [technique] and the nose. They've been moving me inside a little bit for pass-rushing situations. I think we're just trying to get the best four rushers out there all at once."