Rookie roundup: Bush, Hall, Houston-Carson making an impact

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Rookie cornerback Deon Bush (26) , a fourth-round draft pick, has made a good first impression at Bears training camp (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

BOURBONNAIS — A week into his first training camp in the NFL and all we really know about Bears first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd is that he was raised right.

“Every time he says, ‘Sir,’ I’m like, ‘Listen, I’m not even 40 — I don’t want to be called sir all the damn time,’” Bears outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt said. “But he is a legitimately respectful, humble kid. He has an excellent work ethic to him.”

And even though Floyd looks like a nice, polite kid with a lot to learn and a long way to go, Hurtt insists he’s seen another side to the 6-4, 240-pound rookie from Georgia — a demeanor more in line with the devastating pass rusher the Bears expect him to become.

“He does have a nasty side, a nasty streak to him, which I absolutely love,” Hurtt said. “I’m excited for the kid. I think he has an unbelievable future. So that has not changed.”

So far, the expectations for Floyd this season have been defined only by his draft status — the Bears traded up two spots to select the outside linebacker from Georgia ninth overall in the NFL draft. Since then, the Bears have been careful not to expect too much too soon. And none of that has changed since camp opened.

A flu-like bug and a sore shoulder have limited Floyd to three full practices in the first week. And even when he’s out there he looks like a player who is starting from scratch. There’s a reason why the Bears have been careful not to oversell Floyd as an impact player this season.

“We still have some development to go. I’m not going to put that on the kid right now,” Hurtt said. “His play will speak for itself when it’s time to get out there. But he’s doing the necessary things to develop and be ready for that role when the time comes.”

Those “necessary things” are all pretty basic, an indication of just how far Floyd has to go. “Still working on shedding blocks,” Hurtt said. “Skill ability in pass rush. He’s got an excellent get-off [and] excellent burst to close. But he’s still got to refine what he’s doing with his hands.”

Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, not prone to gushing, likes what he sees.

“He’s on his way. He’s not there yet,” Fangio said. “He’s a little behind where he should be [because of the illness and injury]. But I’m confident he can get there.”

Hurtt said he already has seen signs that Floyd can use his speed to develop a power move.

“We actually had an excellent one [Wednesday] with his speed rush,” Hurtt said. “His speed is able to make tackles turn their shoulder pads and when that happens they get their feet crossed over. That’s what sets up the power rush, because if a player doesn’t have a base undeneath him, he can transition to power.

“So it’s not always about how much the guy bench presses, but how much explosion can he generate off one step; how quickly can he get a foot in the ground and re-direct into a tackle and the guy gets his shoulder pads turned and his feet crossed. He had a great one on that.”

As for that unseen edginess, a lot of people will have to see that to believe it.

“He’s had some scrappiness,” Hurtt said. “Things have happened at some practices … I’ve seen him have an edge to himself. You don’t take the field looking to fist fight. But when you see things get out of line or a player may not do something fof how we practice … I like the response.”

Floyd is the centerpiece of the 2016 draft class that — along with defensive tackle Eddie Goldman and safety Adrian Amos from 2015 — is a big part of the foundation of the Ryan Pace era. Six of the nine players drafted are on defense. Here’s a look at first impressions of the others:

DE Jonathan Bullard (third round)

Like Floyd, Bullard hasn’t made a big impact so far in camp, but could work his way into the rotation at defensive end as a rookie.

“He’s not quite the size that [Goldman or Akiem Hicks] are, but he’s got a little more quickness,” Fangio said. “He’s a guy that we hope can be in our mix and rotation and play a fair amount in eveyr game, just filling in.”

LB Nick Kwietkoski (fourth round)

Though likely ticketed for special teams after the Bears fortified the inside linebacker position in the offseason, the 6-2, 242-pound Kwietkoski was making progress before suffering a hamstring injury. The Bears like his versatility and ability to learn quickly. 

“When we were just starting in the preseason he was starting to make strides in the run game and in coverage,” linebackers coach Glenn Pires said. “Now we’ll just have to get him caught up.”

CB Deon Bush (fourth round)

He came in with a reputation as a big hitter, but has impressed the Bears with his coverage ability.

“His range is as good as I’ve ever been around in my career. Impressive range — I did not expect that from him,” assistant secondary coach Sam Garnes said. “On tape, I knew he was quick and fast, but I did not know he had all that range. Now let’s see how far he’ll go.”

CB Deiondre Hall (fourth round)

Even in the first week of camp, the 6-2, 201-pound Hall has realized how much his size and length can help him at the NFL level. He’s got a long way to go, but his physical attributes could shorten the learning curve.

“D-Hall — his rules are little different because his arms are so long,” Garnes said. “His length should be such a strength of his that he should not be working so hard at the line.”

S DeAndre Houston-Carson (sixth round)

His nine blocked kicks at William & Mary have him pegged for a special teams role, but he also has shown potential to be a contributor on defense as a rookie, according to Garnes.

“Houston-Carson is not a throw-in. Remember I said that,” Garnes said. “[He’s] well-rounded. Not a jack of all trades. He’s trying to be a king of all trades. He’s really good. You tell him something once, you watch tape and you see him do it.”

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