3 observations as Bears put pads on

Jeffery and Fuller compete hard during 1-on-1 drills

BOURBONNAIS — With Marc Trestman's Bears putting on the pads for the first time this season Sunday, competitive one-on-one drills took the stage as the marquee event.

After watching the session, here are three observations that stood out with rookie defenders getting a taste of the speed and physicality of a true NFL practice and one veteran coming back from injury.

Alshon Jeffery vs. Kyle Fuller

The competition was exactly what you should expect on the first day of full gear.

These guys competed hard during one-on-one drills at the line of scrimmage and throughout the route stem, with the rookie cornerback consistently challenging Jeffery from a press-man alignment.

This allows Fuller to work on his technique (hand placement, footwork to slide laterally with the release, speed at the break) versus a receiver in Jeffery that continues to impress me with his route running and overall movement skills.

Think of this as part of the development process for Fuller against the size and skill set of Jeffery on the 9 (fade) route, the deep intermediate cuts (dig, post) and the quick game (slant, hitch) from the three-step drop.

That's tough work for a rookie and there were times on Sunday when Fuller was beat.

However, it provides the Bears' first-round pick with the opportunity to use his length while building on his technique against one of the best young receivers in the game.

Rookie defensive tackles on display

Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton bring different styles to the defensive front when looking at their abilities to rush the passer.

Ferguson is going to use power and lower body strength to press out and drive back interior offensive lineman, while Sutton leans on his quickness off the ball to generate leverage or use counter moves.

On Sunday, both rookies showed some flashes, but overall, they need work when competing against veteran offensive linemen that know how to set their base in order to win at the point of attack.

That was evident when guard Matt Slauson swallowed up Sutton coming off the ball as the rookie failed to disengage on contact.

I'm interested to see how these two rookies develop throughout camp and the preseason as this is just a starting point. Plus, we have to remember that every practice provides Ferguson and Sutton with quality tape to study as they compete against proven NFL talent.

Questions on safety Adrian Wilson

Wilson looks the part of a downhill, physical safety because of his impressive frame (6-foot-3, 230 pounds), but does the 34-year-old veteran still have the necessary speed and explosion required to make plays on the ball after missing last season with Achilles and hamstring injuries?

The former Pro Bowler understands leverage, he can play top down from his Cover-2 landmark and he knows how to practice like a pro in terms of alignment and responsibility in the secondary.

However, when watching Wilson, I didn't see that extra gear — or burst — that allows safeties to get off the numbers in Cover-2 or transition versus the throw as an underneath defender in three-deep coverage.

For Wilson, the live, competitive environments provided by the preseason schedule will give the coaching staff a much better feel for his speed and ability.

Until then, it is going to be tough to truly grade out the veteran that once set the bar for production and physicality at the strong safety position.

Special contributor Matt Bowen spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. He covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.

Twitter @MattBowen41