How Current Chicago Bears Performed at NFL Combine

Gene Chamberlain

The Bears were looking at a player whose position seemed a mystery to some teams until he got to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Then Brian Urlacher ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash and bench-pressed 225 pounds 27 times, better than any inside linebacker prospect.

The rest is history, but the measuring and timing doesn't always turn out the way a team wants.

Kevin White ran the fourth fastest 40 time among wide receivers at 4.35 seconds, tied for first in bench-press reps with 23 and had the ninth-longest broad jump of 123 inches.

White became Ryan Pace's first draft pick and in 2018 White was gone. His photo is on the long list of NFL draft busts.

You also have to actually be able to play football, and the scouts have to determine this before they do anything with a stop watch or a tape measure.

When Khalil Mack came into the draft out of Buffalo in 2014, he posted excellent all-around numbers. He could have pretty much skipped the event because the film told everyone all they needed to know on Mack.

The current Bears are made up almost entirely of players the Ryan Pace regime scouted, but not all of them are players he drafted. Some put up gawdy numbers at the combine and some disappointed.

Here's a look at how the current Bears did when they were trying to get into the NFL

Quarterback

People still wonder what Pace saw in Mitchell Trubisky to take him over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Among other things, believe it or not, he was a better athlete than Mahomes and every bit as good as Watson. Trubisky ran the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash in 4.67 seconds in 2017 and Watson beat him by .01 seconds, while Mahomes ran a mystifying 4.8. Trubisky had the second-fastest three-cone drill of all quarterbacks (6.87 seconds). Mahomes and Watson were third and fifth. All scouts attach great significance to the three-cone drill, although maybe not as much at quarterback

Offensive Line 

There are some distinct trends in how Pace has picked offensive linemen, and people who like big, physical tough guys might find it disturbing.

Pace likes faster, athletic linemen but not necessarily strong guys.

Cody Whitehair did only 16 reps in the bench, next to last among all linemen in 2016. And Charles Leno Jr. did 21 reps in the bench, which was tied for 28th and last among tackles.

However, Leno kind of earned a 2014 combine phenom title because at 6-3, 307 he ran a 4.4-second shuttle drill which was No. 1 among tackles. And he tied for eighth in the three-cone drill at 7.57. He also tied for fifth in the broad jump at 108 inches.

Whitehair is about the same size, 6-3, 309, and had similar success running in 2016 by finishing third in the three-cone drill (7.32) and eighth in the shuttle (4.58). His 40-yard dash time of 5.02 was sixth among linemen at every position. He also was sixth in the broad jump at 110 inches, tied with Washington Redskin Joe Thuney.

The same emphasis on quickness occurred when they drafted James Daniels. He finished with the second fastest three-cone drill time (7.29) and No. 1 shuttle time (7.08) but didn't run the 40. He also had the sixth-best vertical leap (30 1/2). Daniels was 21st among linemen in the bench press with 21 reps.

Running Back

Tarik Cohen wasn't a combine star, but his 40 time sure didn't hurt. The Bears already knew all about him. Cohen ran the third-fastest 40 time among backs in 2017 (4.42). His vertical leap wasn't so great at 31 1/2 inches, 19th best, and he tied for 25th with 11 reps in the bench press. He never ran the three-cone drill or the shuttle.

David Montgomery impressed few at the combine. It took game film for this. Montgomery's vertical leap was only 28 1/2 inches, 23rd and last among backs who tested. That's not exactly soaring for a back who was supposed to be a good receiver. His 15 reps in the bench press tied for 22nd, next to last. He did score better with a 121-inch broad jump, 11th best.

Tight End

Adam Shaheen outperformed at the combine and it may have served to verify what the Bears saw of him on those Division II films, when he dominated players lacking the talent to play against him. Shaheen tied for first among tight ends in the bench press at 24 reps, and finished seventh in the broad jump (121 inches), three-cone drill (7.09) and shuttle (4.38). As a Y tight end, he wasn't expected to be fastest and wasn't, posting a 4.79-second 40, 12th fastest of 15 who timed. His vertical leap was 32 1/2 inches, 10th overall.

Trey Burton was only 6-2, 224 coming out of Florida and smaller than some wide receivers. He once scored six touchdowns in a game for the Gators. At the combine, when his stats were matched up against tight ends he was dominant. He ran a 4.62-second 40, fifth fastest among tight ends. He had the second fastest three-cone time and fourth-fastest shuttle. He has since gained almost 15 pounds since he tested in 2014.

Wide Receivers

Allen Robinson's combine effort shouldn't surprise anyone. His 4.6-second 40 was slow, 40th among receivers. But his broad jump and vertical leap showed what the Jaguars and later Bears would be getting. Robinson was third in the broad jump at 127 inches and eighth at 39 inches in the vertical leap.

Anthony Miller in 2018 had an injury and couldn't run the 40, but he did bench press. He might not look like the strongest guy but he was second overall among receivers with 22 reps in the bench. The only one who beat him was Karaun White, Kevin's brother. Karaun White went undrafted.

Neither Javon Wims nor Riley Ridley impressed with their speed at the combine. Wims ran 4.53 for 21st and in 2019 Ridley was 30th in 4.58, but what was surprising for Ridley was how poorly he tested in jumps for a player who was supposed to dominate in the 50/50 balls. His vertical leap was only 30 1/2 inches, 40th best. And his broad jump was 124 inches, 13th best.

The combine only served to solidify Cordarrelle Patterson's legend as a jack of all trades and expert in none. He tested out well in virtually everything. His 4.42-second 40-yard dash was seventh. He was sixth with a 37-inch vertical leap, which seems wasted because he rarely goes vertical for many catches. And his broad jump off 128 inches was sixth best.

Linebackers

Speed means everything here and both Roquan Smith and Leonard Floyd were combine stars, starting with the 40-yard dash.

Smith ran the second-fastest 40 time in 2018 among inside linebackers at 4.51 seconds. Floyd had the eighth-fastest 40 time among outside linebackers, edge rushers and defensive ends with 4.6 seconds. Floyd also had the third-highest vertical leap at 39 1/2 inches and the fourth-best broad jump at 127 inches.

While the Bears didn't draft Mack, his performance has to be pointed out. He ran a 4.65, which was seventh for edge players. His vertical leap was 40 inches, which was second behind Ryan Shazier's 42 inches. And he was fourth in the broad jump at 128 inches.

Defensive Line

Akiem Hicks was drafted by the Saints when Pace was there and his playing level didn't show up in his total testing, and nose tackle Eddie Goldman had somewhat similar numbers as Hicks. They both ran 5.28 in the 40. They both were athletic and competed but the numbers didn't stack up to the way they play.

In Bilal Nichols, they have a different type of player. He excelled running and lifting. Nichols had the second fastest time among defensive tackles and nose tackles at 4.95 seconds, while tying for eighth in the bench press with 29 reps.

Defensive Backs

Kyle Fuller's overall athletic ability was apparent with the eighth best vertical leap at 38 1/2 inches, third-best broad jump of 128 inches and 11th best three-cone (6.9) and shuttle (4.19). He ran a 4.49-second 40.

Prince Amukamara's first-round status was stamped at the combine with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, the fifth fastest among cornerbacks. He had a 38-inch vertical leap, which was sixth. He also had the second-best broad jump (128).

Safety Eddie Jackson was rehabbing a leg injury and only lifted, doing 10 reps in the bench press.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

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