Combine Performances on Offense for Bears to Note
The Bears went into the combine with general manager Ryan Pace admitting to the team's interest on offense, especially at tight end.
The interest on the offensive line is apparent through all the talk of how they need new offensive line coach Juan Castillo to get their guys motivated again.
After cutting Taylor Gabriel, they had an obvious need for speed among their receiver corps.
"There's some depth there that we like," Ryan Pace responded when asked about the need to fill in for both Gabriel and former Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara. "But we'll explore other avenues to increase competition there as well."
It doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement for Riley Ridley or Javon Wims, but they weren't added to the roster to be the speedy Z receiver type like Gabriel was.
The combine produced a few surprises that will give the Bears a reason to pause for thought.
Here were the combine highlights and low lights on the offensive side as they pertained to a possible Bears pick in the second round or later.
The Alabama-then-Oklahoma quarterback displayed a far greater array of passes than he got to put forth with Oklahoma or even in Alabama. During passing drills he dropped deep passes on a dime with perfect loft, which wasn't always apparent in his games with the Sooners. The 4.59-second 40-yard dash and the 10-foot-5 broad jump only confirmed the athletic ability he's already shown.
Hurts' game film will be critical so teams can see how he is reading and understanding defenses. He definitely would have to remain in the mix for the Bears with one of their two second-round picks.
Forget it. If there was any hope of the Bears trading up to the end of Round 1 to nab Utah State's quarterback, it went out the window with the big arm he displayed while being more athletic than he often showed in games. He's going up higher into Round 1 and waving good-bye to the later half of it.
He said coming to Chicago would be like going home because of Ridley and Wims and Roquan Smith being with the Bears. He showed a nice touch on the ball but definitely had one of the weaker arms in passing drills. He's definitely not the athletic type of quarterback after a 5.01-second time in the 40, but this doesn't mean he won't be successful. Using a second-round pick on him might be a stretch, though.
Not rated too highly heading into the combine, he only helped himself by proving far more athletic than many realized. He ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash and put the arm on display with some powerful throws.
He probably didn't help his cause with a workout or the on-field drills, but in his case his strengths are hard to measure in drills. His quick release and ability to deliver it quickly from numerous arm angles and off his back foot if need be isn't part of any drill.
There's no doubt he disappointed with his 4.47-second 40-yard dash. That's not the type of speed he showed in games at TCU. The time was only tied for 15th among wide receivers. However, he showed something else few could have anticipated for a receiver shorter than 6 feet. He pulled off a ridiculous 42-inch vertical leap. That sounds like a cornerback, not a receiver.
With the Bears hoping to see some receiver speed that might be there in Round 2, Hamler couldn't run at all due to injury. This was disappointing considering he could have separated from Reagor.
Aiyuk was solid with his 40-time of 4.5, and his 40-inch vertical leap made it clear he can be the athlete capable of going up for passes as well as running deep routes. He is the speed receiver who can get downfield on a short pass or go deep. He averaged 18.3 yards a catch at Arizona State and is rated the seventh-best receiver available by Mel Kiper, which carries along a second-round pick status.
Notre Dame's wide receiver wasn't expected to be extremely fast but was far better than anticipated with a 4.42-second 40.
At 6-4, 238 pounds, it immediately set off sirens about how he might be able to play the U-tight end spot in an offense like the Bears run. He's the same weight as Trey Burton, but much faster and 2 inches taller. And remember, Burton added about 13 or 14 pounds after he was in the NFL. Todd McShay of ESPN had a great statistic on Claypool. He's the first receiver since Megatron (2003) to weigh at least 235 pounds and run a time under 4.45. What about D.K. Metcalf? Metcalf weighed 229.
Southern Missisippi's 6-foot, 185-pound receiver was a bit of a question coming in but a 4.35-second 40-yard dash definitely made people sit up and take notice. He had been rated a Day 3 receiver and this could boost his stock.
Baylor's 6-3, 207-pound receiver not only has nice size, but came through with one of the best overall workouts. He ran the three-cone drill in 6.66 seconds, the best among receivers. A 4.38-second 40, 16 reps in the bench, 38.5 inches in the vertical leap and 131 inches in the broad jump sounds like he should be training for the Olympic Decathlon in Tokyo. Mims hadn't made it anywhere near the Kiper top 10 receiver list. Some people will be looking more closely at both Mims and Watkins now.
He told everyone he'd love to play for the Bears, his hometown team. Yet the 4.7 40, his overall athleticism and the great size (6-6, 262) and vertical leap (37 inches) made it clear he is a candidate for first-round selection and probably beyond the reach of the Bears.
Already being watched closely by the Bears, it won't change after a 4.66 time in the 40, 21 reps on the bench and a 4.28-second time in the 20-yard shuttle. He didn't display questionable hands in drills, which was the knock he had. Did he show he's a mismatch maker like the Bears want? It's debatable. But he did prove better than almost all the others in a weak class of tight ends.
The Vanderbilt tight end was someone the Bears talked to at all-star games but had a horrendous day on the field in drills and his 4.96-second 40 speed was an extreme disappointment.
The Dayton Flyer's size stood out as ideal at 6-5, 255 and a 4.8 in the 40 was a little higher than had been hoped. However, the three-cone drill might be more relevant than the 40 for tight ends and he ran the best three-cone time of all tight ends at 6.78. Linemen
The Bears have history under Ryan Pace of coveting quicker offensive linemen. Boise State tackle Ezra Cleveland stands 6-6, 311 and came in at a time of 4.93 for the 40, the third-fastest time among blockers. Better yet, he had the fastest three-cone drill at 7.26 and No. 1 in the 20-yard shuttle at 4.46. He'd been regarded as somewhat of a middle round pick before but definitely is ascending.
The Bears had already talked with Temple's guard/center. He ran a 7.45 three-cone drill, second fastest among offensive linemen. He had the second-fastest 20-yard shuttle at 4.6.
The Michigan tackle/guard who has played for Bears line coach Juan Castillo jolted everyone with the third-best three-cone drill at 7.57 seconds. He's been regarded as a Day 3 pick or undrafted free agent. This didn't hurt his cause.
Here we go with Pace and his small-school prospects. The Bears talked to this Division III lineman from St. John's in Minnesota. He earned notoriety at the combine for putting on the weight needed to stand out by drinking a smoothie every morning made of the following: seven eggs, a big tub of cottage cheese, quick grits, peanut butter, banana and Gatorade. If they acquire him, they need to send him to Jenn Gibson, their nutritionist.
The Kentucky guard had talked to the Bears but didn't have an overly impressive combine. Blocking is more important than combines for linemen, and there is a shortage of this going on with the Bears on the offensive line at the moment.