When former University of South Florida defensive tackle Terrell McClain arrived at the school's pro day yesterday, it's unclear whether he knew he was about to be put through a workout by one of the top defensive line coaches in the NFL. Yet there was Bears' defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, ready to test the prospect's skills.
"He's a high intense coach. He's gonna get you tired. He just wants to see what you're made of," McClain said after the workout. "They look to see if they can crack you."
If that wasn't enough pressure, McClain also had to perform under the scrutinizing eyes of coach Lovie Smith. Both Chicago coaches wanted to get an up close look at a prospect assumed by many as a second-round pick.
McClain was a first-team All-Big East selection, finishing 2010 with 24 tackles and three sacks. The three-year starter at USF posted a 4.98 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, and had 29 reps in the 225-pound bench press – both solid numbers at his position. His game is built on quickness – he posted 7.48 seconds in the three-cone drill, fifth best at the combine. His shuttle run (4.56 seconds) was also solid.
DT Terrell McClain
The 6-2, 297-pounder is a pure 3-technique tackle. He has a great first step and quickness off the ball, and excels at getting one-gap pressure. He can consistently beat reach blocks and moves well down the line on running plays. Against the run, he shows good closing burst and can be a big hitter.
His athleticism is very attractive to NFL teams but there are questions about his effort. He has an all-day motor and doesn't seem to where down late in games, but he's often been cited for taking plays off. He doesn't have elite pass-rushing moves either.
This is the type of player who, under the tutelage of Marinelli, could be a valued member of the defensive tackle rotation. He's a bit raw but has the physical tools to perform at a high level in the NFL.
Chicago would be very happy to see McClain fall to them in the second round, yet his performance at the combine has him moving up into high-second-round territory. If the Bears don't feel comfortable with the players available to them at 29th overall, McClain is the type of player the team could grab if they choose to trade out of the first round and into the early second.
The other prospect Smith and Co. showed up to see is cornerback Mistral Raymond. At 6-2, 192-pounds, Raymond has the perfect size to play in Chicago's Cover 2. He ran a 4.50 40-yard dash, which is good for a defensive back of his size.
He spent two years at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa before walking on at USF in 2008. By 2010, he was named a co-captain of the defense. He was a second-team All-Big East selection last year, tallying 56 tackles, 7 passes defended and an interception form the cornerback spot. In 2009, he played safety, giving him the added versatility NFL teams look for.
Having fought his way from junior college to being a walk on and now a potential NFL draft pick, he's demonstrated some impressive determination. Additionally, his leadership ability in becoming a team captain shows a lot of character.
He has size, speed and experience playing two positions in the defensive secondary. These are some of the reasons the Bears will be bringing Raymond in for an exclusive workout on April 7-8. If he adds to his pro-day performance with a notable individual session, Chicago may give him a look in the fifth or sixth round.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.