Chicago Bears defensive backs coach Gill Byrd was drafted 22nd overall in the 1983 draft. He played college ball at San Jose State and knows what it's like trying to break into the NFL coming out of a low-profile school. So it was fitting he was on hand for Southern Illinois' pro day to get an up-close look at cornerback Korey Lindsey.
Lindsey was named AP first-team All American both his junior and senior seasons – only the third Saluki in program history to earn the honor two years in a row. He was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, given annually to the most outstanding defensive player in the FCS. He tallied 13 interceptions as a three-year starter in Carbondale.
Byrd was on hand on March 8 for Northwestern's pro day, where Lindsey (5-10, 189-pounds) originally worked out. Yet he pulled his hamstring on his second 40-yard dash (4.51 seconds) and could not participate in the rest of the drills. Last week's SIU pro day was supposed to be his chance to show his potential to NFL scouts, of which 10 teams were in attendance, yet he again tweaked his hamstring and could not complete the workout. He did finish a few drills – a 4.33-second short shuttle, a 7.11 mark in the three-cone drill and 10 reps in the bench press – all of which were poor times for his position.
CB Korey Lindsey
Byrd and the Bears are now left wondering how much his hamstring issues affected his numbers. They'll be forced to evaluate him solely on tape, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Lindsey is a ball hawk on film, racking up six interceptions in both his sophomore and senior seasons. Teams didn't throw his way as often last season, yet he still led the MVFC in passes defended.
Lindsey is the son of a coach who shows good discipline on the field. In zone coverage he has great instincts and reacts quickly to passes thrown in his area. He flashes the ability to make diving catches. He has plenty of experience playing the position. He's a leader on the field and a great teammate.
Yet he won't get drafted based on those aspects alone. Lindsey does not have ideal size for an NFL corner, especially one who plays in Lovie Smith's system. He'll need to add about 10-15 pounds. Because of that, he often gets beat on jump balls by taller receivers. Additionally, while he's aggressive in the run game, he can get run over by bigger runners and blockers. He only has moderate speed and below-average strength.
For all these reasons, Lindsey needed to impress at his pro day. He had two shots at it but couldn't show NFL teams much due to the hamstring pulls. Considered a mid-round pick coming out of college, he most likely has fallen into the sixth or seventh round.
Jerry Angelo has a record of drafting talented players who fall in the draft due to injury. On tape, Lindsey is a player. His metrics aren't eye popping but the kid is talented, experienced and disciplined. He can play in the NFL.
The Bears could be in line to grab him if he falls to the sixth. If he is not drafted, expect Chicago to invite him to training camp.
Other NFL teams on hand for SIU's pro day: New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons.
Pouncey talks with Tice
Many NFL analysts believe former Florida G/C Mike Pouncey would make a great fit for the Bears and fill one of the teams most-pressing needs. He's a mauler with ideal size (6-5, 303-pounds) that could play any of the three interior-line positions. His twin brother, Maurkice, was a Pro Bowl center for the Pittsburgh Steelers in his rookie season last year.
The Bears sent offensive line coach Mike Tice to Florida's pro day a few weeks ago. According to Pouncey, Tice issued him a possible glimpse into his future.
"Coach Tice told me he'd see me at training camp," Pouncey said. "Well, we'll see what happens."
It's no secret the Bears would be thrilled to have Pouncey fall to them in the first round. Yet most experts feel he'll be gone before Chicago's 29th overall pick. While Tice could have been blowing smoke, it may mean the team is interested enough to trade up in the first round to grab him. It's a long shot, as Angelo isn't known for moving up in the first round. But it's not out of the realm of possibility, especially if the team feels he's the answer to its front-five issues.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.