Notebook: Smith heads to Georgia

Lovie Smith was at Georgia Tech's pro day today to get a closer look at a potential draft pick. We also discuss the pro days of Georgia and Illinois, as well as a possible Rex Grossman reunion.

Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith was in attendance today for Georgia Tech's pro day. It's likely Smith was there to get a closer look at wide receiver Stephen Hill.

Hill (6-3, 215) was a combine standout, running the fastest 40-yard dash of any receiver (4.36). He led all wideouts with an 11-4 broad jump and ranked fourth with a 39.5-inch vertical jump. He showed great quickness in the three-cone drill (6.88 seconds) and 60-yard dash (11.43 seconds) – both Top 10 times amongst receivers.

Heading into Indianapolis, Hill was considered a third round pick but his performance at the combine has him teetering on the edge of the first round.

Despite his ideal blend of size, speed and athleticism, Hill is very raw. He caught just 28 passes in Tech's run-heavy system, running a highly simplified route tree. His route running needs polish and it's unclear whether he'll be able to beat press coverage in the pros. He's a project that likely won't become an every down player for at least a few years, if ever. Yet he'll be a quality deep threat from Day 1.

Bear Report broke down the film of Hill here.

WR Stephen Hill
Scott Cunningham/Getty

He didn't run the 40-yard dash at today's pro day, choosing instead to run a series of short and intermediate routes. He was looking to show pro scouts he's a complete receiver and not just a straight-line burner.

"I was getting in and out of the breaks pretty fast, but I just want to get faster," he told Larry Hartstein of CBS. "I want to show I can do great things other than just running deep routes."

The Bears are in serious need of help at wide receiver. Down the line, Hill might be able to develop into a quality target for Jay Cutler. Yet that won't happen for a few years at least. Which is why it's hard to justify using the team's first round pick – 19th overall – on a player in need of such work.

If Hill falls to Chicago in the second round, he's a slam dunk. But first round picks are expected to produce right away, something Hill won't be able to offer. One thing is for sure, after today, Smith has a much better idea of what the Bears would be getting in this prospect.

Bears no shows at UGA pro day

All but two NFL teams sent representatives to Georgia's pro day yesterday. The Cowboys and Bears were the only teams not in attendance.

This is interesting because OL Cordy Glenn is considered a potential selection for Chicago in the first round. A tackle in college, Glenn is projected as a guard at the next level. He was outstanding at the combine and many believe he's a quality option in the top half of the first round. He didn't run at his pro day but reportedly looked good in his workout.

The Bears either aren't interested in Glenn or are throwing up a smoke screen, trying to hide the team's desire to draft him. Usually though, a club likes to get an up-close look at the player in which they plan on selecting in the first round. Team reps attended Gabe Carimi's pro day in Madison last offseason.

With no one on hand in Athens, the Bears didn't get a look at Orson Charles either, one of the top tight end prospects in the country. Charles was disappointing in his workout and could fall into the third round.

Chicago apparently didn't think much of Charles or have no interest in drafting a tight end this year. Take from it what you will.

Illinois workout

DE Whitney Mercilus
Brian Spurlock/US Presswire

The Fighting Illini held their pro day today. There were representatives from 29 teams on hand. Pro scout James Kirkland represented the Bears, as the college scouts were tied up in draft meetings.

One of the biggest names out of Illinois is DE Whitney Mercilus, another potential first-round selection for Chicago. According to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, Mercilus was very impressive in his workouts.

He improved his short-shuttle time to 4.49 (from 4.53 at the combine) and he improved his three-cone drill to 7.03 (from 7.17 at the combine).

According to Pompei:

"Mercilus looked quick and explosive in pass-rush drills and created a buzz among scouts with how well he did in outside linebacker drills. Three scouts remarked about how smooth and fluid Mercilus looked in his drops, and Mercilus even showed good hands."

View his full scouting report here.

Grossman reunion?

Last season's failed Caleb Hanie experiment demonstrated the need for a quality backup in Chicago. The Bears liked what Josh McCown was able to do but the soon-to-be 33-year-old may not be the best option going forward.

A number of names are being thrown out as possible backups to Jay Cutler next season. One of those is former Bears QB Rex Grossman. Grossman helped guide the team to only it's second Super Bowl appearance in 2006, yet most fans remember better the inconsistencies, injuries and turnovers that led to his eventual release two seasons later.

New Bears general manager Phil Emery was a scout in Chicago when the team selected Grossman in the first round of the 2003 draft. Emery played a part in scouting and recommending Grossman at the time. He may still hold some fondness for the former Florida Gator, particularly as a potential backup at a veteran minimum salary.

Grossman spent the last two seasons in Washington. He started 13 games last year, completing 57.9 percent of his passes, while throwing 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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