Bears in Attendance: Purdue
In building his coaching staff from scratch, Bears head coach Marc Trestman called upon coaches from all over the football landscape. He pulled coordinators from other NFL teams, brought coaches with him from the CFL and even snagged two coaches from the collegiate ranks, including linebackers coach Tim Tibesar.
Prior to joining the Bears, Tibesar spent the 2012 season as defensive coordinator at Purdue. So when the Boilermakers held their pro day in early March, it was no surprise that Chicago had representatives on hand.
Purdue Workouts of Note
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The Bears have been very busy in free agency shoring up the club's biggest positions of need, including tight end, offensive line and linebacker. One position that remains uncertain is defensive tackle. The club franchised Pro Bowler Henry Melton, who signed his tender last week, yet that only guarantees he'll stay in Chicago for one more season. Beyond that, his franchise tag salary becomes unfeasible, meaning he'll surely bolt to the highest bidder next offseason, unless the two sides can work out a long-term deal before then. Stephen Paea is set at nose tackle but, beyond the starters, Chicago has nothing but question marks at DT.
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As such, defensive tackle is likely a priority for the Bears in this year's draft. If Emery wants to spend a first- or second-round pick on the position, Kawann Short enters the discussion of potential early round selections.
Short was a four-year starter for the Boilermakers who picked up six sacks in each of the past three campaigns. He was a two-time team captain who played both defensive end and tackle in college, yet projects as a DT in the pros.
He's a very talented player who has the potential to be a quality 3-technique tackle in Chicago's 4-3 system. He has quickness, strong hands and long arms, allowing him to create and keep separation from blockers. Short's biggest question marks are his motivation and dedication to the game. He's soft in the middle and needs to get leaner and stronger up top. He also takes a lot of plays off, especially when he's tired.
Yet the potential for Short is there. If the Bears feel they can maximize his talents, they'll give him consideration in the second round.
Josh Johnson is a late-round corner Chicago could also be targeting. He doesn't have starter size, so he projects best as a nickelback. He's ultra confident, yet his small frame will limit him. The Bears signed Kelvin Hayden to be the team's nickel corner again this season, but it's only a one-year deal. Johnson, despite his size, has the potential to be a late-round steal due to his aggressiveness, athleticism and moxie.
In last year's draft, Emery selected a pure kick returner with the team's final pick, TCU's Greg McCoy, and has not attempted to hide his love for stocking kick returners. Under that criteria, Akeem Shavers becomes a potential seventh-round selection for the Bears. As you can see in the chart above, Shavers was clocked in the 4.3s for his 40-yard dash. That type of speed gets a player noticed.
He was a running back in college but some scouts worked him out as a defensive back at the pro day. He may have to make a position switch to play in the pros. With his speed, Shavers will get a shot as a return man as well. If that transition goes smoothly, he'll have a role in the NFL.
Bears Not in Attendance: North Carolina
UNC has a pair of early round prospects in this year's draft: G Jonathan Cooper and DT Sylvester Williams. Cooper is expected to come off the board in the Top 10-15, which puts him out of Chicago's range. Williams (6-3, 313) is a potential second-round selection. He's a pure nose tackle who won't offer much as a pass rusher. Apparently he's of no interest to the Bears, who already have Paea and Nate Collins at nose tackle.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.