Bears in Attendance: Iowa
The Chicago Bears were one of 20 NFL teams on hand for the University of Iowa pro day last week. Only one former Hawkeye is certain to be drafted yet a couple of players could make quality undrafted-free-agent options for the Bears.
DB Micah Hyde (6-0, 197) Projected: 6th round Hyde was a four-year starter for Iowa, playing mainly cornerback, with short stints at safety. He struggles in man coverage, which is why most NFL teams project him as a safety or nickel zone corner. His biggest strength is in run support, where he plays physical and is a sure tackler.
Hyde isn't an amazing athlete and did not set the world on fire at the combine. His 4.56 40-yard dash means he'll struggle to keep pace with speedy NFL wideouts. But his aggressive and physical style of play could help him develop into an in-the-box safety. At minimum, it should make Hyde a quality special-teams player, the type the Bears typically look for in the later rounds.
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
C James Ferentz (6-1, 289) Projected: 7th-UFA
Ferentz is the son of former Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. He started the last 38 consecutive games of his career and was named second-team All-Big Ten his senior season. He's a small player for the position and has worked hard to put on weight. He's a scrappy lineman who was a team leader for the Hawkeyes. He's a fringe NFL athlete but his experience and leadership could be attractive to the Bears if Ferentz goes undrafted.
QB James Vandenberg (6-3, 225) Projected: UFA
Vandenberg turned some heads during his pro day workout, when he completed 51-52 passes. A two-year captain for the Hawkeyes, Vandenberg needed a strong pro day after a senior season that saw him fall off draft boards. He threw 25 touchdown passes in 2011, yet in 2012, Iowa's passing attack spiraled out of control, resulting in just 7 TD passes for Vandenberg, compared to 8 INTs. His miserable 2012 season means he'll likely go undrafted. Chicago already has one developmental QB on the roster, Matt Blanchard, but having seen Vandenburg up close they may invite him to camp as an additional competitor for the team's No. 3 quarterback position.
Bears Not in Attendance: Clemson
|Player||Pos.||Height||Weight||Old 40||Pro Day 40||Bench||Vert||Broad||Proj. Round|
The Bears are in the market for a slot receiver to compete with Earl Bennett, who has been a disappointment the past two seasons. Clemson had two receivers on display at the school's pro day. DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best pass catchers in this class. He's a polished wideout with great hands whom many scouts consider a fringe first-round selection. Jaron Brown put on a show during his workout, looking great in the agility drills and posting a 40 time in the 4.40 range. He's a late-round project with a lot of potential.
Defensive end Malliciah Goodman is a powerful run-stopping defense end. He has an ideal body frame for a 4-3 DE but must develop more of a pass rush. Under some quality NFL coaching, he could turn into a mid-round steal.
Yet, since the Bears were the only team not to show up at Clemons' Pro Day – all 31 other NFL clubs sent a representative to the workout – it doesn't appear any of these players are destined to land in Chicago next season.
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.