The collegiate pro day circuit is picking up steam after two weeks and the Chicago Bears have been busy.
Here are the visits I can confirm Bears representatives have attended:
First-Round Pass Rushers
The Bears have attended many workouts that include high- and mid-round pass rushers. Outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt was on hand for the pro days of Kentucky OLB Alvin Dupree (6-4, 269) and Louisville OLB Lorenzo Mauldin (6-4, 259), first- and third-round prospects respectively.
Dupree had a stellar combine (4.56 40-yard dash, 42-inch vertical) and only participated in positional drills at his pro day. The Bears also met with Dupree at the combine.
In addition, the club sent scouting director Marty Barrett to Clemson’s pro day to see Vic Beasley (6-3, 246), who also sat on his stellar combine workout (4.53 40-yard dash, 35 bench-press reps, 42-inch vertical) and was fluid in open-field drills at his pro day. If Beasley falls to 7th overall, which is highly questionable at this point, the Bears may run to the podium to select him.
Chicago also had a sit down with Toledo S/LB Junior Sylvestre (5-11). He’s undersized but extremely athletic and powerful. He played outside linebacker in college but some see him as a safety at the next level. He ran a 4.50.
Finding Marshall’s Replacement
Wide receivers coach Mike Groh attended pro days at Alabama, where he coached from 2011-2012, and West Virginia.
Also at the Alabama pro day was Barrett, who along with Groh got an up-close look at Kevin White (6-3, 215), a Top 10 pick in this year’s draft. White did very little at his pro day after destroying the combine (4.35 40-yard dash).
This opened the door for his teammate, Mario Alford (5-8, 180), who ran a 4.28 40-yard dash, up from 4.43 at the combine. Alford caught 65 passes for 945 yards last season and led the Mountaineers in TD grabs (11). He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and could be great value in the sixth or seventh round.
At Alabama, Cooper looked outstanding in his positional drills, catching the ball very well.
With Brandon Marshall in New York, the Bears are in need of a big young target to complement Alshon Jeffery. If Cooper or White fall to No. 7, don’t be surprised if GM Ryan Pace pulls the trigger on one of these elite pass catchers.
At the Auburn pro day, the Bears were on hand to see WR Sammie Coates (6-1, 212). During his pro day and combine workouts, Coates showed good hands, which could alleviate some of the concerns about his dependability as a pass catcher. He caught 10 of 11 passes of more than 20 yards during his workout.
At Kansas State’s pro day, Chicago got a look at WR Tyler Lockett (5-11, 181), a potential third-round option. He had a strong workout and showed excellent quickness, which will benefit him at slot receiver in the NFL. He ran a 4.40 at the combine.
Grasu (6-3, 297) is a lock for the second round. He’s a fluid athlete who will fit well in a zone system. He didn’t work out at the combine due to ankle injury. At his pro day, he ran a 5.01 40-yard dash and had a 4.20 short-shuttle time, which would have easily been tops at the combine among offensive linemen.
Dismukes (6-3, 296) stood on his combine numbers, which were decent but not great. If he falls to the third round as most expect, he’ll be a long-term center option for the Bears.
Chicago also watched the workout of Kansas State C B.J. Finney (6-4, 318). Finney is a wide body many believe could play guard at the next level. While a bit stiff and slow, Finney is a tough, durable, experienced interior offensive lineman who can maul in the run game.
Late-Round Ball Carriers
The Bears viewed Louisville RB Dominique Brown’s workout. The fifth-round prospect also met with team reps at the East-West Shrine game, so there’s interest there.
The Bears were also on hand for the workout of West Virginia RB Dreamius Smith (5-11, 217). He said he has a private workout scheduled with the Bears and five other teams. Smith could be a priority free-agent addition.
Obviously, Chicago wants to add talent at the running back position. If Pace is willing to part with a third-round pick, Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon jumps into the conversation. The Bears got an up-close look at Yeldon during his pro day, where he ran a 4.52 and caught the ball very well out of the backfield.
The Bears sent QB coach Dowell Loggains to see the workout of Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. A reported 100 NFL representatives were on hand for the Ducks’ workout.
Mariota did not look great during his drills, during which he took snaps almost exclusively under center. He proved he needs more polish and may not be ready to captain a pro-style offense next season.
Luckily (or un-luckily?) the Bears have Jay Cutler and wouldn’t need Mariota under center right away.
High on McKinney
Chicago is in desperate need of a play-making, take-charge inside linebacker to spearhead Vic Fangio’s defense.
McKinney is expected to come off the board early in the second round. If he falls to the Bears at 39th overall, expect Pace to give strong consideration to one of the best downhill linebackers in this class.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.