Several Senior Bowl players stepped up immediately to be noticed by Bears OC Luke Getsy at practices.
If you think you're going to read reports across the internet of players meeting with specific teams at the Senior Bowl this week, and in particular the Bears, then guess again.
Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy took care of that type of thing very early on in the week by informing one and all that everyone in Mobile, Ala. meets with everyone else.
Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is head coach for the American team while linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi and assisant tight ends coach Tim Zetts are also on his American staff. Special teams assistant Carlos Polk is an assistant for the National team.
So the Bears are getting close-up looks at the talent on hand.
Here are some players who have caught attention from observers the first few days and should be on Bears radar at possible need positions.
What will need to be ascertained is which players stand out and few players impressed reporters and observers at the Senior Bowl practices this week more, so far, than Michigan State receiver Jayden Reed.
With defensive line expected to be a real focus for the Bears early in the draft, Reed could be exactly what they're looking for later as a speedy slot receiver who is 5-foot-10 1/2, 191 pounds.
A receiver coming across the middle, constantly open if the downfield targets are covered could save wear and tear on Justin Fields by keeping him from running so often.
Despite not being an X-type receiver, Reed averaged an impressive 14.1 yards per reception over a career that started for one year at Western Michigan and then carried over to the Spartans. There was no real dropoff in his production going from a MAC team to a Big Ten team, as he averaged 14.2 yards with the Broncos and 14.1 in the Big Ten for three years.
Reed's quick moves off the ball and out of cuts were heralded in several drills.
The consensus number from NFL Mock Draft Database for Reed is Day 3 pick at 143 for a team looking for slot help. After his start, he's gone a long way toward convincing people that's a little too late to expect he'll be available.
RT Dawand Jones
The Bears definitely are in need of a right tackle considering Riley Reiff is a free agent at age 34 and Larry Borom become an all-purpose player who could back up at about every position in the future.
Ohio State's Dawand Jones was the talk of the Senior Bowl even before doing any hitting. The 6-foot-8 defensive tackle came in a bit heavier than anticipated at 375, but his wing span was 89 1/2 inches. It's the biggest wingspan of anyone in Senior Bowl history. He also has 11 3/8-inch hands.
And if there were concerns about his quickness because of his extreme size, observers say he alleviated those in drills by using his long arms with big hands to quickly steer pass rushers or run defenders aside. He's not on Getsy's team but they'll be looking closely at him.
OL Cody Mauch
One of the strengths teams look for in players is versatility and they're seeing it from Cody Mauch, the North Dakota State tackle. He moved to left guard and looked right at home in using his strength in drills.
Mauch is one of the more colorful players on the line at Mobile, with his tough guy personality and hockey player look—he's missing front teeth.
You don't need teeth to hit and Mauch was proving himself in Tuesday's drills.
Another lineman who is not on Getsy's team but will get close scrutiny.
CB Julius Brents
Kansas State's Julius Brents is on Getsy's team at the Senior Bowl. Brents was not necessarily projected to stand out in the Senior Bowl one-on-one drills because he comes to the NFL from a scheme where he played mostly zone on the outside. However, he impressed many at Tuesday's drills with an ability to stick one-on-one with receivers. Don't expect Brents to flop in measurables at the combine. The Iowa transfer will have home-field advantage because he played high school ball in Indianapolis.
According to NFL Draft Bible, Brents was said to have done 39-3 in a vertical leap measurement during high school and this would have been third at last year's combine for cornerbacks.
At the Senior Bowl, his measurements first attracted scouts who love a tall cornerback. At 6-foot-3, 202 pounds, he has an 82 7/8-inch wingspan, which is freakish unless your name is Dawand Jones and you're an offensive tackle or are playing defensive end.
One other thing scouts like about him that won't be apparent until Saturday in the game is one of his strengths is defending the run and screens.
With the Bears still short one quality cornerback starter, and with Jaylon Johnson having missed three games as a rookie, two in 2021 and five last year, it's apparent you can never have enough good cornerbacks. The Bears could use someone of Brents' skill level at some point in the draft.
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