Saturday was maybe the most important day of the weekend, as far as Bears fans were concerned. It was the day for the workouts for players, at arguably the Bears biggest need, to take the field and run through drills.
While there is no huge potential number one receiver that the Bears will be looking at in the top ten, there is a ton of talent that will come off the board between the second and fourth rounds of the draft next month. Saturday was the day for the group of second-tier receivers to separate and potentially move into play for the Bears’ 39th overall pick.
The first receiver to separate himself was DJ Chark. Chark ran the fastest time of the day at 4.34 in the 40-yard dash. Most knew Chark would be among the fastest runners today, but he also had the best high jump and showed better than expected hands in the gauntlet drill. After 160 yards in the Senior Bowl, Chark is having the best postseason at his position. He has gone from likely 4th round pick to a realistic option at the top of the second round.
Maryland’s DJ Moore also had a pretty strong day. Moore ran a great time at 4.42, but maybe most important, he measured in at an even six-foot tall, making him more than just a potential slot receiver. His size, strength, and large hands make him a realistic option outside the numbers at the next level.
Christian Kirk also had a very good day. Though he’s probably not an outside receiver, Kirk confirmed that he’s not just a short area quickness guy. Kirk showed good long speed and confirmed the hands, route running and strength he showed at Texas A&M. He was smooth and explosive in all drills and cemented his spot as the top slot receiver in this draft and a potential first-round pick.
Other slot receivers who increased their stock on Saturday were Texas Tech’s Keke Coutee and SMU’s Trey Quinn. Coutee ran fast, caught everything and looked smooth running routes all day. Quinn displayed great hands and effortless route running.
The consensus number one receiver Calvin Ridley had an up and down day on Saturday. Ridley ran well enough at 4.43. However, his vertical and broad jumps left a lot to be desired for a sub 190 pounder. Ridley, though, looked as smooth running routes and catching the ball as he did in his three years as the number one receiver for Alabama. Ridley probably didn’t hurt his stock, but may have narrowed the gap between himself and the second receiver off the board.
It was also a mixed bag for the big receivers on day two in Indianapolis. This boasts a group of seven receivers over six-foot-three who were also looking to separate themselves from the pack. The top big receiver cemented his spot as the best of the big bodies by running a solid 4.55. Courtland Sutton caught the ball well and finished among the top in all of the agility drills. Sutton looks and moves very similar to ex-Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Auden Tate had a rough day on Saturday. Tate ran one of the slowest 40 times, was among the least explosive jumpers, and failed to do any of the agility drills. Tate probably hurt his stock a little at the combine.
The biggest riser of the wideouts was likely Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown. St. Brown broke the coveted 4.5 40-yard dash barrier for a big receiver. He also looked much better than expected running routes and catching the ball on Saturday. St. Brown is a long strider that has an intriguing skill set, but his numbers suffered this past season at Notre Dame.
Other notable bigs Marcel Ateman and Simmie Cobbs Jr. performed about as expected. Neither ran particularly fast, which is fine considering their playing styles. Ateman tracked the deep ball well in drills. Cobbs showed soft hands with little double catching of the ball.
The most interesting wideout workout of the day was from Florida’s Antonio Callaway. Callaway has a lot of fans in the scouting community for his on-field play. Callaway did not disappoint as he was maybe the most natural athlete of the wide receiver group, looking smooth as a route runner and running a perfect gauntlet drill. He looks like a first-round athlete, but his off-field is a complete mess, after having been arrested and suspended for the entire 2017 season. It’s doubtful that Ryan Pace takes a big character concern like Callaway, but if he can keep his head on straight, someone is getting a top 40 talent likely with a mid-third day pick.
At tight end, the story of the day was Mike Gesicki from Penn State. Gesicki finished in the 98th percentile in all athletic measures and generally looked great on Saturday. He probably solidified himself the first tight end off the board.
Ian Thomas is a potential Bears target, who they met with at the Senior Bowl. He put together a solid day in all drills and could be a mid-round developmental move tight end should the Bears look to get a receiving backup for Adam Shaheen.
For the quarterback group, no need to talk about the top five. The Bears aren’t going to take an early round signal caller. Of the potential developmental mid-round picks, Kyle Lauletta, Logan Woodside, and Mike White had solid showings. Lauletta doesn’t have the biggest rm, but is extremely accurate. White throws with anticipation and decent velocity. Woodside is the best athlete of the trio with some bulldog to his game. All could be final day options in the draft for the Bears.
(Photo Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)