Bears scouting tour: South Carolina

CB Stephon Gilmore (Nelson Chenault/USP)

The Bears had representatives on hand for the South Carolina pro day this week. Three potential first round picks worked out, including two that should be available to Chicago at 19 overall.

South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery chose not to participate in any of the drills at last month's NFL Scouting Combine. He waited until his pro day this week to show NFL scouts and coaches his potential as a receiver at the next level.

It turned out to be a smart move.

Jeffery admittedly played at more than 230 pounds his senior year, when he caught just 49 passes for 762 yards and eight touchdowns. Yet he weighed in at 213 pounds at his pro day, down from 216 at the combine, effectively erasing doubts about his weight.

The 6-3 wideout, considered a borderline first round pick, then ran the 40-yard dash, clocking in at around 4.5 seconds. His 36.5 vertical jump and 10-2 broad jump were average and would not have ranked him in the top 10 amongst wide receivers at the combine.


WR Alshon Jeffery
Douglas Jones/US Presswire

Jeffery also looked good in his positional workout, yet most prospects do.

The fast 40 time quells some of the concerns about Jeffery's ability to separate from defenders. He definitely has the size and jumping ability to be a downfield threat but if he can't create space out of his breaks, he'll be just another Mike Williams.

The Bears addressed the need for a big wideout this offseason yet are still in the market for a player to pair with Brandon Marshall. Recent news that Johnny Knox may not play in 2012 only exacerbates Chicago's need for another pass catcher. Jeffery could be that player.

Also working out at the Gamecocks' pro day was cornerback Stephon Gilmore, another potential first round selection. Gilmore (6-0, 190) ran a 4.40 at the combine, third best amongst all defensive backs.

At his pro day, Gilmore stood on his combine numbers but did participate in secondary drills. His stock is soaring and some have him pegged as the second best corner in the draft behind LSU's Morris Claiborne, a potential top five pick.

Gilmore possesses an ideal blend of size, speed and man cover ability, and would provide a needed boost to Chicago's secondary. If Bears reps liked what they saw out of him this week, he could be a realistic option for the team in the first round.

Also on hand was DE Melvin Ingram, whose pass rush ability would fill a huge need for Chicago. Unfortunately, he's a consensus top 10 pick. The Bears will have to trade up if they want him.

Safety Antonio Allen also worked out. He cut his 4.67 40 time at the combine down to 4.55 at SC's pro day.

Allen (6-1, 210) played "rover" for the Gamecocks, which isn't a pure safety position. As such, many scouts question his ability to be a true strong safety at the next level. He's very strong against the run, which gives him immediate value in the pros. His ability in the box is very attractive. He's limited in coverage but has the athleticism to improve.

He's considered a third round prospect. The Bears may be wary of taking another strong safety, with both Major Wright and Craig Steltz on the roster. That said, Steltz is more of a special teams contributor and Wright is inconsistent and injury prone. Bringing in a big hitter like Allen would give the team some options on the back end.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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