Talent on Tobacco Road
TE Eric Ebron ran the short shuttle in 4.57 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.49 seconds, two of the events at which he did not participate at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. Neither time is all that impressive, yet Ebron showed well as a route runner and pass catcher. He's considered a Top 15 pick due to his ability as a receiver but he's severely limited as an in-line blocker. As a result it's unlikely the Bears, who already have Martellus Bennett on the roster, will select Ebron at 14th overall. That said, if GM Phil Emery wants to propel Chicago's passing attack to the elite level, he'll shock Bears fans by selecting Ebron to pair with Bennett down the seams.
DE Kareem Martin stood on his numbers at the combine, which were some of the best at his position. He reportedly looked very good during positional drills. Martin has potential as a pass rusher but he's not very explosive and has a hard time disengaging. Yet as a run stopper, he has a lot of value at the next level. He'll likely be a second-day selection in this year's draft. The Bears, who signed four defensive ends in free agency, could give Martin consideration if they foresee Lamarr Houston as more of a defensive tackle.
C Russell Bodine also worked out. He's likely a third-day prospect, projected between Round 5-7. The Bears are in the market for Roberto Garza's long-term replacement, so they surely took a good look at Bodine, who stood on his numbers at the combine. Bodine led all combine participants with 42 reps in the bench press, so he has strength for days. He's not extremely athletic but Bodine is a powerful short-area blocker and a rugged competitor. Keep on eye on him as the draft moves into its later stages, as Bodine is a legitimate option for a team with a 35-year-old starting center.
Redbirds on Display
Two potential future NFL players worked out at Illinois State's pro day this week.
DT Colton Underwood (6-3, 255) is a late-round priority free agent. He led the Redbirds last season with 12 tackles for loss, seventh most in the Missouri Valley. Underwood is a two-time first-team All-MVFC honoree and was a finalist for the 2013 Buck Buchanon award. He's an undersized nose tackle, so he's a bit of a tweener, yet he was very productive in college and looked good during positional drills. If he goes undrafted, expect the Bears to give the Illinois native an invite to rookie minicamp.
OT Josh Aladenoye (6-5, 326) is another potential undrafted free agent with mammoth size. He transferred from Oklahoma following his junior year and has experience at both right and left tackle. He's a developmental prospect whose size and girth could be attractive to the Bears following the draft.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. 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.