Pro days for the NFL Draft’s top prospects often times can reaffirm what we know (or think we know) a player can do. On the other hand, there are times players simply go out to prove people wrong. Take Miami tight end David Njoku for example:
TE David Njoku going through blocking drills. pic.twitter.com/WUUDhCpdAK
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) March 29, 2017
Njoku’s pass catching skills are unquestioned, but concerns about his ability to be a two-way tight end have been front-and-center for some time. It’s a small snippet, but Njoku looks like a competent blocker.
CBS Sports has Njoku as the second-rated tight end in this class with a first-round grade. If he can be an adequate, willing blocker at the NFL level, his upside at the position would make him an ideal fit for any team looking to add an impact player to its roster.
As for some updates elsewhere in the pre-draft world.
- Over at DraftWire, Cole Thompson has circled four mid-round prospects for the Bears to pounce on in April’s draft. Utah safety Marcus Williams provides an alternative to drafting LSU’s Jamal Adams or Ohio State’s Malik Hooker with the third overall pick, or could be used as a complementary piece to drafting a safety high. Akhello Witherspoon is a cornerback from Colorado who Thompson projects to be a third-round pick. Because even after adding Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in free agency, the turnover in the Bears’ secondary is far from being complete. Tight end Adam Shaheen is one of those ultimate sleeper picks because of where he went to school (Div. II Ashland University in Ohio) but is a monster at 6-foot-6, 278 pounds. And receiver Jalen Robinette is the kind of receiver who could provide value in the fifth round. The Bears’ coaching staff got a look at him at the Senior Bowl, so it’s possible they came away impressed with the Air Force product.
- Chris Emma of CBS Chicago goes through what could be described as “fascinating” opportunities for the Bears with the third overall pick. And in the end, Emma’s first mock draft sends a familiar face to the Bears in Jonathan Allen. While picking a safety like Adams or Hooker is tempting, the lure of improving the front seven with a player of Allen’s ability might be too hard to pass up for the Bears.
- Over at Pro Football Weekly, Kevin Fishbain took his mock to the people, allowing his Twitter followers to make the pick on behalf of the Bears. As it turns out, LSU safety Jamal Adams was the people’s choice, getting 48 percent of the vote. Adams was followed by Stanford’s Solomon Thomas (26 percent), Alabama’s Jonathan Allen (19 percent), and Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore (7 percent). Bears fans who participated in the poll definitely saw a need for the team to draft an impact player on the defensive side of the ball.
- Adoree’ Jackson is a cornerback who could be on the Bears’ radar on draft weekend. A flexible cornerback who also stood out on special teams sat down with draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay and discussed his future. It’s an ESPN Insider story, so I won’t share too much, but Kiper sees Jackson as a top-50 pick who won’t get out of the second round. McShay sees his biggest weakness as a lack of recognition skills that affect him most in zone defense. At 5-10, Jackson might slide into a slot position where he can take advantage of his speed and athleticism while playing in man-to-man coverage.
- Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness breaks down the top-10 cornerbacks available in the upcoming draft, which is worth keeping an eye on considering the Bears’ need at that position – especially if Deiondre’ Hall is moved to safety. You’ll see some familiar names such as Lattimore and Jackson, but also some fringe prospects such as Teez Tabor. The two-time first-team All-SEC corner from Florida is confident in his abilities, but his stock is sliding after running some slow 40-yard-dash times.
- On the other side of the field, wide receiver Cooper Kupp – who was a receiver you should have noticed at the Senior Bowl – improved on his 40-yard-dash time.
- Talk has slowed on the Bears drafting a quarterback. And if the Bears settle on trying to find a developmental prospect, they could have some competition as several teams could target potential successors for future grooming in this draft. Must be nice to be in a position like that, especially for a quarterback prospect who has growing to do and needs time to develop.
- The Bears are pretty set at running back, but Eastern Illinois’ Devin Church ended his pro day workout with an interview with the Bears:
— Dan Verdun author (@DanVerdunAuthor) March 29, 2017