- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Cornerback figures to be an area of need for the Chicago Bears when the NFL draft rolls around late next month.
With the club already down at least one cornerback with D.J. Moore signing with the Carolina Panthers coupled with the uncertain status of free agent Kelvin Hayden, the Bears could stand to benefit from adding a younger player or two to the secondary. It's also worth mentioning that Pro Bowlers Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are each entering the final year of their respective contracts.
One draft prospect to monitor is former Miami Hurricanes cornerback Brandon McGee, whom the Bears recently put through a private workout on the Miami campus.
McGee, who started 24 straight games to close out his collegiate career, is viewed by some analysts as a potential mid-round pick. He had a strong showing at the East-West Shrine Game in January after he tallied 54 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass break ups his senior season at Miami.
"The feedback during this whole process has definitely been positive," McGee said. "I felt like I had good practices leading up to the East-West Shrine Game. I showed the coaches and the scouts I can be physical, always compete and give great effort."
The 5-foot-11, 193-pound McGee said he was slightly disappointed by his 4.40 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, but McGee rated highly in several other drills during his time in Indianapolis. A native of Plantation, Fla., McGee is being trained by Pete Bommarito and his staff in South Florida, a group that is works with many NFL players every offseason.
Regarded as the Hurricane's top cornerback last year, McGee has ample experience lining up inside at the nickelback position, a role he could be asked to play in the NFL.
"Absolutely, (I can see myself being an NFL nickelback)," McGee said. "Going into the NFL you have to be open to that because it only adds to your value. Playing nickelback demands a lot more thinking. The successful nickelbacks are the smart ones. It's not easy playing inside. For example, Charles Woodson was one of the greatest when the Green Bay Packers used to line him up inside over the slot. That's the kind of guy I would try to model my game after."
Draft projections are an inexact science, but if McGee is chosen by the Bears next month, he'll already have at least one acquaintance on the team: three-time Pro Bowl return man Devin Hester, who himself played cornerback for the Canes.
"Yes, I know Devin Hester," McGee said. "He's a great guy, a great athlete and family man. Just an all-around good guy from what I know."