Friday, April 12, 2013
Bears host local Pro Day
By Jeff Dickerson
Almost 50 players worked out of the Chicago Bears on Friday as part of the club's annual local Pro Day.
Included in the group was former Northern Illinois cornerback Rashaan Melvin, who is expected to make the rounds to 10 NFL teams, either with an official visit or private workouts, before the league prohibits teams from hosting draft eligible players after Wednesday.
Two members of the Bears organization were on hand at Northern Illinois' Pro Day on March 8 when Melvin reportedly had one of the top workouts. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound defensive back broke up a school record 17 passes during the Huskies' memorable 2012 season that ended with a trip to the Orange Bowl. Melvin, a four-year starter, finished his career in DeKalb with six interceptions.
Former Northern Illinois defensive ends Sean Progar and Alan Baxter were also in attendance Friday at the Walter Payton Center, as was former University of Illinois defensive back Supo Sanni.
Progar and Baxter have drawn interest from about five NFL teams, while Sanni is trying to impress scouts after battling through injuries during most of his time in Champaign.
The local Pro Day is generally geared toward potential late-round draft choices or undrafted free agents, but former Illini offensive tackle Jeff Allen attended the event last year and would up being selected by the Kanas City Chiefs in the second round with the No. 44 overall selection.
Another player at the workout last spring was Carmel High School graduate tight end Sean McGrath, who went on to sign a free-agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks and eventually got bumped up to their 53-man roster later in the season.
Teams are only allowed to host a certain amount of players on pre-draft visits, but Friday's local Pro Day does not count toward that number. However, only players who attended high school or college in the area are allowed to participate in the event.
In addition to the team's assistant coaches and members of the personnel department, Bears general manager Phil Emery and coach March Trestmen were on hand for the local Pro Day, according to the Bears official website. The event is closed to the media.