Monday, April 15, 2013
Source: Missouri's Gooden to visit Bears
By Jeff Dickerson
CHICAGO -- Former University of Missouri outside linebacker Zaviar Gooden is scheduled to visit the Chicago Bears on Monday, according to a league source.
Gooden tested well at the NFL Combine where he ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.47) among linebackers and is projected to be a third-round or fourth-round pick by several draft analysts.
He told the St. Louis-Post Dispatch at Missouri's Pro Day in early March that he had workouts scheduled with the Bears, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns.
A hamstring injury caused Gooden's numbers to dip his senior season, but he was considered one of the top playmakers on the Tigers' defense in 2010 and 2011, finishing his Missouri career with 256 tackles, 20.0 tackles-for-loss and five interceptions.
Gooden appears to have the athleticism and playmaking ability to be a weakside linebacker on the NFL level, although he could be asked to be a two-down strong side linebacker.
Gooden is one of several linebackers known to be on the Bears' draft radar. The club recently brought in Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and Kansas State's Arthur Brown for pre-draft visits after signing veterans D.J. Williams and James Anderson in free agency.
The Bears experienced turnover in the linebacker position this offseason when the organization broke off contract talks with eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher a couple of days after former starting strong side linebacker Nick Roach agreed to a lucrative four-year contract with the Oakland Raiders.