March 8, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri State Pro Day at Plaster Field proved to be successful as five NFL teams sent representatives to evaluate six former Bears and three others chasing their professional dreams Friday morning.
A pair of MSU seniors, Randy Richards and Matt Thayer, turned in standout performances, according to Bears assistant coach Sean Coughlin. Former Bears James Caine, Nate Davis, Jason Fitch and Jermaine Saffold, as well as players from Evangel and Missouri S&T were also evaluated.
“I thought both Richards and Thayer performed really well,” Coughlin stated. “All of our guys understand that this may be their one shot, and I feel like everybody came out and represented Missouri State well today.”
Scouts from the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers evaluated the pro hopefuls in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, shuttle run, three-cone drills, position skill tests and other speed drills after an early-morning evaluations in the weight room.
The NFL Pro Day series puts NFL staffs on the road throughout the month of March to scout talent up close and personal on college campuses. The evaluative events give NFL Combine participants an opportunity to improve their times and marks, while providing a venue for under-the-radar players to demonstrate their skills and make a name for themselves prior to the April 25-27 Draft and subsequent free agent signings.
The Bears held their inaugural Pro Day in 2010 when All-America tight end Clay Harbor improved on his NFL Combine time in the 40-yard dash and parlayed his on-campus performance into a fourth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2011, offensive lineman David Arkin upped his stock at Pro Day and jumped to a fourth-round selection by the Dallas Cowboys on draft day. Four other former Bears -- Saffold (Browns), Kolby Hurt (Saints), Jake Duron (Jets) and Chris Douglas (Bills) -- all turned enough heads at Plaster Field over the last two years to garner NFL free agent contracts with their respective clubs. Saffold, in particular, spent the 2012 NFL Preseason with the Browns after putting together a solid performance at last year’s Pro Day and agreeing to a free agent deal last April.
Coach Terry Allen expects 41 lettermen and 72 squad members to return when the Bears open spring drills in two weeks. Missouri State's annual Maroon and White spring game is slated for April 20 at 1 p.m.