By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — A look at the top 20 NFL Draft prospects that could be on the Bears’ radar, based on projected availability, position of need and player skill:
CB Jason Verrett, TCU
Hand: 9 1/4
Arm: 30 5/8
College Career: Three-year starter at TCU began his college career at Santa Rose Junior College because of a lack of scholarship offers out of high school. Burst on the scene in 2012 with six interceptions and 16 pass breakups. Still managed two interceptions and 14 breakups as a senior despite fewer balls being thrown his way.
Strengths: Gritty, physical cornerback who gets his hands on receivers immediately in man coverage. Great leaping ability and ball skills. Athleticism allows him to play bigger than his size. Good footwork. Changes directions fluidly and possesses great recovery speed. Supportive against the run. No questioning his toughness after playing two games with a torn meniscus in 2012 and most of the 2013 season with a torn labrum.
Weaknesses: Lacks the size to match up against bigger NFL receivers. Doesn’t always win at the line of scrimmage and relies on his recovery speed too much. Didn’t score a touchdown at TCU. Has had surgery on both knees (arthroscopic on left knee) and just had his labrum repaired in March.
Bears Outlook: Given his size, Verrett’s ceiling in the NFL is becoming a very good No. 2 cornerback, much like Tim Jennings. But the Bears just gave Jennings a long-term extension, and they need to find someone to replace Charles Tillman — in other words, someone who can match up against Calvin Johnson. Verrett is probably not that guy, which is why he’s not a good fit for the Bears at No. 14 overall. However, if for some reason he fell to No. 51 in the second round, Verrett would be hard to pass up, as he would still be a high-impact nickel corner for the Bears, a valuable position in today’s NFL.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.