Darrius Heyward-Bey virtually sprinted himself out of consideration for the Bears today.
The Maryland wide receiver blazed through the 40-yard dash at the combine in 4.30 seconds, the fastest time of any receiver on the day and tied for the second fastest by a receiver at the combine since 2000. Any hope the Bears had of being able to consider him with the 18th pick in the first round looks to be gone in 4.3 seconds.
In fact, it was pretty good times all around on the day for the position group that the Bears has to be keeping a close eye on. A couple other receivers had strong performances and might be worth considering a little later on in the draft.
*** Ohio State's Brian Robiskie answered questions about his speed when the 6-3, 210-pounder ran the 40 in 4.51 seconds. His vertical jump of 37.5 inches was ninth among wideouts. He was fifth in the three cone drill in 6.72 seconds and eighth in the 20-yard shuttle.
*** Rutgers wide receiver Kenny Britt impressed on the bench press putting up 23 reps at 225 pounds, second for the position behind only Brooks Foster of North Carolina, who had 27. Britt did well in the broad jump and his 4.48 time in the 40 was a boost for the 6-3, 218-pounder.
*** Ole Miss' Mike Wallace turned some heads at the Senior Bowl and continued to build momentum for himself. His 4.33 time in the 40 was second to only Heyward-Bey. He tied for first in the broad jump and is a climber at this point.
*** Penn State's Derrick Williams will surely want to run again at his pro day. His 4.58 time in the 40 was significantly slower than expected and one of the few real letdowns of the day. He's reportedly been battling the flu lately and he'll need to improve this time to avoid doubts creeping in.
*** How about this? New England coach Bill Belichick, a hard man to find at the combine most years, chatted for about 20 minutes. One of the topics he covered? The evolution of the safety position, something the Bears are a little behind the time with.
"I think that the safety position is becoming more and more of a corner position in the National Football League,'' Belichick said. "There were times when some of the safeties, particularly the strong safeties, fit more almost like linebackers than they did as defensive backs. I think that's changed gradually, but now to the point where your defensive backs a lot of times either have to cover wide receivers or they have to cover tight ends who are very, very good in the passing game, not little guys that are running five-yard hook routes and stuff like that.
"The tight ends in the league, which it seems like just about every team has one, can get downfield, make athletic and acrobatic catches and get open and beat tight coverage. I think the demands of that position have changed, and I think that has changed the evaluation a little bit. So maybe some of those hybrid guys that have played corner, have played safety, like [Ohio State cornerback Malcolm] Jenkins, for example, is a guy that's played both, what his best fit will be for a team, where he would be most valuable is certainly an interesting discussion for all teams.''
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said Saturday that it would be premature to call free safety a "need'' for the Bears because of the presence of Craig Steltz, the fourth-round pick from 2008 who scouts billed as strictly a strong safety.