With a deep crop of tackles in the 2021 NFL draft, it can be hard to stand out.
Texas tackle Samuel Cosmi did that Thursday during his Pro Day, running a 4.84 40-yard dash and benching 36 reps. Cosmi has been overshadowed by some of the tackles at the top of the draft, but an argument could be made that Cosmi deserves to be in the first-round conversation.
The Bears, of course, are in the market for a tackle. They cut right tackle Bobby Massie earlier this week and haven’t drafted a lineman in the first round since 2013.
Cosmi should be available late in the first round when the Bears pick 20th overall, and he could be on the board when they come up again in the second round. Cosmi (6-foot-7, 309 pounds) started 34 games for the Longhorns over three seasons. He wants to be in the first-round conversation.
“For me, it’s a big deal,” Cosmi said. “From a competitive nature, I want to be [drafted] as high as possible. That’s what I want to be. I want to be one of the best guys in the draft, I want to be the best guy in the draft.”
Running the 40 in 4.84 would’ve been among the fastest time in last year’s NFL Scouting Combine among offensive linemen. Cosmi was “super ecstatic” about his 40 time and his bench press.
While those performances are important, Cosmi believes it’s his film that’s really going to stand out this year, when draft prep is taking place virtually.
“I feel like this year film is everything,” Cosmi said. “Being able to put these numbers up and the testing, the combine, it’s all good when it comes to showing people this that and the other. What really matters is the coaches and the scouts seeing what type of person and player I am, being as honest and as raw as possible with me and my personality.”
Another Longhorns potential first-round pick, edge rusher Joseph Ossai, wowed everyone by jumping a 41.5-inch vertical.
With so many needs on offense, a pass rusher in the first round doesn’t seem likely for the Bears. But Ossai had some great insight on Cosmi.
“Great footwork,” Ossai said of Cosmi. “One thing is, though, I’m sad the combine wasn’t a thing this year because people would’ve seen how freakish explosive he is. It was great going against him every day.”
Late-round QB?: Also showcasing Thursday at Texas was Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger was a four-year starter for the Longhorns.
Ehlinger (6-3, 225) is a potential late-round target for teams in need of a quarterback. The Bears just hired his former coach earlier this month. Former Longhorns coach Tom Herman will be an offensive analyst for Bears coach Matt Nagy.
Ehlinger said he felt he showed Thursday that he can make NFL throws.
“There’s a ton of tape showing that I can make all the throws,” Ehlinger said. “Been in a lot of big games. Played in a lot of games. Really just being all-around, having everything from leadership to football IQ to, on the field, being a guy that can do it all.”
Versatile receiver: Across the country at Clemson, receiver Amari Rodgers showed scouts what he can do. Rodgers is a potential second- or third-round draft pick. The Athletic ranked him the No. 61-overall prospect in its top 100.
Rodgers (5-10, 210) caught 77 passes for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns for the Tigers in 2020. He can do a little bit of everything. He participated in running back drills Thursday and is a potential special teams weapon on punt and kick return.
A smaller receiver, he could find himself in the slot in an NFL offense.
“You have a lot more space [in the slot] usually,” Rodgers said. “So you can work and be more patient than outside when you’re most of the time usually pressed up so you’ve got to get into your route. That’s something that I love, having space and being able to work different releases in the slot.”
Fellow Clemson receiver Cornell Powell also worked out Thursday. Powell is a potential day three pick.
Pace in Fargo: North Dakota State coach Matt Entz said 30 of 32 NFL teams will be in Fargo, North Dakota, on Friday to see quarterback Trey Lance. According to Entz, Bears general manager Ryan Pace will be there.
“I saw just a couple [teams] that jumped out at me,” Entz said. “I know Chicago, I believe their GM was going to be here.”
Offensive tackle Dillon Radunz, a potential day-two pick, will also be showcasing Friday in Fargo. The Bears will certainly have an interest in Radunz, too.