Another Hit For the Bears Addiction to Drafting Safties................
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Smith turning heads at Senior Bowl
Irish defensive back might be good fit for Bears at either safety spot
By Vaughn McClure, Chicago Tribune reporter 8:29 p.m. CST, January 26, 2012
MOBILE, Ala. — One NFL scout referred to Harrison Smith as a potential second-round pick. Representatives from at least four different teams called him the best safety prospect at the Senior Bowl. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said Smith looked "absolutely shredded'' while measuring in at 6 feet 13/4 and 212 pounds.
Although Smith appreciated the high praise, the former Notre Dame standout refused to let it go to his head.
"All I can do is put my best foot forward, show them who I am and what I can do," he said. "That's really all I can do through the next two months.''
One of Smith's first meetings during Senior Bowl week was with Bears' Midwest scout Jeff Shriver. The Bears have identified safety as a position of need, although many believe rookie free safety Chris Conte has a bright future.
As for Smith, he could contribute on special teams immediately and play either safety spot.
"I'm very comfortable dropping down, playing the deep middle or half the field," Smith said. "And covering tight ends.''
The Bears have selected a safety in seven consecutive drafts. Only two — third-rounders Major Wright and Conte — remain on the roster. Craig Steltz, a fourth-round pick, is a free agent this offseason.
Quite a catch? Speaking of Notre Dame, some have projected the Bears to select former Irish receiver Michael Floyd with the 19th overall pick of the first round. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock believes that's a good possibility.
"He's a big, good-looking, first-round wide receiver,'' Mayock said. "A lot depends on what he runs at 224 pounds at the combine. He could be right in that (No. 19) area.''
Mayock, who was the color analyst for Notre Dame games on NBC, was surprised the 6-foot-3 Floyd decided not to play in Saturday's Senior Bowl.
"I wish he was here,'' Mayock said after one of the Senior Bowl practices this week. "If your name is not Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State), who's the next best receiver in this draft?
One source said Floyd was concerned about tweaking a hamstring before the combine after having some hamstring issues in the past.
High praise: Cardinals general manager Rod Graves had Jason Licht on his staff for the 2008 season.
Licht, who had a second interview for the Bears' general manager position Thursday, was a personnel executive for Graves when the Cardinals went to the Super Bowl.
"Jason did an outstanding job for us,'' Graves said during a break at the Senior Bowl practices.
Graves, who used to work for the Bears, declined to discuss Licht's role in detail with the interview process ongoing.
Licht moved from the Cardinals to his current position as the Patriots' pro personnel director.
Add on: Former Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins has been added to the South roster after Alabama receiver Marquis Maze suffered a hamstring injury.
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