Bears general manager Ryan Pace said earlier this week that he is going to explore every avenue when it comes to upgrading the team's tight end group. The 2020 NFL Draft will be a great place to look for the pass-catcher Matt Nagy's offense needs and three prospects elevated their draft stock at the 2020 NFL Combine.
Stephen Sullivan, LSU
Sullivan, the wide receiver-turned-tight end, was one of the most impressive players at the 2020 Senior Bowl and he continued his rise up the draft board with a strong showing in Indianapolis.
Sullivan, who weighed in at 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds, ran a 4.66 40-yard dash, which tied for second-fastest among all tight ends. His 36.5-inch vertical jump is an elite number, too.
He was smooth in the on-field drills and showcased his effortless catching style.
Sullivan won't be an early-round prospect. He'll probably slip into Day 3. And if he does, the Bears have to give him a long, hard look. He has a chance to be the biggest sleeper in the draft (regardless of position) who can become an impact playmaker in the NFL.
Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
Hopkins, like Sullivan, ran a 4.66 and looked every bit the part of a move tight end. He was smooth on downfield routes and caught the ball cleanly (for the most part). One concern surrounding Hopkins is his tendency to double-catch. He did a nice job quieting that worry.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
Albert 'O' was the big winner with his blazing 4.49 40-time, which ranks among the 10-best 40-times for a tight end since 1999, per the Mock Draftable database.
'O' is coming off a very disappointing season in which he totaled just 26 catches for 306 yards and six touchdowns. Though, it's worth noting that he lost his quarterback from 2018 -- Drew Lock -- and never got into an offensive rhythm in 2019.
It wasn't a perfect day for him, however. He loafed the gauntlet drill and continued the narrative that he doesn't give 100% effort on every down. But it's impossible to ignore his speed at 6-5, 258 pounds.
These 3 tight ends improved their stock at the 2020 NFL Combine originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago