Mayock: Fiedorowicz must show pass-catching skills

If there’s such thing as “draft momentum,” Johnsburg’s C.J. Fiedorowicz picked some up with his performance at the Senior Bowl. This week, he faces another test at the NFL Scouting Combine. He will meet with the media on Thursday and run drills on Saturday.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock answered questions during a conference call on Tuesday and said Fiedorowicz needs to show off his receiving prowess to NFL teams in Lucas Oil Stadium.

“He’s got to run and catch. Right now, you look at him, and he did have a good Senior Bowl week, and he did catch the ball pretty well at Iowa, made a couple good red-zone catches this year using that big body of his,” Mayock said. “I’m curious what he’s going to run. Can he run a 4.7 or 4.75, or is he going to be a 4.85 guy.”

Mayock has Fiedorowicz as his fifth-ranked tight end right now and a projected fourth-round pick.

“I just want to see him catch everything,” Mayock said. “I know he’s got good hands, I just want to see the hands. I don’t want the ball to get into his body, I want him to catch everything away from his body and run that 40 well.”

Here are other Bears and Chicago-related tidbits from Mayock during his conference call.

• Mayock called Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward, “one of my favorite safeties in this draft. … I’m not sure he’s getting out of the second round.”

• Ward’s teammate, Jordan Lynch, is receiving criticism for his decision to work out at the Combine as a quarterback, but Mayock praised Lynch’s attitude, calling him a “winner." He hopes Lynch gets a shot to prove he can be an NFL quarterback.

• Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has risen to a second- or third-round prospect at this stage. Mayock said the Rolling Meadows native helped himself “more than anyone in the country” at the senior all-star games.

• Defensive tackle is a position that figures to be a high priority for the Bears. Mayock’s top three players are Louis Nix (“a prototypical nose tackle”), Timmy Jernigan (“I think Jernigan can step in and be special early”) and Aaron Donald (“that “three-technique,” a quick, up-field penetrator, but I don’t think he’s going until late 1, early 2). Mayock said that if Jernigan is available when the Bears draft at No. 14, they should “sprint to the podium.”

• Responding to a question about the Lions’ pick at No. 10, Mayock responded by saying Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be legitimate options to go that early. “Calvin Pryor is like a bigger, stronger Bob Sanders,” he said. “He flies around, he hits people, he explodes everywhere.” Clinton-Dix, “has better range. … I think he’s a complete player.” Depending on what the Bears do in free agency, safety is also high on their needs list.

• With the Bears confirming Tuesday they will remain a base 4-3 defense, just with more versatility up front, Mayock was asked about those players who can be a defensive end or stand up and play outside linebacker. He mentioned Auburn’s Dee Ford, Stanford’s Trent Murphy and Texas’ Jackson Jeffcoat. Missouri’s Michael Sam and Arkansas’ Chris Smith would be “situational pass-rush guys” for the later rounds. If the Bears targeted the position at No. 14, Mayock said Kony Ealy is the next best 4-3 defensive end after Jadaveon Clowney.

• One more interesting note, considering the Bears’ only center under contract for 2014 is Taylor Boggs: Mayock believes center the second-most important position on the offensive line, after left tackle, because of their responsibilities to defend the interior pass rush and call out the protections.