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Small school playmaker Jalen Tolliver visits Bears

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Chicago met with the Division II stud, showing once again they’ll leave no obscure stone unturned in the draft process.

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The Bears of the past few years have shown they’ll look in every nook and cranny for impact in the draft. In light of that notion, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt reports that the team had a draft visit with University of Arkansas-Monticello standout receiver Jalen Tolliver. You can do a double take if you’ve never heard that name before.

A two-year starter with the Boll Weevils (again, what is that name?), Tolliver produced a total of 2,199 yards, 136 receptions, and 30 touchdowns in his last two seasons. The 6-foot-1, 213 pounder proved to be a refined and smooth route runner with exemplary red zone and jump ball ability. A stellar Pro Day where he ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, had a 37.5 inch vertical jump, and put out a 6.99 three-cone drill performance, likely solidified him as a professional talent in many evaluators’ eyes.

When it comes down to it, NFL.com’s Lance Zeirlein says that Tolliver “has plenty of upside waiting to be unlocked with focused coaching.”

Tolliver is a raw prospect that needs time to acclimate given the level of competition he faced with Arkansas-Monticello. However, he can certainly contribute in a small role initially in the NFL, which is where he would slot in with the Bears behind Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Kevin White.

A draft pick of Tolliver, who is currently being projected in the seventh round, is unlikely though. Look for him to be a potential undrafted free agent signed after the madness in Arlington, Texas is over. If he were to stick on any NFL roster, he would be the first Boll Weevil to do so, with previous alumni such as Eric Crocker eventually resorting to places like the now defunct AFL’s Portland Steel.

As we reach the single digit days countdown towards the draft, the Bears are proving once more that they’ll cast their scouting net for prospects literally anywhere.

Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.