Jay Cutler has been straightforward about the impact a pass-catching tight end can have in the offense, and perhaps it is a priority again with Bears tight ends coach Andy Bischoff earlier this month saying, "We need a tight end that can create stress in the middle of the field or wherever we place him."

Bears coach Marc Trestman was more cryptic when asked about a position that has produced little for the club the last few seasons. The tight end is virtually nonexistent in the CFL, but Trestman has an appreciation for the position and how it has evolved since he was last in the NFL in 2004.

"We've probably seen bigger guys and stronger guys in terms of their height and the things they do," Trestman said at the NFL scouting combine. "I go back to when I got in the league, there was Brent Jones at San Francisco, when I was at Oakland there were two or three tight ends we moved them around like you see teams doing today."

The top draft prospect is Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert and he only helped his stock with a strong showing. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds, posted a 351/2-inch vertical jump and did 22 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds. There is a good chance Eifert will be available when the Bears select 20th in the first round. What will be available when they select 50th overall in the second round is less clear. Stanford's Zach Ertz could be off the board by then. Ertz, who made 69 receptions for 898 yards last season, ran 4.76 seconds in the 40, had a 301/2-inch vertical and 24 reps.

One NFC tight ends coach put Eifert clearly at the head of the class, saying, "He's the guy that can go up in a crowd and get the ball. He makes the tough plays."

There will be options later on. San Diego State's Gavin Escobar ran a disappointing 4.84 in the 40, but one national scout said "that's not the speed he plays at. It will concern some teams, but not me." Rice's Vance McDonald tested well at 4.69 in the 40 with a 331/2-inch vertical and 31 reps. Arkansas' Chris Gragg was at 4.50 in the 40, but he and Maryland's Matt Furstenburg, who also tested well, are more in the physical mold of Evan Rodriguez, still with the Bears.