Kevin White was comfortable.
Sitting at Halas Hall last week with Bears coaches and front office members, the West Virginia wide receiver couldn’t help noticing how “relaxed” and “natural” the whole thing felt.
Almost, maybe, like home.
Because of that, White would be surprised if he lasted past the Bears’ No. 7 selection in Thursday night’s NFL draft at the Auditorium Theatre.
“I feel like if I’m there at 7, I think they will pick me,” he said Wednesday.
White already shares an agent with Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery. He became close, too, with former receiver Brandon Marshall, who first contacted the 6-3, 215-pound receiver during his stellar senior season, in which he caught 109 balls for 1,447 yards.
White said the Bears talked to him about replacing Marshall, and that the “coaching staff was very high on me.”
Still, visits don’t always portend a pending pick, Bears GM Ryan Pace asserted at Halas Hall. Each NFL team gets 30 predraft meetings, though, and it’s telling who the Bears have — and haven’t — flown in.
Shane Ray said he visited long before the Missouri defensive end was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession Monday. He said he has not spoken to the team since the incident, which he apologized for Wednesday.
“Wherever I go is wherever I’m meant to be,” he said, aware the citation had harmed his draft status. “But I definitely enjoyed meeting with Chicago.”
Trae Waynes, the Michigan State product considered the draft’s best cornerback, said he traveled to Halas Hall a few weeks ago and “had a great time with their coaching staff.”
“I got a really good feel for them,” he said.
But does it matter?
Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton, who has been linked to the Bears since the Senior Bowl, said the team never invited him for an interview.
“It’d be great to just stay here after the draft,” he said.
Three likely top 10 picks —USC defensive end Leonard Williams, Clemson outside linebacker Vic Beasley and Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff — said Wednesday they never visited the Bears, either.
Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, another defensive end busted for marijuana this offseason, said he met with the Bears at the NFL Scouting Combine, but not formally since.
Pace said he’d be comfortable selecting someone he didn’t bring in for an interview.
“There’s been meetings at the Combine, we’ve gone to their schools,” he said. “If we haven’t brought somebody in and we feel good about where we’re at…
“Sometimes you’ll bring guys in for further questions. If might be character, it might be intelligence, it might be further medical questions.
“Quite honestly, some of your 30visitsyou’re saving for guys you’re recruiting for potential college free agents.”
Kentucky outside linebacker Bud Dupree said Pace and Bears position coach Clint Hurtt visited him — “It was a great bond we had,” he said —and later kept in touch via phone.
He described coordinator Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense as “awesome,” and a good match for his skillset.
“Definitely, I think it’s a good fit,” he said. “I don’t know whether they’re going to take an offensive or defensive player.”
No one seems to. Or, for that matter, whether the Bears will trade up or down, scenarios Pace said were on the table.
Even Dante Fowler, the consensus top outside linebacker in the draft, has considered the possibility of moving to Chicago. He praised Bears linebacker Jon Bostic, who mentored him as a freshman at Florida.
Told he’d likely be taken before the Bears picked seventh, he smiled.
“Who knows?” he said. “This draft thing is pretty crazy, I tell you.”
White doesn’t pretend to know, either. He thinks he might be gone before the Bears draft. But if he’s not, he seemed content.
“I feel like this is definitely a place I can step in,” he said.