- For those keeping track the Bears have either worked out or are scheduled to work out Chris Conte (safety, California, via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune), Willie Smith (offensive line, East Carolina, via Biggs), Steven Friday (defensive end, Virginia Tech, via Biggs), DeMarcus Love (offensive line, Arkansas, via Vaughn McClure at the Tribune), and Buster Skrine (cornerback, Tennessee-Chattanooga, via Biggs).
- Rob Rang at CBSSports.com discusses the drafts most overrated and underrated players. Those fans hoping the Bears will take linebacker Martez Wilson out of Illinois are going to be disappointed:
“Wilson competes with Nevada outside linebacker Dontay Moch as this year’s most impressive workout warrior linebacker. Wilson struggles locating the football, making him significantly slower on the field than the 6-4, 250-pounder timed at the combine (4.46-second electronic time). This is particularly troublesome for Wilson considering he’s played linebacker for three seasons with the Illini, as opposed to Moch, who starred as a defensive end. Wilson might measure like a first-rounder, but his tape says he’s closer to a third-round pick.”
Amongst the other potential Bears picks that Rang thinks are overrated are Titus Young, Nate Solder and Mike Pouncey. Not good. Amongst the potential underrated players, Rang has Ricki Stanzi as being undervalued. The Bears probably are looking for a developmental quarterback but Stanzi may go higher in the middle rounds than they’d like.
- The Bears are not known to take chances on players with character issues but former NFL safety Matt Bowen at the National Football Postthinks that if Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith fell into the late first round, he might be hard to pass up.
- On a related note, the experts at NFP take a look at the Bears draft room in a couple videos here. For those who aren’t familiar with the staff at the Post, former Bears director of college scouting Greg Gabriel and Bowen, a former safety (and a Chicagoan) who played previously under head coach Love Smith with the Rams are on this panel. Let’s just say they know the Bears pretty well. This video is well worth watching. Its a shame they won’t allow it to be embedded here.
- Gabriel also breaks down offensive tackles Solder and Tyron Smith. Some mock drafts have Solder falling to the Bears. Gabriel has this interesting comment about him:
“Because of his narrow frame, you have to question whether or not he will get much stronger in the lower body. Over the years I have seen players like this make weight room gains but not functional strength gains.”
- Andy Benoit at The New York Times does another one of his “What the Film Revealed” studies, this time of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s an interesting take:
“3-4 defensive ends are just run anchors
“For most teams, this is true. But for the Steelers, the defensive end position is where favorable defensive mismatches in the run game are created. Brett Keisel’s agility, more than his power, makes him a force. (This is also true for Aaron Smith…when he’s healthy.) Keisel creates congestion along the line of scrimmage primarily through lateral movement and penetration. Having this kind of mobility at defensive end gives [defensive coordinator Dick] LeBeau more variations in his scheme.”
- Benoit’s evaluation of the Baltimore Ravens was interesting as well:
“Joe Flacco, the prototype quarterback, continued his growth, but he still wasn’t consistent between the numbers. Far too much of the passing game took place underneath and outside, where the reads tend to be simpler… The running game sputtered a bit compared with 2009, largely because the offensive line occasionally struggled to generate raw power. Michael Oher, moving to the left side, was disconcertingly average, at least given the hype around him. At this point, saying Oher is a budding star is akin to nominating a folksy but cliché-ridden feel-good family sports movie for Best Picture simply to appease the mainstream audience.”
- The Pac 10 is thinking about playing on Sundays should the NFL lockout extend into the season. Via Tom Dienhart at Rivals.com.
- Rang does a superior job of reviewing the “second tier” quarterbacks after Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton.
- On a related note, Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins at the Minneapolis Star-Tribunediscuss the possibiity that the Vikings will trade down and take Jake Locker, something I consider to be a good idea but, as always, easier said than done.
- The New England Patriots are on the clock at ESPN:
- Jeremy Fowler at the St. Paul Pioneer Press correctly points out that the Vikings are going to be hit particularly hard by the lockout. They will have a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator with a new scheme.
- Turns out Dez Bryant has brave and principled motives for his apparent jackassery. From the Sports Pickle.
One Final Thought
Mike Freeman at CBSSports.com interviews former NFL quarterback Warren Moon who believes ciriticism of Newton is “racially biased” and that he is “extremely angry” about it. Which makes me extremely angry. Fortunately Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com does a good job of debunking this nonsense so I don’t have to.