NFL Combine: Welcome to CamWorld

NFL Combine: Welcome to CamWorld
February 27, 2011, 6:22 pm
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Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011
Posted 12:15 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com
CamWorld

For just today, CSNChicago.com has graciously just decided to be your (very) unofficial CamWorld (we dont even need a last name here, right?).

Cams unofficial 40 times for Cam: 4.58 sec., 4.59 sec.; Tom Brady ran 5.23, according to ESPNs Adam Schefter via Twitter; good perspective note, Adam (maybe thats why Brady was a 6 (rounder) and Cam will be a 1?);

Cam put his left shoe on first, then his right. The inside color on his shoe was a delightfully garish green;

Cam was in Combine jersey No. 11, not his Auburn 2; and the Under Armour heartlight was blinking away. All the other QBs wore jerseys with sleeves; Cam wore sleeveless. Show-off!

National Football Posts Joe Fortenaugh has more on who bested Cam in the sprint event Sunday. Joe also gives you the Vegas over-under on CamTime.

What you dont like hearing: September

The cone of silence over NFLNFLPA negotiations is pretty much still in place and should be when talks resume this week in Washington. But two sources with good knowledge of the state of business volunteered one word independent of each other when asked when this thing might get resolved:

September.

A ruling against the owners in the matter of getting their 4 billion lockout insurance from TV could dramatically escalate that sides willingness to compromise. A contingency plan does exist for a 14-game schedule (the 1987 season was 15 games because of a work stoppage). But the informal consensus here is that neither side will be OK with missing regular-season games, and those start in:

September.

In any case, distasteful as all of this is for everyone (including you readers), check out Andrew Brandts excellent analysis of the situation for National Football Post.

Center of attention

With the outlook for free agency clouded by the ongoing labor non-solution, the Bears are not likely to have a chance to upgrade the offensive line before the draft. And because nothing is at all certain even after the draft, any needs that exist cant be put off on the assumption that they can be filled when a CBA settlement is reached.

So what do the Bears do on the offensive line?

The deeper into the offseason that the impasse goes, the more valuable Olin Kreutz arguably becomes. The Bears may believe that Edwin Williams will work out better at center than he did last season at guard. But this is the one position that all the others run off of, and Kreutz is the one player who could, even at age 34, come in without a training camp (hed probably like that; what vet wouldnt?) and run the O-line.

Right now the Bears have, in their minds, three serviceable tackles. One NFL personnel expert said that JMarcus Webb is the best of the three and he expect Webb to be the starting left tackle this season after his rookie orientation year at right. Chris Williams played left guard but neither Jerry Angelo nor Lovie Smith gave even a little hint that Williams will settle there, and his best position is perhaps at right tackle, where he performed reasonably well finishing out 09.

Frank Omiyale can play right or left, as well as guard, none of the spots with any specialness, and he is best suited to a swing role along with Kevin Shaffer.

Which brings us back to the draft.

The Bears suffered a setback when Josh Beekman busted out last preseason and left the team needing a succession plan for Kreutz. They need a guard (Roberto Garza just finished his 10th season). Finding a rookie starter there is a huge draft bonus but after the way Maurkice Pouncey worked out for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, the best draft option for the Bears should be Pounceys twin brother Mike, also out of Florida.

Hes 6-5, 311 pounds, a guard in 09 and moved to center when his brother left for the NFL. Hes fine with either guard or center, wherever they put me, he said, then qualified. I want to play center though.

The Bears wont be able to truly target a player or two at No. 29; too much is dependent on what happens above them. But the genes are in order here (always draft the bloodlines; if theres a Matthews in the draft, grab him somewhere) and I would suggest that guard is a bigger need than tackle given the current roster.

Plus, if theres a center component to be had, the Bears could set themselves for the next decade the way they once did with Kreutz and Jay Hilgenberg once upon a Super Bowl XX time.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.