Mock drafting for the Bears

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Mock drafting for the Bears

INDIANAPOLIS -- Its still 2-12 months away but the NFL draft is never really out of season, so its worth a look on a quiet pre-Super Bowl Saturday to establish who the Bears will draft at No. 19 (kidding).

Theres only one vote that really matters and that remains new GM Phil Emery, and he made it clear at his introductory press conference that hes not into discussing needs and players to pair with those. And there is still the more immediate variable of free agency, in which the Bears signing an elite wide receiver (Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, other) would substantially alter the needs hierarchy of the franchise.

Notre Dames Michael Floyd remains the popular call (WalterFootball, Rob Rang, others). But Floyd is not a gimme for various reasons, depending on how Emery and the Bears feel about even a slight character cloud or whether Floyd goes before the Bears (hes going top 10 in one mock). And Domers have been draft-day stunners the other direction as well (Brady Quinn, anyone?)

Baylors Kendall Wright remains in the discussions with Floyd gone. The speed is certainly there, although speed alone wasnt enough for Devin Hester and Johnny Knox.

The intriguing names to watch are Mohamed Sanu, a 6-2 wideout who caught 115 passes for 1,206 yards and 7 TDs last year. But Sanu played for Greg Schiano at Rutgers and Schiano was just hired as Tampa Bays head coach. The Bucs may not think Sanu is worth the No. 5 pick of the draft but trading down and Schiano taking a known playmaker to pair with Josh Freeman would not be a stretch.

And Nolan Nawrocki, who does great work for Pro Football Weekly, is the first to see the scenario of Floyd dropping, which I see as more than a little likely. Nolan has his (and the Bears) eye on LSU burner Reuben Randle.

Randle is a junior coming out, doesnt have the gaudy numbers of Sanu, but hes run 4.5 in the 40 and is 6-4. Not a high No. 1 but from a big-time program.

A name to watch, particularly with the NFL Scouting Combine coming in a couple weeks.

Bears linebacker Lamarr Houston rips 'arrogant' Aaron Rodgers in ESPN interview

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Bears linebacker Lamarr Houston rips 'arrogant' Aaron Rodgers in ESPN interview

Three days after the conclusion of the NFL Draft, Lamarr Houston already fired the first shot in the new chapter of the Bears-Packers rivalry.

After the Bears beat the Packers on Thanksgiving night last season, Houston spouted off on Aaron Rodgers, saying, "I give two flying you know what about him. I really don't like that guy."

The Bears linebacker made an appearance on ESPN's SportsNation Monday and further explained his issue with the Green Bay quarterback, including Rodgers' championship belt celebration:

"He's a little arrogant for me," Houston said. "He's a little too arrogant. He's a cheesehead. I'm a Bear; he's a cheesehead. I have a lot of respect for his game, I will say that. He's a great quarterback and as a player, I have a lot of respect for his game. That whole championship belt thing kinda gets on my nerves."

When asked if Rodgers has ever displayed this arrogance on the field besides the celebration, Houston said:

"He's chimed a few words to me before. And I'll keep that to myself."

It's particularly interesting that Houston takes issue with Rodgers' celebrations considering the linebacker tore his ACL celebrating a sack in the Bears' blowout loss to the New England Patriots in 2014.

Houston recorded seven tackles and a sack of Rodgers in that Thanksgiving matchup last season.

The Bears meet the Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 7 and host Rodgers and Co. at Soldier Field Week 15 in 2016.

Several Bears 2016 opponents had some, well, 'interesting' drafts

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Several Bears 2016 opponents had some, well, 'interesting' drafts

Just about every NFL team had something interesting go down on draft weekend, whether round one, whether someone passed over, whatever. But a handful of teams on the Bears’ 2016 schedule, beginning with the Philadelphia Eagles (Week 2) trading up for quarterback Carson Wentz at No. 2, had drafts with a few quirks, and the Bears will be seeing seven of the top 11 draft picks this year besides their own Leonard Floyd at No. 9:

Packin’ on the pounds

Pal Bob McGinn up at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel noted that where the Green Bay Packers’ 2015 draft had just one selection that weighed as much as 250 pounds, this year the Packers shopped by bulk.

Of Green Bay’s seven picks, “If [Northwestern defensive end] Dean Lowry were to eat a big steak dinner,” Bob writes, “then four would weigh at least 300 and two more are in the 240’s.” The seventh pick – Cal wide receiver Trevor Davis – was the only skill-position player selected.

Titanic Titans?

The Bears face the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 27 in Soldier Field, unless the field tilts and slides into Lake Michigan when the Titans run out of that visitors tunnel on the stadium’s east side. One Tennessee’s concern this year might be whether their team buses are in violation of tonnage limits on bridges. The Bears wanted to get faster; the Titans wanted to get bigger.

While Bears fans lamented the suspiciously small size of No. 1 pick Leonard Floyd, the Titans were trading up to No. 8, one pick above where the Bears landed Floyd with a trade-up of their own, to take a guy to block Floyd: Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin. 322 pounds.

The Bears’ pass rusher (Floyd) weighs 240 pounds. The Titans got theirs in round 2: Kevin Dodd. 277 pounds.

The Bears strengthened their interior defensive line with Jonathan Bullard in the third round. 285 pounds. The Titans? Third-round’er Penn State’s Austin Johnson. 314 pounds.

The Bears beefed up their running game with Jordan Howard in the fourth round. 230 pounds. The Titans new running back: Derrick Henry. 247 pounds.

The Bears muscled up their offensive line with Cody Whitehair in the second round. 301 pounds. Titans' Sebastian Tretola. 322 pounds. And kind of a self-professed goon: “I’m trying to make me not want to play me anymore.”

Big is not necessarily better but the Park District may want to reinforce the concrete under the Soldier Field visitors locker room. Just sayin’.

Vikings cover-up’s

The Minnesota Vikings under Rick Spielman have built themselves into a contender with impact draft picks, with a heavy dose of hits on No. 1’s and 2’s (Anthony Barr, Teddy Bridgewater, Sharrif Floyd, Eric Kendricks, Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith).

But last year’s No. 1 (cornerback Trae Waynes) started just one game, as a nickel corner, and did not have an interception, playing more on special teams. This year the Vikings took cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who didn’t have a pick in two seasons at Clemson. Deion Sanders never had stratospheric INT totals because teams threw away from him, so that number, like sacks, don’t always tell complete stories, and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is a devout “deny the ball” guy, which Alexander may be. He’d better be.

Jacksonville Cheetahs?

Like the Bears with Kevin White, the Jaguars approach 2016 with de facto two No. 1 draft picks: defensive back Jalen Ramsey (No. 5 overall), in the discussion over the best single player in this year’s draft, and pass rusher Dante Fowler, the No. 3 pick of the 2015 draft but who missed the entire season with a torn ACL suffered the first day of the Jags’ rookie minicamp. And they used their pick in the second round to roll the dice on UCLA linebacker Myles Jack and his knees.

A lot of injury unknowns there, but the Jags’ is a defense that, like the Bears, added young speedballs at all three levels: Fowler, 4.6 40-yd. at 261 pounds; Jack, a rocket before the knee injury; and Ramsey, running 4.41, stunning for a DB 6-1, 205 pounds.

Detroit did what?

The Detroit Lions liked their 2016 draft how much?

After the Matt Millen Era, nothing that the Lions should come as a total surprise. But this?

Bob Quinn, hired as GM in January, fired two scouts. Not unusual. But this was AFTER last weekend’s draft, not after Quinn took over. Contracts expire this time of year, so changes aren’t unusual.

Antrel Rolle blames Bears practice field for knee injury

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Antrel Rolle blames Bears practice field for knee injury

Antrel Rolle has been around the NFL long enough to know this is sometimes how it goes.

The Bears released the 33-year-old Rolle one day after selecting three defensive backs in the 2016 NFL Draft. Rolle played just seven games in the first season of his three-year deal, while dealing with ankle and knee injuries.

He joined 670 The Score on Monday to discuss a number of topics surrounding his release. Among his comments, Rolle blamed the playing surface at Halas Hall, the Bears' practice facility, for the knee injury that ultimately ended his season.

Rolle, still dealing with an injured ankle that had limited him early in the season, injured the knee on the final play of practice on the Friday before the Bears' game against the Denver Broncos.

As he explains:

"I was pretty much shuffling...and I tried to change direction and I slipped on the surface, and because of my ankle and because of the tape the only thing that was able to give was my knee. So my knee had to take a lot of the force and the impact, and even the doctor said it was very unsual to find a tear that I had with a non-contact injury. But it was because of all the pressure and force on my knee because my ankle couldn't really give.

"I think the surface had a whole lot to do with it. It happens.

"The facilities are good in Chicago. The fields are just not as good. I don't know the reason behind it. I don't know how the maintenance and upkeep works in Chicago. But it's real hard to maintain and just be stable under those conditions. But I'm sure they'll try to work and fix it. I always knew Soldier Field (playing surface) was bad. I just never knew that the facitlities were just as bad."

Rolle plans on playing in his 12th NFL season, and believe he's capable of much more than he showed in his limited time with the Bears. Now a free agent, Rolle said he has a chip on his shoulder and is hoping whichever team he signs with plays the Bears in 2016.

"I know who I am as a player. I know who I still am as a player and what I can contribute. It's just unfortunate that it won't be (in Chicago).

"It's all good. I'll find a way and I'll make the best of it. And whatever team i play (for), I hope Chicago's on the schedule."