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?)
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.