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-49ers: And the winner is?

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Both teams are on track to be drafting in the top five, and the inevitable “the loser is the winner” talk has made its rounds, meaning that a defeat moves the loser higher in the draft order. The reality is that neither team will tank the game for draft position.

But the chances of two woeful teams playing well are slim. The 49ers won in Week 1 and then have lost 10 straight. The Bears are trying to avoid losing four straight for the first time under John Fox.

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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick burst upon the NFL scene in 2012 with a blowout of the Bears in his first start. He has regained his starting job in San Francisco and is still one of the prototypical mobile quarterbacks.

But the 49ers are the NFL’s worst defense in both points and yardage allowed, and they are the worst rushing defense in the league. Expect the Bears to try exploiting that and give quarterback Matt Barkley a balanced run-pass game plan.

Prediction: Bears 24, 49ers 20

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Kyle Fuller was one of the seeming fixtures in the Bears’ defense as it transitioned from the 4-3 of old to the 3-4 of Vic Fangio. And he may be again, the Bears hope very soon, as he has begun practicing after months on injured reserve following knee surgery in August.

The Bears could place Fuller on the active roster as late as Saturday after he practiced all three days this week. “He made it three days in practice, no setbacks,” said coach John Fox. “He seems to be adapting pretty well. He has another practice [Saturday] and we don’t have to make a decision until 3 p.m. because of where he is on the roster. We’ll evaluate that after tomorrow.”

Were Fuller to return — restoring one projected 2016 starter to a defense that has been forced to field five different starting secondaries in the span of 11 games — he may be phased back in with a managed number of snaps, as other certain other players returning from injury have been.

But getting Fuller back projects to be an instant upgrade for a defensive backfield among the NFL’s worst at producing takeaways.

“We all play different positions so we’re kind of used to it, people moving in and out over the year,” said Bryce Callahan, who was initially ticketed for nickel duty as the No. 3 cornerback this season but has been pressed into service starting at cornerback in four games.

“It’s always good to get someone like Kyle back.”

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The Bears would need to weigh what workload Fuller could handle vs. roster needs based on only having 46 players active on game day.

“You’re always a little bit cautious because it does affect your roster,” Fox said. “But if you feel like he makes you better, that’s a move you make. Now we’re just working through him medically, durability-wise, and how much he can play.”

Jay Cutler (shoulder) was officially declared out and is headed for surgery on Saturday, ultimately to injured reserve.

Other availability questions include receiver Eddie Royal (toe), guard Josh Sitton (ankle) and safety Adrian Amos (ankle), all questionable. Linebacker Willie Young (knee) did not practice but linebacker Leonard Floyd was able to practice on a limited basis although his status in the concussion protocol will not be known until closer to game time.