Bears GM Phil Emery, his staff and the coaches probably have a pretty fair idea of the cluster of players theyll have ready to go when the Bears turn comes at No. 19. But where Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is fine with dropping hints or flirtations with Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin at No. 1, the Bears arent giving any real indicators.Not surprisingly then, there is little to no consensus as to what the Bears will do at No. 19. Well, maybe just a little.That was in the form of hosting a Halas Hall visit with Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones on Wednesday. Jones, 6-foot-6, 270 lbs, is rated the No. 1 prospect in one group of ends according to Pro Football Weekly, but PFW rates Jones as a possible second- or third-round pick, given that he missed five games last season with a knee injury and posted only 10 sacks in 32 college games, 28 of them starts.But the state of uncertainty is more than apparent in the fact that NFL.com has mock drafts from seven of its staffers, including former NFL GM Charley Casserly, and only two players are IDd as the Bears pick at No. 19 and one of those (Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd) is expected to be gone well before the first round gets near the Bears.Consider also that the Bears have re-signed Tim Jennings and added free agents Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite, yet two of the seven mocks have the Bears drafting a cornerback.Only three analysts forecast the Bears going with a defensive end, two for Illinois Whitney Mercilus and one for North Carolinas Quinton Coples.There, doesnt that clear everything up?
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
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.