No surprise if Bears go DE with pick

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No surprise if Bears go DE with pick

INDIANAPOLIS The stock prediction for what the Bears will do with their first-round draft pick in April has been wide receiver. They have a shortage of good ones and uncertainty over the future of Johnny Knox after his gruesome back injury.

But at least one NFL insider has a strong leaning toward the other side of the football and coach Lovie Smith is saying nothing that contradicts this.

Matt Bowen, longtime NFL safety and National Football Post columnist, talked with CSNChicago.com Thursday at the Scouting Combine. Matt heard comments by Smith earlier Thursday and believes the Bears will go for a defensive end with their first pick, with Alabama rush terror Courtney Upshaw the first name he mentioned.

Pro Football Weekly reports that 38 percent of Upshaws tackles were made behind the line of scrimmage.

A big reason for his conclusion, which I second, is Smiths re-statement, in the wake of the New York Giants Super Bowl win, that defense still wins championships.

I'm totally convinced of that, Smith said. In order to win, of course, it's a biased opinion. I think the Giants have a strong defense, they have a running game and you need to be able to have explosion in your passing game, I think that's a big part of it.

The Giants won with a 4-3 scheme similar to the Bears but based on as many as four defensive ends used in nickel situations, all proven pass rushers.

A top-shelf wide receiver in free agency followed by a pass-rushing defensive end on day one of the draft.

The key is Smith and GM Phil Emery being of like mind on personnel priorities, which they presumably are based on conversations during the GM hiring process. Its pretty unlikely Smith was voicing a philosophy from what he knows to be his GMs.

Accolades keep pouring in for Bears' 2016 rookie class

Accolades keep pouring in for Bears' 2016 rookie class

The 2016 NFL Draft could be one that will define Ryan Pace's tenure as GM of the Bears.

Just last week, Jordan Howard became the second rookie running back in Bears franchise history to be named to the Pro Bowl since Gale Sayers in 1965.

The PFWA released their 2016 All-Rookie Team on Tuesday, and Bears center Cody Whitehair, linebacker Leonard Floyd and Howard all made the list.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Howard, the Bears' fifth round selection (150th overall) out of Indiana, set the rookie franchise record with 1,313 rushing yards on 252 carries and 6 touchdowns. Howard also had 29 receptions for 298 yards and one receiving touchdown.

Floyd, the No. 9 overall selection out of Georgia, registered 33 tackles, 7 sacks and 9 quarterback hits in 12 games.

Whitehair, a second-round pick out of Kansas State, started all 16 games at center for the Bears after spending the majority of the preseason at guard.

The Bears (tied with the Chargers) had the second-highest number of selections behind the Kansas City Chiefs.

Check out the complete 2016 PFWA All-Rookie Team below:

Offense

QB – Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
RB – Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys; Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
WR – Sterling Shepard, New York Giants; Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
TE – Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers
C – Cody Whitehair, Chicago Bears
G – Joe Thuney, New England Patriots; Laremy Tunsil, Miami Dolphins
T – Jack Conklin, Tennessee Titans; Taylor Decker, Detroit Lions

Defense

DL – Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers; DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers; Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs; Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville Jaguars
LB – Jatavis Brown, San Diego Chargers; Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears; Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons
CB – Vernon Hargreaves III, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
S – Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders; Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons

Special Teams

PK – Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
P – Riley Dixon, Denver Broncos
KR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
PR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
ST – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

Bears Talk Podcast: What should Bears do at quarterback?

Bears Talk Podcast: What should Bears do at quarterback?

On the latest edition of the Bears Talk Podcast, Chris Boden and John "Moon" Mullin discuss the Bears' quarterback situation.

The guys discuss the pitfalls of trading for a veteran, backup QB while also looking at some of the college players the team could be interested in.

[RELATED: Cautionary quarterback tales for Bears as playoffs move along]

Finally, Devin Hester is contemplating retirement. Is he worthy of the NFL Hall of Fame?

Listen to the Bears Talk Podcast below.