Could Clemson DE Bowers slip to Bears at 29?

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Could Clemson DE Bowers slip to Bears at 29?

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Posted: 2:43 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

DaQuan Bowers is having one of the more intriguing pre-draft rides of any prospect. The Clemson defensive end has been everywhere from the No. 1 overall pick to a second-rounder, based on a suspect knee and just one mega-year (15.5 sacks as a junior, 4 total his first two seasons).

Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki summarized the concerns very succinctly this week and it would not surprise Nolan to see Bowers sliding down as far as 29th, where the Bears live.

The fluctuations will stop in three weeks when Bowers is drafted, undoubtedly somewhere between the two previous extremes. But two Bears defensive ends have figured in his being where he is and will be.

One was the late Gaines Adams, who was like a big brother to me, Bowers said. We were very close. Hes one of the reasons I chose Clemson. I was hit real hard by his death, but I had to go on.

The other is Julius Peppers. Bowers has held Peppers up as a football model for himself, but with realistic limits. He is one of the premier defensive ends in the NFL, Bowers said, laughing, and I am just a scrawny little defensive end coming out of college attempting to play like him and be half as good as him.

The Bears are determined to upgrade their pass rush (rare is the season and team that doesnt annually list that as a priority) and some scenarios would have Bowers still around when the Bears turn comes at No. 29. If hes available, he becomes an interesting possibility, particularly because that could mean at least one team has presumably taken an offensive lineman ahead of them rather than Bowers.

Theres talk of talk

NFL players have sent a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Nelson, who is handling the court action by players seeking an injunction to end the lockout. The gist is that the players are embracing her recommendations to participate in mediation under court oversight.

View from the Moon will refrain from lengthy discussion and description of the myriad details here and elsewhere in the process. But there are a couple of different mediation options and the owners arent expected to be in favor of this one. So its movement, sort of...

Grain-of-salt time is upon us

Florida CG Mike Pouncey tweeted (@MikePouncey) that he would be shocked if hes not in a Dallas Cowboys uniform next season, obviously based on the hugs he got while visiting there. Actually, if he is in a Dallas uniform, a pretty high percentage of the football world will be dealing with the shock. The Cowboys pick No. 9 and no draft preview has Pouncey going nearly that high.

Pouncey can be forgiven, though, for letting himself believe the platitudes of a visit. The Bears have lavished the same things on prospects; so have other teams. Thats just part of pre-draft visits. As Mike Florio notes at ProFootballTalk.com, Randy Moss once had that same impression from the Cowboys, prior to the 1998 draft, when Dallas was picking eighth. They didnt take Moss, who stayed around until No. 21 when Dennis Green and the Minnesota Vikings took him.

For what its worth, Pouncey at guard while brother Maurkice was at center, before going on to a Pro Bowl rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers rates at the top of at least one list.

LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis, a keep-an-eye-on player for the Bears according to draft expert Wes Bunting at National Football Post, said Maurkice was the best single blocker Nevis faced in college and Mike is good, too, Nevis said, adding, When they were at guard and center, that was a tough batch. And a lot of people would say that was the best one-two tandem they ever faced.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

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.