Mullin: 2011 draft thin on first-round talent?

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Mullin: 2011 draft thin on first-round talent?

Thursday, April 14, 2011Posted: 2:05 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Teams have done nicely down in the 20s of drafts first rounds. But it is still a kind of no-teams land?

ESPN Scouts Inc. college scouting director Todd McShay does not especially like where the Bears are sitting (No. 29) in this years first round, if they in fact are going to go for a tackle.

Theyre in a tricky spot, McShay said Thursday. Theres a chance that they dont make a move up, theres not going to be someone there that theyre in love with.

Jerry Angelo is on record with his thinking that good offensive linemen are at such a premium that teams often are forced to reach, taking linemen as much as two full rounds before their grade might warrant. Such is the possibly the Bears lot.

McShay identified Anthony Castonzo, Gabe Carimi, Tyron Smith and Nate Solder of Colorado as the clear top four tackles. After that you get into more a second-tier group, McShay said. If those four tackles are gonetheres a chance they do reach. Theyre probably reaching a bit and hoping.

None of the top three tackles are expected to be anywhere within reach of the Bears, if indeed they want a tackle. McShay lists Castonzo from Boston College as the most NFL-ready tackle in this draft, thinking left tackle, and Wisconsins Carimi as the right tackle.

But the player with the most upside in terms of who could develop out of this class, its Tyron Smith from USC, McShay said. And looking five years down the NFL road, he should be the best in this offensive-tackle class, McShay added.

Some bad news

McShay said that he has 28 players with first-round grades in this years draft. Not what you want to think about if youre, say, No. 29. But with the possibilities of reaching, that does not mean there wont be a first-round talent when the Bears turn comes.

Besides, McShay is not setting the Bears board. It really only matters what Jerry Angelo, Tim Ruskell, Lovie Smith and select coaches think.

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 claim Browns castoff defensive back K’Waun Williams

Bears claim Browns castoff defensive back K’Waun Williams

This could be interesting.

Bears coach John Fox made a passing reference to “owies” last week, an apparent reference to the typical nicks and bruises that players suffer, presumably falling on the safe side of the pain-vs.-injury line. Coaches like players to play when they can.

The Cleveland Browns suspended K’Waun Williams this offseason for two weeks after the former No. 1 Cleveland nickel cornerback refused to play in the Aug. 12 Browns preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers.

Now the Bears have claimed Williams, 25, waiving cornerback Kevin Peterson, and hope Williams is past what the Browns look to have deemed just their version of an “owie.”

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Williams’ release comes after a convoluted disagreement between player and team, with Williams obtaining medical opinions that he needed surgery to remove bone spurs from an ankle. The team said that Williams never informed them of his ankle problems until the day after the Green Bay game.

The Bears have struggled mightily this preseason to find anything close to a healthy cornerback. Starters Kyle Fuller (knee) and Tracy Porter (concussion) are currently sidelined along with nickel corner Bryce Callahan (hamstring). Jacoby Glenn started for Fuller at New England but also left with a concussion.

Bears O-line will benefit from ripple effect whenever Kyle Long returns

Bears O-line will benefit from ripple effect whenever Kyle Long returns

Pro Bowl right guard Kyle Long continued doing work on the side of Bears practice on Tuesday. He won’t play Thursday at Cleveland, but he represents a looming one-man shakeup of the offensive line — in a positive way — when he returns from a shoulder injury, presumably next week.

Coach John Fox demurred from saying that Long will be in the lineup when the Bears open the regular season Sept. 11 in Houston.

“We’re anticipating him at least being back out there to get ready for Houston,” was as far as Fox would go on Tuesday.

But Ted Larsen, who has filled in for Long at right guard while Cornelius Edison worked as the No. 1 center, has been taking some snaps at center, a hint that Long might be on course for a return for Houston.

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When that happens, it will effectively improve all three interior-line positions at the same time.

The upgrade at right guard is immediate and obvious. When Long was pressed into an emergency shift to right tackle the week before the opener vs. Green Bay last year, it sent Vlad Ducasse into the starting lineup at Long’s preferred spot. Long now represents an obvious upgrade over Larsen.

Installing Larsen at center, where he went after Hroniss Grasu suffered his season-ending knee injury, upgrades the center position over Edison, who has never played an NFL game.

The third upgrade happens at left guard, where rookie Cody Whitehair has settled in at the job he stepped into when Larsen was out late in the offseason. Whitehair is a rookie; Larsen, who has played center during his career, is better able to help Whitehair than Edison, certainly at this point in the latter’s career.

NFC North: Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater suffers dislocated knee, torn ACL

NFC North: Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater suffers dislocated knee, torn ACL

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday that franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee and torn ACL, likely ending his 2016 season before it began.

Bridgewater suffered the injury during Tuesday's practice, which was cancelled immediately following the non-contact incident. The 23-year-old quarterback was carted off the field and transported to a nearby hospital in an ambulance.

Vikings Director of Sports Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman released this statement on Bridgewater:

Teddy Bridgewater suffered a non-contact injury today at practice. The injury was quickly identified as a dislocated knee. The injury was stabilized, and he was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment and evaluation. After undergoing an MRI, it was determined that Teddy suffered a complete tear to his ACL and other structural damage. Fortunately, there appears to be no nerve or arterial damage. Surgical repair will be scheduled within the next few days. Although the recovery time will be significant, we expect Teddy to make a full recovery. I would like to thank all of the medical professionals and our athletic training staff for all of their help today. Teddy has already displayed the attitude needed to overcome this injury and attack his rehab.

Bridgewater, the Vikings' 2014 first-round draft pick, led Minnesota to their first division title since 2009 last season.

In two seasons, Bridgewater is 17-11 with 28 touchdowns, 21 interceptions with 6,150 passing yards and a 87.0 QBR.