Gossip, buzz and other things percolating in the hours before the end of mock drafts and the start of the real one
DT or DE for Bears?
the Bears are expected to select a defensive lineman with their first pick, whether at No. 19 or thereabouts. But an end or a tackle? And which one?
One NFL personnel vet told CSNChicago.com that he thinks the Bears opt for Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, with this reasoning:
First, the Bears do at least have three starter-grade D-tackles (Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Matt Toeaina) but only two proven D-ends (Israel Idonije, Julius Peppers). If theres a need, its on the outside. Besides, Idonije can contribute as a nickel rushman inside.
Second, Idonije, Peppers and Corey Wootton all are 6-6 or taller. Jones is the only one of the top handful of ends even as tall as 6-4. Jones didnt have the production of Melvin Ingram (6-1), Whitney Mercilus (6-3) or some others but the Bears like long bodies in quarterbacks fields of vision.
Chances are very, very good that the Bears opt for a little more explosion and pure speed in Mercilus if they have a choice.
CSNChicago.com has stressed the need for perspective amid the breathless acclaim some have accorded GM Phil Emery for the Bears being so active in free agency, because the real measure of Emery is the draft and effecting a turnaround in that difficult area. Indeed, the Bears have been about the same degree of active this year as last.
The Bears this offseason have signed nine free agents from other teams.
On offense: running back Michael Bush, quarterback Jason Campbell, receivers Devin Thomas and Eric Weems and guard Chilo Rachal. On defense, cornerbacks Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite and linebackers Blake Costanzo.
In the drastically truncated offseason after the lockout last year, the Bears signed nine free agents from other teams.
On offense: running back Marion Barber, guard Chris Spencer, receivers Roy Williams and Sam Hurd, and tight end Matt Spaeth. On defense: tackle Amobi Okoye and end Vernon Gholston, plus punter Adam Podlesh.
The trade for receiver Brandon Marshall makes the 2012 addition total 10 and represents the only sure position-player starter. Spencer (at center), Podlesh and Williams were presumed starters after their 2011 signings.
Repeating: It's all about the draft.
The draft "starts" at No. 3 overall
...the No.3 pick continues to roil as Minnesota Vikings do the eeny-meeny-miny-mo dance with USC tackle Matt Kalil and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. The surprise will be if Kalil indeed goes No. 3. The Vikes need a left tackle but cornerback is arguably a higher need.
More importantly, teams are drooling for Claiborne and Alabama running back Trent Richardson, considered the next two best players in this draft after the quarterbacks. Who trades up to No. 3 for Claiborne or Richardson, to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the former or the Cleveland Browns to the latter? The Vikings are taking bids that will add picks and let them take Kalil a few picks later if they dont stay right where they are and take Claiborne.
Expect an unexpected
something will happen ahead of the Bears. It always does somewhere in the first round, whether a trade that scrambles the order of selection because a team wanted someone or because a supposed popular choice went unselected (Brady Quinn-like) and left options there for a team in the No. 19 range.
GM Phil Emery isnt concerned as much about a team turning the day upside down so much as a player possibly creating an opportunity or a need to move out of 19.
Not necessarily a team, Emery said. Its the players on the board. Whos still available? When it comes time to our pick, whos still available? Thats why we have seven players in the mix, so that we have a solution to whatever scenario happens in front of us or around us.
Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox could go top 10. He could slide into the teens. Same with massive D-tackles Dontari Poe from Memphis or LSU giant Michael Brockers. Same with enigmatic North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples.
Alabama safety Mark Barron has gone higher with each days mock drafts. The Dallas Cowboys hoped hed be there at No. 14. Not likely now.
Stanford guard David DeCastro has been projected as high as No. 7 and as late as 25. Same with Notre Dame wideout Michael Floyd.
Do the math: Someone will drop and it could give the Bears a nice problem decision at No. 19, or later via trade-down.