Chicago Sun-Times

Reports: Lovie impressed at Arkansas pro day

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Lovie Smith walked away from Walker Pavilion on the University of Arkansas campus earlier today impressed with what he saw.

``There are quite a few athletes here that can step up to the next level and contribute right away,’’ Smith told ArkansasSports360.com. ``You’ve got a chance to have multiple first-round picks. That is special.’’

Those first-round picks could be Razorbacks running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, who Smith lunched with on Monday before Tuesday’s pro day. About 50 NFL scouts, coaches and front-office types showed up for the workout. McFadden and Jones did limited work as both showed well at the combine last month. They caught passes and did the bench press, each putting up 225 pounds 13 times. Also present was Bears Southwest scout Chris Ballard.

``I only go to a couple of places,’’ Smith told the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas. ``There are quite a few athletes here that can step up to the next level and contribute right away. We, of course going 7-9, could use a little bit of help, so we’re here.’’

McFadden is expected to be a top pick who might not escape the first five selections. Jones is more of a wild card and could be in play for the Bears if they trade down from their position in the first round at No. 14, or if he falls a bit to where they are in the second round at No. 44. Jones has great speed and burst, something everyone has been waiting to see from Cedric Benson, and averaged 7.7 yards per carry during his career. He’s not great out of the backfield as a receiver, but wouldn’t the Bears be happy if they could just find a durable workhorse back who gets the job done on the ground?

``I know they want offensive linemen,’’ said one source who was at the pro day. ``Jones can carry the load or he can be a specialty type of guy. Plus, he has some return ability so he could spell Devin [Hester] every now and then if they are playing him more at receiver. Logically, it could make sense. But they have to address the line. I think they can figure that out.’’

The source added that Ballard thinks Jones is ``special.’’ This didn’t come from Ballard himself, but I can tell you he’s not the kind of scout to throw that term around liberally. Certainly, Jones is someone to watch moving forward. The interesting thing is he’s represented by Eugene Parker, the same agent Benson uses. The Carolina Panthers are one team interested in Jones too. They met with him following the workout. The Dallas Morning News reports Jones has a visit to Valley Ranch scheduled.

The pro day circuit shifts to LSU Wednesday where the Tigers will have a talented group of players on display. Rutgers guard Jeremy Zuttah, who reportedly has had a private workout for the Bears, and running back Ray Rice will be on display at the Scarlet Knights pro day.

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26 Comments

I hope we are not seriously considering McFadden. That would be a huge mistake for us, as our line couldn't make Barry Sanders look good. Felix Jones would be an attractive option if we move up into the top of the second round if we send the 44th and 90th pick to Miami, who needs all kinds of help, and get the 32nd pick in return. We would still have the 3rd rounder from the Niners to use, and whatever compensatory picks we get would be a bonus.

If Lovie is serious about McFadden, we will have to mortgage our 2008 draft to get him, as we would have to move up to 4 to get him (14,44, and 70 would match up in total value for the #4 pick, which would leave us one other pick in the first three rounds at #90). I don't think we can afford to miss out on the youth we need on the roster. Our O-line is getting old at key spots, and we are awfully thin as far as depth at a lot of positions (RB, QB, OT, G, LB, S).

I would much rather see us go after the best OT on the board at 14, and use the 44 and 90 to get up to 32 and take either Jones or Flacco, and then use the 70 pick on another OL.

That blog wasn't very hard too think of... well for fans.
I like your plan. I coach and having a plan on draft day (like I did last year. 4 teams I didnt get to pick till 7th. I argued and got the 4th, but it was a lot of wasted time. We won every game and set records 7TD's by the same person in one game was nice. The same person that I didnt give the ball to him 1:30 passed in the 1st quarter. So, he turned into Mike brown.
Kenny Phillips was great for 3 years at UM. Terrible in senior year, so lets go and skip the newly formed missed tackles. Usually, that player is saving himself. I thought the world of him, but watch all their games. He disappointed.
Is that Bear philosophy? I love Gatorade showers.

This is not a smokescreen but Jones was the topic. He is multi-purpose back with kick return ability and with Hester getting more offensive reps they want to be able to alternate and have another threat. When they get to LSU for pro day there will be a smorgasbord of WR's, OL, DL, Safety, FB from a winning program and are used to winning.

Exactly. It's not glamorous, but a top notch line will make the running backs look better. It will even make Rex Grossman look better. Rebuild the line now with the picks there are and some of the other areas will also improve.

i love the bears and i live in WV but we need the best Tackle on the board at 14 weather it be clady, williams or the tackle from pitt but we need to get them in the first then get flacco in the 2nd he is another big ben even thought he didnt play top notch teams they can groom him the first 8 games then let him have at it because he can't do worse than grossman or orton. i love steve slaton in the 3rd but he lost a step last year i would like to c us trade our 08 draft pick and a 3rd to move back in the 1st round and get mendenhall pick the best receiver in the 3rd and go o-line 4th safety 5th, and special teams players with the 6th and 7th round picks but just think 1st rd tackle, mendenhall, flacco the bears back into the super bowl

Smith has a lot of reasons to be excited about the Arkansas running backs. They are both fast and productive...too bad neither will be on the Bears' roster in 2008. Running backs are moving up the draft boards and Mendenhall will be selected in the top 10.

The desperate desire for a running back, expressed by many bloggers, to replace (not compete with) Benson is detrimental to the cause of improving this team. In many ways, it emulates my father's stubborn refusal to reinforce the aging and overachieving offensive line with young talent over the past several seasons. By overstocking certain "favorite" positions (DE/LB) at the expense of the offensive line, Jerry Sr. has brought us to the breaking point. We are stuck with only one option...draft offensive linemen.

If the Bears wait until the 3rd and/or 4th round to select their "other" offensive lineman, then we can expect this player to be a project requiring a minimum of 1 year to develop. Again, Beekman (4th) got ZERO playing time on an incredibly average and injury depleted line in '07. It took Metcalf (3rd) over 4 years to get a start and I'm not looking for him to even make the team in '08. We need at least 2 talented STARTERS and 3rd rounders won't cut it. The weakness of the line increases the likelihood that the linemen we acquire will be immediate starters and impact players, helping to improve the running game and passing game.

Unless fans believe that inserting St.Clair into the LG position, or signing some other teams training camp casualty, will stabilize and elevate the play of the line, then there is no other option but to select OL in the first AND second round.


Wait a sec this is actually interesting, Mcfadden the Bears would have to trade up for and they will not do that and Jones well they would have to trade down but that does not mean he would be there when the bears pick. Also Jones is a change of pace type of back. He would be great in the backfield with a Jamal Lewis type. But if he can not run between the tackles there is no point given the the fact that the Bears like to run between the Tackles. Now that I think about it this the second time Lovie has gone to see a player that will not be there when the Bears pick. Clady now McFadden. Well he is probably going just in case but he is also probably doing a little smoke screening. The Bears first pick remains a mystery man. Wonder who they have graded out that they really like. Then again they really liked Benson.

Joe, Sanders often ran behind a really bad Oline, he was just that good. Sayers also ran behind a bad Oline and so did Payton for a large part of his carrer. A really good back can get it done even behind the worst of lines, although it has a tendency to shorten there careers just a bit.

As I have said many times before you build a team from the trenches out. Jerry, Jerry, Jerry YOU NEED LARGE ANGRY MEN. There will be running backs in the third and fourth round, Jerry there is no sense drafting any defense until the SECOND DAY!! And change of pace backs are not the answer, Ced is done he was bad without a plate and screws what makes you think he's going to be better?? Stop looking at small OL this isn't Denver. And the new 2nd round of the msn mock draft has the Bears drafting Andre Woodson (are they crazy) we already have a qb with poor mechanics and no coaching to fix him why get another. Yeah Creighton bad lines shorten great backs careers but the real killer is 25+ carries per game.

True enough Creighton on the great backs playing behind average to bad offensive lines, but most of our running plays are so clearly telegraphed that the defensive tackles can take the handoffs before the running backs. If they don't have an ounce of space when the ball hits their hands, they can't succeed. We don't even give them a chance.

Style of the running game also has a lot to do with it. Sanders, Sayers, and Payton all were very good at the pitch outs and sweeps (outside runs), where the Bears of today do not do that well at all. I think that is a major part of the difference between the situations. If we could get to the edges, our running game would look a lot better. Defensive speed hurts that, but at the same time, our complete and utter lack of offensive speed at running back (regardless of who is handling the ball), and the inability to seal the defensive end on either side makes those plays doomed to failure before they start.

Sayers did not have to contend with linebackers who were as fast as he was, and Walter was excellent at pressing the edge and turning the corner. And as you say, Sanders was just that good at making people miss. All three of these backs are in the Hall Of Fame. I would agree that great backs can get it done, but they get a lot of help, even if the offensive line talent is shoddy. When you can run either inside or outside, the defense can't stack the box with 8 or 9 guys. They have to spread out, or hold back a little. So that also made the great backs more successful. They scared the defense into slower reaction times. We not only telegraph our offense, we shorten the field for them so they don't have to do anything other than cover Berrian downfield, and the other 10 guys can stay within 15 yards of scrimmage.

But there are other ways. Emmitt Smith is the NFL's all time leading rusher, but I wouldn't even put him in my top 10 backs of all time. The reasons for his record? Great offensive line. Good QB. Playing the Cardinals twice a year for most of his career. While we can't play the Cardinals, we do play the Lions twice :) But finding a franchise running back who is capable of being one of the greats is not that easy. Will Mendenhall be a great back? Maybe, but it's hard to tell with only 15 starts to his name. McFadden could either be the next Adrian Peterson, or the next KiJana Carter/Curtis Enis/Blair Thomas. I think it would be easier to turn our offensive line into a good unit (doesn't have to be great) and letting the running game improve by better blocking. Jamal Lewis was considered done in Baltimore, but in Cleveland, where they added Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach (and had a great passing attack), he has 1200 yards and looks 25 again. So if we improve the blocking up front, give the QB and the RB a little space, we can look a lot better with Benson and either Orton or Grossman at QB. If Benson's ankle is really bad enough to be career threatening (don't you have to have a career before it can be threatened?), then there will be a new face in the lineup either way. LaMont Jordan could be released if the Raiders draft McFadden, and a few others could hit the street after the draft that we can use, but a draft pick is likely.

J.A. Jr.
Those backs did great behind those mediocre lines.
Our current line is not even that good...what is below mediocre?...
The point is we don't have a great back, so that is probably not going to happen. OL 1st and 3rd. Just to show us that the Franchise cares a little.
McFadden seems great. Especially with the RB's we have.

Joe, LaMont Jordan is a interesting call but the remarks about Benson, they have been secretive even when he was healthy and with the financial situation Angelo has pidgeon-holed himself with Benson and this soap opera has to play itself out. They refuse to just lose the money without giving it every chance to work. I hope he doesn't force the issue and does what is best for the team, and furthermore not let it become a distraction. Can someone tell me who Pep Hamilton is and his function?

Offensive lineman are the present and future of this team. I agree with the fact that you can't get anything done with a person who blocks like tissue paper. It doesn't matter who is running the ball at this point we need our line to be intact plus we need an impact WR or WR's this is the fact. Safeties come a dime a dozen. Mc Fadden will be long gone by the time we pick at 14 remember what happen to Minnesota when they gave up their present and future to get Herschel Walker. No you do what Lovie did after drooling, hoping, and wishing and praying about McFadden he came back down to earth. He started looking at the Rutgers OL.

An interesting point I read on Bears website - The Lions draft right after the Bears; if Mendenhall is still there and the Bears pass, the Lions will take him. Can the Bears afford to have Adrian Peterson and Mendenhall both in the NFC North, facing them each twice a year? Meanwhile, we trot out Cedric-Go-Boom. That would be ugly.

Joe telegraph is being kind. I believe right before a running play Turner phones the opposing teams defensive Cord. and tells him the play. Then they send Benson out there so the other team can watch the play in slow motion from the sidelines and laugh at us.

Also any one who thinks Lovie is actually thinking they are getting McFadden, cmon he won't fall past 6 or 7 he is the best player in this draft. The Bears draft right in the middle of this Draft they are not getting him. Lovie just wanted to see what a real back looks like. Now he is really confused, he then called Angelo about it and Angelo was like speed and skill are overrated, what you need to do is find yourself a guy with injury issues who is dropping, then you get him for cheap.

Bears list of desriable traits in offensive players
1. Cheap
2. Injury history
3. Intangibles
4. Attitude problem
5. Difficult to sign
6. No natrual athletic ability
7. Must be slow
8. Bad Hands
9. Character (just so they can say they look for character guys)
10.Must lack motivation and crave money

Negatives
1. Talented
2. Athletic ability
3. Speed
4. Intelligence
5. Hard working
6. Team Player
7. Good hands
8. Is nice to the fans
9. Healthy
10.Good character guy with high morals.

dj there actually is an out with Benson that could cover Angelo. If he can't play because of an injury the team will not blame Angelo, they will probably ignore the fact that he couldn't play when healthy.

You know what I find funny about this blog, Lovie is impressed at the proday. By what Jones and Mcfadden didn't even run and didn't even try in the Bench press. All he did was have lunch with them. Lovie must love good table manners. Check list: Keeps elbows off table, chews with mouth closed, knows how to use a knife and fork, and make polite conversation.

Yep they both have what it takes to make it from what I have seen at there pro day. LMAO, it's such a smoke screen, they are probably trying to mess with the Cowboys to get them to trade up.

McFadden is gone to the Raiders at #4, if not sooner.

Question.If the Bears are cheap then tell me how they get players that lack motivation and craves money? Interesting.Ohhh Creighton is trying to be funny. O.K.

I dont think the Bears need just one RB.The Bears need 2. I like the 2 back system.Benson is pretty much on this team only because the Bears would have taken a huge cap hit.If he retires will the Bears be compinsated?I dont think Wolfe this year is going to take on any load.He needs to beef up a little. A.P. is a valuble player on this team.Hes better suited to for 10-15 plays a game.
With that said, I sure would like to see a stud running back.A RB that can rush the ball 20-25 times.Draft another RB this year or 09 that can compliment the stud.
The 2 back system worked with Benson and Jones.It was to bad Benson had to be a cry baby and Jones not being a team player.If both of those guys could have worked together,Jones and Benson stoped the fighting, and Jones not being a Brat that wanted to be paid more and have the ball more.The Bears might have been able to keep those 2.Not that Benson would have been any better but Thomas Jones by far is a better NFL running back.
Im pretty sure that McFadden will be gone and Felix Jones will be there at the 14th pick.I have said in the past the Bears need help at O-Line and use the first 3 picks on linemen.Thinking it through alot more the Bears NEED to draft a running back that can come in and produce in 08.Heck if not 1 maybe drafting 2 backs this year.
REM has an interesting point.Im not so sure that the Cowboys will give up both of their pick in the first round also not so sure if the Cowboys are even interested in Mendenhall.It sure would be nice to be in the Cowboys situation.The Bears could draft a linemen and possibly get Felix Jones.I like Mendenhall but I dont see him on the Chicago Bears.Im thinking that he wont even be at the 14th spot,but then again he could be their if teams draft for needs insted of the best player.To draft a player based on the idea that you dont want him to go onto another team sounds kinda like the NBA draft.I dont think drafting a player not to see him on another team is a little far fetch.I can tell ya that I do not want to see Mendenhall on the Lions.
Jerry go out there and go draft crazy.

Pep is the QB coach DJSSR.

Brando yes it was a joke and how clever of you to figure that out all by your self. Or as you like to say "we figure it out", or "we all know". You remind me of Gollum and the Bears are your ring. Go team Brando and your We team.

I won't argue with you if the Bears are cheap or not though, cause there is no point. They are very well known as being a cheap team. It's part of there history, there players talk about it, former players talk about it, most experts make jokes about it. It's pretty much a well known fact.

If you have anything to say we are listening, oh yes we are. We like the words of the Bears.

Now Brando I hope you realize that if you didn't start nothing, there wouldn't be nothing. But you always have to start off with a dig.

I also notice that Your back Brando and wow so is Anonymous at the same time. What a shock.

Lovie and Angelo are KILLING ME!! Meeting with McFadden and Jones was nothing more than a P.R. move to make us fan think that they would actually be willing to sacrafice something to bring in a stud the fans can be proud of. Yes, we need a line but you'd have to applaud the front office for trying to bring in the best player in the draft. And all you guys that disagree will still be rushing out to grab a McFadden jersey (don't say you wouldn't) and brag to our friends that we finally have a guy on offense that somebody ever heard of. Listen, the Bears are Cheap. Lets face it. I can't recall us ever moving up in the first round cause Angelo was hired to watch the McCaskeys pocketbook. We'll draft a bum for cheap and sell a story to the fans about how high character the guy is. High character = AKA Cheap. How can you continue to raise ticket prices without any offensive stars? Does anyone see that our Offense has sucked for years. Helllllo!! Lets all pile in to soldier field to watch the winner of the QB battle. Neckbeard vs. the Gross guy and Benson (I mean Bumson) vs. the wrong AP. I know, I know.....now that Bookers back we'll have some offense right? How much did he cost us? Somebody wake me when it's over.

Every superbowl winner i've seen in 35 yrs of watching had at least one stud on the offensive line like jumbo elliot,pace, or bubba parish.If the tunas smart he'll snap up chris long at # 1 unless he won't pre-agree to sign. The bears left themselves with no alternative but too take a left tackle at 14 and have more holes than can be filled in one draft becouse they refused to pay a free agent. if you remember the bears could'nt run at the beggining of the lost superbowl year untill Groosman and Berrian burned teams deep and forced them to quit playing shallow with eight man fronts. now berrian and all our passprotection are gone

Hey Antzfarm, what are you talking about. Everyone knows the Bears are the kings of offense. You want star players try this one: Bandon Lloyd, oh yeah baby this guy is the goods, Randy Moss who? We got John St.Claire at Ot, we got the Wolfe man at running back Hoooowwwwwlllll, and Sexy Rexy is bringing the rain. You want offense I give you the Chicago Bears and the greatest offensive Coordinator of all time the real Burner Ron Turner.

I recently started working for the Chicago Bears new PR office.

You Bears fans are all great, and all of you are right. When you are not wrong like now, right. We are sorry to have to raise ticket prices again this year but we are only 30+ million under the cap and Virginia wants a new Island. Hahaha. For real your all great and we love Chicago. Thsi year we are releasing a new Green Bears Jersey, if you are a true fan you will but one. Now stop complaining or will move the team. For real though we lvoe the fans. Loosers, no really just kidding. Well not really.

Virginia wants a new island!? LOL.

Hey Creighton in your last statment you forgot to say that the Bears also have Terrence Metcalf as theire star right Gaurd.
Not a one time in this Forem have Bolgged under Anonymous.Anytime that I forget to put my name I will tell the readers.Also the Anonymous post mostly have correct spelling I dont.
What is with the we thing.I will use we as in we the fans.I will never use we referingto the Bears.Sounds cheap and lazy.

Creighton your list was extremly ignorant and lacked sense

Whats new Sahrish

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 25, 2008 8:17 PM.

Bears keeping tabs on athletic Rutgers lineman Zuttah was the previous entry in this blog.

Zuttah climbing up draft boards UPDATED is the next entry in this blog.

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