The Bears got together with Tulane running back Matt Forte on Thursday in New Orleans in a get-to-know-you session. They broke bread, chatted and then broke down film for a couple hours.
With the team having a pressing need to draft an offensive tackle with the 14th overall pick, Forte is among a group of running backs expected to be available when the Bears go on the clock in the second round with the 44th pick. Coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo have discussed the depth the position has in this draft with Smith talking about it Wednesday at the owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla.
``It’s probably better getting linemen earlier,’’ Smith told reporters at the owners meetings. ``More running backs have turned out later in the draft than have offensive linemen.’’
True enough. But the team that gets off the bus running needs to have someone to hand the ball to.
While Forte might not be exceptional in any one area, he can do everything well and caught more than 100 passes in his college career, making him adept out of the backfield as a receiver. He’s also considered solid in blitz support.
The Bears are not the only team checking him out. Cincinnati sent a representative to New Orleans earlier this week and the Detroit Lions also checked in on him again. Forte has already made an official visit to Detroit. He’s expected to get together with his hometown Saints next week and then make a visit to San Diego April 11.
USA Today names him a guy that’s under the radar. While that might have been the case a month or so ago, his 4.44-second 40-yard dash at the combine and 6-2, 217-pound frame have had teams excited since.