Chicago Sun-Times

UPDATED: Clearing the smoke en route to the draft

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We’re headed down the home stretch. We’ll try to tie together some loose ends here and then gear up for the action Saturday.

Inside the Bears will be doing a continuously updated blog from Halas Hall Saturday starting around 1 p.m. We’ll keep it alive and rolling as best we can until the nuisance known as deadline for the Sunday print edition comes along. The draft begins at 2 and with 10 minutes per pick, the Bears don’t figure to be selecting at No. 14 until some time around 4.

UPDATE: The Devin Thomas information has been updated in another post. Offensive quality control coach Charles London put the Michigan State wide receiver through a workout today.

*** The seed planted by Drew Rosenhaus, the Bears or both on Thursday that the club was checking out Michigan State wide receiver Devin Thomas turned out to be a smoke screen. As in it was a hoax. We will count ourselves guilty of being suckered in and are here to set the record straight. Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake did not travel to Michigan to meet with the top prospect today.

Many expect Thomas to be the first receiver off the board, selected by the Buffalo Bills at No. 11. Obviously, news that the Bears would be interested helps Thomas in the event the Bills do not select him, and helps the Bears as they do their damnedest to make someone believe they’re not targeting an offensive tackle.

We also speculated here Thursday that Drake might have his eye on some vacation property in Michigan. That still may prove to be true, but he’s not looking for land there today either.

*** Dallas Morning News draft guru Rick Gosselin released his list of top 100 players today. Charting the tackles it goes like this—No. 4 Jake Long, No. 9 Ryan Clady, Jeff Otah No. 16, Chris Williams No. 20 and G/OT Branden Albert checks in at No. 18. After Gosder Cherilus at No. 26, Gosselin doesn’t list another tackle until Anthony Collins at No. 49. Sam Baker is No. 51.

*** Mike Mulligan, a tireless supporter of Inside the Bears, pairs the team up with Vanderbilt offensive tackle Chris Williams in his mock draft today.

*** In the event Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall slips past the Bears and Detroit Lions at No. 15, look for him to possibly land in Arizona at No. 16. The Cardinals’ preference is to grab a top cornerback, but if they’re off the board Arizona wants to upgrade its running game over Edgerrin James. Our friend Vic Carucci at has Mendenhall falling into the lap of the Bears, however, in his most recent mock draft.

***’s Mike Sando has an interesting breakdown of the value of all picks in the first round from 2000 through 2007. He charts how players performed at each slot in the first round—players who exceeded expectations, met expectations and fell below expectations. The best pick? No. 5. Four players in that slot have exceeded expectations and four have met expectations.

Where does No. 14 fall? It ranks 10th. Two players have exceeded, and you’d think the Bears’ Tommie Harris is one of them, four have met expectations and two have fallen below expectations. The Bears’ Michael Haynes did not meet expectations.

The last eight players to go 14th: Jets CB Darrelle Revis 2007, Eagles DT Brodrick Bunkley 2006, Panthers S Thomas Davis 2005, Bears DT Tommie Harris 2004, Bears DE Michael Haynes 2003, Giants TE Jeremy Shockey 2002, Tampa OT Kenyatta Walker 2001, Packers TE Bubba Franks 2000.

The worst slot? No. 26. Five players selected there have fallen below expectations. May the Jaguars be forewarned.

We’ll have more evaluation of the 14th pick and what it means later on.

*** General manager Jerry Angelo has yet to trade up on the first day of the draft in six years.

The last time the Bears moved up in the first round? They dealt the 18th, 63rd and 201st picks in 1996 to St. Louis for the 13th pick, which was used on CB Walt Harris.

The last time the Bears moved up in the second round? They actually maneuvered up in 1997 trading the 40th and 173rd selections to St. Louis to draft TE John Allred with the 38th pick. No telling if Allred actually would have lasted to 173 that year.

*** Family matters? Bears coach Lovie Smith has ties to Arkansas running back Felix Jones. He played with Jones’ uncle at Tulsa.

*** Saw Mike Brown walking down the hallway in Halas Hall Thursday morning. He was wearing a smile on his face.

*** The Bears will conduct a three-day rookie minicamp starting next Friday. It is closed to the public.

Check back soon for more.

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It's nice to know you saw Mike walking around with a smile. Maybe it is a premonition of things to come.

Looking for a big draft this weekend for the club. Hope to get at least 2 o-lineman in the draft, a RB, and possibly developmental QB on day 2, although if Brohm is there early in 2nd round we'd be crazy not to take a look. To me the o-line value is in the third to fifth rounds(heard good things about the No. Iowa lineman for this area),especially looking at someone to play guard, also Kevin Smith is looking better everyday at RB, he has a chip on his shoulder and something he wants to prove, something Benson has not shown us to this point. Someone put Marcus Monk Ark out here as a late round pick for wideout, they may be onto something here also, Brad have the Bears looked at him at all?

I wonder if Jerry will stay the course, move down, and try to build through quantity rather than quality. I would be ok with it because I think the difference between an Otah or Chris Williams and Gosder Cherilus leans in favor of Cherilus, who I believe could start day 1 at RT. If we use all the tools in our arsenal (Ricky Manning Jr. for one) in addition to the draft picks, we should be able to move around quite a bit.

So Gosselin Ranks Williams as the fifth best oline prospect, right behind Otah and undeveloped RT, Albert a OG who projects as a better LT than Williams, Long a guy who is suppose to be more of a RT and Clady who is not all there up top. Kevin what have I been telling you about that guy. Now Gosselin agrees with me and you know I have been talking about this for a month. Well it's good too know the draft experts are catching up with me. I wonder what RB Gosselin will have the Bears taking at number 14.

I am glad to here Brown can walk again. I wonder how long it will be before he is back in his wheelchair.

Well I think we all knew the Thomas thing was a smoke screen.

chitownbear: I aree with you about Kevin Smith. He'd be a steal in a 3rd or possibly 4th round pick. The Bears must go LT (Williams, Otah, or unlikely Clady slipping) unless Mendenhall is somehow still on the board, which will also prevent the Lions from hurting us with him for years to come.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 25, 2008 11:16 AM.

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