John Danks won’t be knocking the Bears’ first-round pick off the back page of Sunday’s Sun-Times.
Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones broke up his perfect game bid in the sixth inning down the road from Halas Hall at U.S. Cellular Field.
We’re digging in in the auditorium here for a long day. The Dolphins will go on the clock for an anticlimactic announcement in 45 minutes. Look for the Bears to pick some time around 4.
We’ll check back soon.
CHRIS WILLIAMS DROPPING?
Mike Mayock of NFL Network reports that Vanderbilt offensive tackle Chris Williams may be off draft boards for some teams because of a ``neck and cervical’’ injury. Williams was a model of durability during his college career.
If he’s off the Bears’ board, that would seemingly limit potential offensive line selections to Boise State’s Ryan Clady, Pittsburgh’s Jeff Otah and Virginia’s Branden Albert.
There’s no guarantee all three will be there when the Bears select at No. 14. It’s certainly interesting. One league source said earlier this week that a prospect everyone has going in round one would drop because of an unknown medical condition. Is it Williams? Or is it a smoke screen that’s been started by a club with the hope that Williams drops?
T-MED MAKING THE PICKS ... WELL, SUBMITTING THEM
Equipment manager Tony Medlin, approaching his 22nd season with the team, is manning the phone line for the Bears at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
He’s the man who hands in the cards with the Bears’ draft picks.
WHAT QB’S DO THE BEARS THINK ABOUT NOW?
So much for the idea Matt Ryan would make like Brady Quinn and be a candidate for a remake of a video to Tom Petty’s “Freefalling.”
Chad Henne. Joe Flacco. Brian Brohm.
The Bears could consider one of those three at some point today. Otherwise, you’re looking at them waiting until Sunday, maybe Round 4 or later for a developmental passer.
COULD CHIEFS DEAL UP NOW TO GRAB AN O-LINEMAN?
With the Chiefs taking LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey with the No. 5 pick ... look for Kansas City to see if it can swing a trade to get an offensive tackle.
The Chiefs could partner up with Buffalo at No. 11 to put themselves in position to snag a tackle ahead of Denver, Carolina, the Bears, Houston and Philadelphia, other franchise interested in tackles. Kansas City has the 17th pick acquired from Minnesota for defensive end Jared Allen and could package it with some of its other selections to slide up.
PATS TRADE, SAINTS PICK LEAVES TACKLES OUT THERE
With New England dealing the No. 7 pick to New Orleans where the Saints selected USC DT Sedrick Ellis, there are four top offensive lineman available with six picks before the Bears go on the clock.
Teams that could grab an offensive lineman ahead of the Bears? New England at No. 10, Denver at No. 12 and Carolina at No. 13. The No. 11 pick could be in play for a tackle if Buffalo trades out.
BEARS WILL HAVE LINEMEN TO CHOOSE FROM
Five picks to go and four linemen are still on the board—Ryan Clady, Branden Albert, Jeff Otah and Chris Williams. I would doubt the Bengals take one at No. 9. Looks like the Bengals have targeted USC linebacker Keith Rivers.
Look for a run on some cornerbacks here soon. Leodis McKelvin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should be off the board soon. The Pats could take one right here.
Worst-case scenario ... the Bears get to pick between two of Branden Albert, Ryan Clady, Jeff Otah and Chris Williams.
Or do they head a different direction and grab RB Rashard Mendenhall?
Denver is on the board and could take Clady or Williams here. Or maybe a running back.
So much for moving up to grab the tackle you want. Ryan Clady from Boise State is gone.
The Bears quite possibly could have found trade partners in New England at No. 10 and Buffalo at No. 11.
Now, they’ll have to choose between what’s left assuming they stay with a tackle at No. 14.
General manager Jerry Angelo has not traded up on the first day of the draft since running Bears drafts starting in 2002.
BEARS SELECT OT CHRIS WILLIAMS
The Bears have chosen OT Chris Williams of Vanderbilt with the 14th pick in the 2008 draft.
WILLIAMS CAN STEP IN AT LEFT TACKLE IMMEDIATELY
Chris Williams gives the Bears an athletic performer who should be able to come in and play left tackle immediately. He needs to get stronger but the Bears believe they can improve themselves at left tackle and right tackle by moving John Tait back to his more natural position. Williams is a building block for an offense in flux. We’ll be able to ask general manager Jerry Angelo about the NFL Network report regarding Williams’ neck here soon.
BEARS, WILLIAMS INSIST NECK NOT AN ISSUE
Just completed press conferences with Jerry Angelo, Lovie Smith and Chris Williams. We’ll be going through the tape here.
Smith said the plan is to play Williams at left tackle, so provided he shows he is ready to start as a rookie John Tait will be on the move to the right side.
Angelo said they checked Williams out medically once, twice and a third time. Williams said he hasn’t had a neck injury since a burner in 2005.
We’ll check back after we sort through these questions.
When Smith was asked about Williams being a better pass blocker than a run blocker, he said he thought he did both well. And he said Williams know what the Bears do ... "get off the bus running."
Does that mean a running back comes next at No. 44?
WILLIAMS ADDRESSES SUPPOSED NECK ISSUE
“I don’t have any neck issues. I don’t know where that rumor came from. I had a typical football player burner in ’05, and that was the last time I had … I wear a cowboy collar so I don’t know if that makes me have neck issues or not, but I haven’t had any neck issues.”
ANGELO EXPLAINS WHY WILLIAMS WAS THE SELECTION
"He played the position (left tackle), his play history. Jeff Otah came out early, Branden Albert was a guard, maybe he had three or four starts at tackle. Coach Harry Hiestand went out and worked all three of them out so he had a real good handle. We liked all three players very much and it was just a matter of taking the player with the best history at the position and the player we knew the best, and we just felt like when we were going out in the off-season we're looking to shoot holes in all these players. We probably shot fewer holes in him than we did the other two so in the ne3d we felt he was the best player for us."
BRING 'EM: WHO IS YOUR PICK AT NO. 44?
I'll throw out the possibility of Texas running back Jamaal Charles if he's still on the board. Thinking the chances are iffy.
Otherwise, how about a guard here?
Angelo drafted defensive tackles in the first two rounds in 2004. That worked out well until Tank Johnson got caught with a gun in his car outside a club downtown and then got caught with a whole stash of them in his Gurnee home and then came within about 0.008 of a DUI in Arizona.
Taking two linemen to start the draft could rebuild the group in one day.
Or will a quarterback be around?
BIG RUN ON RECEIVERS STARTS
Three of the last four picks have been wide receivers -- Donnie Avery, Devin Thomas and Jordy Nelson. Looks like a half-dozen or more could go in this round.
While the Bears have a great need at receiver, I see them going with a running back first.
Listen to them ... they get off the bus running.
But what if Chad Henne and Brian Brohm keep falling?
There are seven more picks until the Bears are up.
BEARS ON THE CLOCK
Everyone here thought the Vikes were jumping ahead of the Bears at No. 43 to take a quarterback.
They went with Arkansas State safety Tyrell Johnson.
Do the Bears pull the trigger on a triggerman?
We'll know in minutes.
FORTE IT IS
The Bears passed on quarterbacks Chad Henne and Brian Brohm and brought in competition for Cedric Benson by selecting Tulane running back Matt Forte.
The Bears were all over Forte after the combine and stayed true with their interest.
FORTE IS A THREE-DOWN BACK
General manager Jerry Angelo came downstairs to discuss the selection of Matt Forte and said one of the things that pushed him to the top in the decision process was his ability to be a three-down back and be productive in the passing game.
"We have to be a running football team,'' Angelo said. "We haven't changed our philosophy."
ANGELO DISAPPOINTED BRIGGS BEING HAULED BACK TO COURT
General manager Jerry Angelo said at the combine in February he was comfortable with character issues surrounding Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs.
He's got cause for concern now after the Sun-Times reported this week that Briggs is headed back to court to answer for why he left Illinois without permission and how he's managed to complete just two of 120 hours of community service following his guilty plea on leaving the scene of an accident following his Lamborghini smashup on the Edens Expy.
"Disappointed, obviously, that he’s behind. We got a hold of him the last few days, and he says he’s on it. We’ve talked to his legal counsel and we’re going to get more involved in the process to make sure that all the follow-up is done. And Lance assurred us that he’s going to take care of it. He’s a little bit behind, but he’ll get it done and we’re on it, too."
"We’re involved in this. He’s got to do some catch-up and he’s got time to do it, but obviously he’s got to get on it right now. He understands that, so I’m confident that he’ll take care of his business."
Sounds like the Bears might have fallen asleep on the situation as well.
Briggs is skipping the voluntary offseason program while in Arizona and has forfeited a $250,000 workout bonus in his new $36 million, six-year contract.
DEADLINE IS FAST APPROACHING
Have to hit some goals for Sunday's print edition.
I'll have a wrap-up on thoughts, Day 1 nuggets and a look ahead to Day 2.
But that's not going to come until later.
Check back and thanks for joining in.