Need No. 9--Inside linebacker
Players on roster
MLB Brian Urlacher (signed through 2012)
SLB/MLB Hunter Hillenmeyer (2011)
The word is Urlacher has spent much of his offseason around Halas Hall working to ensure he will be in top shape when business gets going. That has never been an issue for him though. Urlacher always is in terrific shape. That's just the kind of worker he is in the gym. It will be interesting to see what level he can play at with Bob Babich returning to coach linebackers and Lovie Smith overseeing the defense.
Will Urlacher's role change somewhat? Will he be in position to make more plays than he has the past two seasons? Hillenmeyer is a capable backup who knows the scheme and might be best suited on the inside. But if the Bears are looking to the future, they'll need to address this position at some point and Lance Briggs figures to have more time left as an elite player than Urlacher.
Who the Bears have been looking at
The Bears like to say that their positions are interchangeable at linebacker even if the job descriptions are somewhat different. So we'll run down the names we listed at outside linebacker--Wisconsin's DeAndre Levy, TCU's Stephen Hodge, Notre Dame's Maurice Crum Jr., Murray State's Nathan Williams and San Diego State's Russell Allen.
Coming Sunday: Strong safety.