If Manti Te'o drops to the Bears do you take him? Also, if Matt Barkley drops to the second round do you take a gamble on him to groom him for the future? -- Tim Miller, Endwell, N.Y.
I would consider Te'o if I were the Bears, without a doubt, and take him if he were the best option. But I would hope a better player would fall to 20. A trade-down scenario also could make sense in which the Bears could end up with Te'o by moving down a few spots while acquiring an extra draft pick. As for Barkley, I like that idea but have reservations. The problem is the Bears have so many needs and so few choices that it would difficult to justify taking a player who would be a luxury in the second round. I'd be surprised if Barkley fell all the way to the 52nd pick of the draft.
Would you take Manti Te'o over Jonathan Cooper now? -- @bguff11, from Twitter
Absolutely not. Te'o has value because he plays middle linebacker and there aren't a lot of middle linebackers in the draft. Cooper, on the other hand, plays a position which typically is devalued in the player acquisition process. But Te'o is not the same kind of elite prospect Cooper is. Put it this way -- I would feel good about taking Cooper with the tenth pick of the draft. I would feel good about taking Te'o with the 25th pick of the draft.
If somehow Alec Ogletree drops to 20, would Phil Emery stay loyal to his board and take him over the fifth or sixth best tackle in the draft? He can then go for the line in round two. Sure Alec's got some baggage but I believe he will be a stud who not only would look great at MLB for us for a decade, but would look awful in green and gold if the Packers took him at No. 26! -- Phil, Chicago
I think there is little doubt Emery would take Ogletree ahead of the fifth or sixth best OT -- as long as Emery were comfortable with Ogletree's off-the-field issues. Ogletree reportedly has failed a drug test, and he has been picked up for driving under the influence. That is what you would call a pattern of bad behavior. And patterns like that make general managers uneasy. Ogletree might be as much of a risk as the fifth best OT in the draft as a result. That being said, the potential with him is much greater. That's why I don't believe he will last to the 20th pick. Someone will justify the risk for the potential reward.
What do you think of Ryan Swope to the Bears in the second? I don't think he lasts to the fourth. Quality football player. -- @JoeyDevine12
The second round had been considered a little high for Swope, but that might have changed after he ran a 4.34 in the 40 yard dash at the scouting combine. Swope was not previously considered a speed receiver based on his play. A lot of teams are in the process of re-evaluating Swope to find out if his college tape or his timed speed is more reflective of what the player can become. If the Bears come to the conclusion that he can play to his 4.34 time, he would be a fine second round pick. But if there are players rated similarly at other positions of greater need, the Bears might pass on Swope and try to address wide receiver later in the draft.
Might the Bears will show any interest in Cullen Jenkins or Glenn Dorsey and let Henry Melton leave? He's not a franchise tackle. -- @DehnertP, from Twitter
I don't see that happening. I don't see how the Bears defense gets better by losing Henry Melton. Obviously, there would be a salary cap and budget benefit in freeing up that money. But the Bears need interior pass rush. And it's hard to find. If Jenkins could provide it without a doubt, he'd still be in Philly. Dorsey is intriguing, but he is an unknown as a 4-3 defensive tackle. He was playing end in a 3-4. This team has to continue to develop promising young defenders like Melton, Corey Wootton, Shea McClellin, Chris Conte and Major Wright. Those players are the foundation for the future.
Why hasn't the team cut Kellen Davis yet? I think they should also release Edwin Williams, Matt Toeaina and Roberto Garza. Williams has shown he isn't capable of starting in the league, Toeaina wasn't even in the tackle rotation for most of last year and Garza is one of the worst starting centers in the NFL according to most football insiders. We could use the money from these cuts to re-sign Urlacher and Idonije, who are obviously much more valuable to the team. -- Tom Hamilton, Colorado Springs, Colo.
It probably doesn't make sense to cut Davis unless the Bears are sure they can acquire a better player. What if they cut him, then come up empty in free agency and the draft doesn't break their way to take a premium tight end? But if the Bears do make a move on another tight end who can be their starter, keeping Davis might not make sense. He has a 2013 cap number of $3.8 million. As for the others, I don't see any way Garza gets cut. He was one of the team's more consistent offensive linemen last year and has value for his leadership qualities. Cutting Williams and Toeaina would not provide much in terms of cap relief.
Would it be unrealistic to find and convert a defensive end or defensive tackle to O-Line? Big Cat Williams comes to mind. Seems better athletes are needed more than ever. -- @NvrDiEz, From Twitter
It is not completely unrealistic. It happens every so often. But it isn't the kind of thing you can bank on, either. You need the perfect set of circumstances. To begin with, you wouldn't move a defensive player if he had real value on the defensive side of the ball. So you need a good athlete who really isn't very exciting to you at his position. Then he would have to have the right dimensions, intangibles, aptitude and measurables to play offensive line. You would need a good teacher for him. You would need a roster spot that you wouldn't get anything out of for awhile, if ever. And you would need time, lots of it. No one has time anymore in the NFL. It's a win-now league. That's why we don't see these kinds of transitions frequently. It's much more feasible to make that kind of switch when a player is in college, as opposed to the NFL. Oklahoma's Lane Johnson is a good example of a player who moved from defense to offense in college and ended up excelling. He likely will be a top 15 pick in the April draft.
It seems to me that making Matt Forte the slot receiver and having Reggie Bush and Tim Tebow as the setbacks would enable the Bears to create an unstoppable offense. Forte is a proven receiver who is dangerous after a catch. Bush would be Mr. Inside and Tebow, Mr. Outside. Tebow can run or throw and would create endless possibilities for creative playmaking. What do you think of this proposal? -- Victor Martuza, Los Angeles, Calif.
Interesting thoughts, Victor. I think the personnel grouping you propose would have some real potential as a package. Defenses would have a difficult time matching up with all three players, and the element of unpredictability could create havoc, as all three would be threats to run, catch or even throw. I'm not so sure you could make a living off it, however. The biggest problem is you would be taking a good blocker out of the equation. You would be down a fullback or tight end, so defenders might have an easier time of getting to the ball carrier. You also would face crowded boxes, because the offense would likely have to be more horizontal than vertical. I'd love to see it though.
I've read your article on Rusty Jones and was wondering if there are any tips from him on training. I was 78 on my last birthday. I work out three or four days a week and play golf two or three times per week, weather permitting. Mr. Jones sounds like he has a handle on what athletes should do to keep their game. I would like to know if Mr. Jones would suggest to an old athlete how he should keep in shape while eating and competing. We get plenty of information on how to swing every club in every circumstance, but few on how to develop strength for club speed, for example. I hope the answers from Mr. Jones, if any, will add 20 yards to your game too. -- Larry Maloney
My golf game is beyond help, Larry. But Rusty might be able to help you. I asked Rusty about your situation. When I told him you were 78 and worked out three or four times a week and played golf up to three times a week, he was impressed. He said you were plenty active, and doing more than you currently are doing might open yourself up to injury. He did say nutrition is the key for you, and he made these suggestions: 1. Keep your intake of saturated fats down for a healthy heart. 2. Eat plenty of whole grains. 3. Minimize alcohol intake. 4. Walk 18 holes instead of taking a cart at least once a week if you are not doing so already. 5. Check your Body Mass Index and make sure your body is at the appropriate level.
Clearly, Marc Trestman had trouble finding a WR Coach for the Bears. What happened there? Is Mike Groh really going to be a good WR Coach or is he someone they had to settle for? Or is this going to remain a mystery? -- David Holingue
Seeing how long the process took, a good chance exists the Bears had some stops and starts in their search. That could mean they offered the job to coaches who turned them down. It could mean they could not get permission to speak with coaches they were interested in. It could mean they were delayed in their attempts to interview candidates or offer jobs. Or it could mean in the course of interviewing candidates they found out those candidates weren't the right fits. Groh is an interesting hire, and he could be a very good hire. He got great results working with Amari Cooper CQ last season. He has learned the game from his father Al Groh and Nick Saban. He is a former offensive coordinator and quarterback who has a feel for the passing game. If Trestman wanted a veteran NFL wide receiver coach, he certainly could have hired one. He did not have a previous connection with Groh, so Trestman clearly hired him because of the potential he saw.
Is Marc Trestman the first Jewish head coach since Sid Luckman? -- Peter Sherman, Cary, Ill.
Sid Luckman was Jewish, but he never was a head coach. Luckman, who may have been George Halas' favorite player of all time, was an assistant coach for the Bears for 16 seasons after his retirement as a player, however. He also was a fine gentleman whom I enjoyed a great deal whenever we spoke before his death in 1998. You may be thinking of Sid Gillman. He was a head coach for the Chargers and Oilers. Trestman is the first Jewish head coach since Marv Levy, a hall of famer and resident Chicagoan. I believe Trestman is the fifth Jewish head coach in NFL history. The others are Gillman, Levy, Al Davis of the Raiders and Allie Sherman of the Giants. If anyone knows of any other NFL head coaches who were Jewish, drop me a line.
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