Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

Streeter Lecka

We're about a month away from free agency, the NFL Combine is in full swing and it's getting hard to differentiate between rumors and facts with all the "news" leaking out from coaches, GMs, players, and agents. Isn't the NFL offseason grand? Here are my Thoughts and be sure to drop a few of your own in the comment section.

1) I tweeted this thought out over the weekend (follow me @wiltfongjr by the way), but I don't think NFL GMs are overly concerned with defensive end prospect Jadeveon Clowney only getting 21 reps in the combine's bench press. Strength will be added in an NFL weight room.

The average number of reps last year for a DE was 24, and Ezekiel Ansah, the 5th overall pick to the Detroit Lions in 2013, also had just 21 reps. Ansah had 8 sacks as a rookie, and Clowney is a better prospect than he was.

2) One more Clowney thought... His production dipped quite a bit from his sophomore year to his 2013 season, and I think that was simply because he didn't want to play at South Carolina any more. He admitted that had he been allowed, he would have declared for the draft after his 2nd year.

Whether consciously or subconsciously he was playing not to get hurt last year, and that hurt his numbers, and it really affected his tape. Most scouts now question his effort and have given him the dreaded red flag, but he'll still be a top 10 draft pick.

3) Jerry Jones owns the Dallas Cowboys so he can do and say whatever he pleases when it comes to his team, but he must have a PR team that is constantly telling him to shush up.

The latest from Jones has him telling the media that his QB, Tony Romo, will have more power under new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan than he did under last year's playcaller, head coach Jason Garrett.

Maybe it's nothing, but it sounds like a mini-shot at Garrett, who just so happens to be in the last year of his contract.

Why say anything at all?

Let his coaches coach and let them discuss whatever power the players will now have.

4) The Cleveland Browns have been in the offseason news for all the wrong reasons -- The Three Stooges -- and the weirdness just keeps coming. The latest was the report that they were working on a trade for San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.

It's not bad enough that current Browns head coach Mike Pettine is perceived to be the 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice, depending on which report you believe, but now he's apparently the consolation prize since they couldn't land Harbaugh.

And speaking of Harbaugh, I wonder how much longer the Niners keep the current coach/GM dynamic in place, considering that Harbaugh rarely speaks with San Fran GM Trent Baalke.

5) Yesterday Kev talked about the New York Jets having interest in Chicago Bears free agent QB Josh McCown, and it appears the Jets are also contemplating kicking the tires of Michael Vick. If they truly believe that Geno Smith is the future at QB, it makes more sense to sign Vick as the two have closer skill sets.

Tailoring the Jet offense for the fleet of foot Smith with Vick on the roster, and with the potential of the veteran Vick winning the job for 2014, seems like the more logical plan.

6) FYI: Lovie Smith, who originally brought McCown to the Bears, is also rumored to have interest in Josh McCown. Of all the potential landing spots for McCown, I think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pose the biggest threat to the Bears.

I still think McCown re-signs in Chicago though.

7) We've talked about free agent Michael Bennett quite a bit here on WCG, and rightfully so. He fits a need for the Bears and there's the brother connection.

But I don't think the Bears should pursue him.

He's looking for a big payday and although I think he's a very good football player, I think if anyone pries him away from Seattle, they'll really overpay for his services.

8) Sticking with the Seattle Seahawks, they will be forced to make some salary cap decisions that pertain to both this off season and next off season, and the latest report has them contemplating cutting Red Bryant. Bryant is listed as a DE for Seattle, but at 6'4" 323 (he's closer to 350 in my opinion), he's plenty big enough to play DT.

More quality defensive linemen in the free agent pool is a good thing for DL needy teams like the Bears.

9) Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald, whom we've discussed as a possibility at #14 for the Bears, is having one Hell of a combine.

The knock on him is his size and, at 6'1" 285 pounds, he is a bit smaller than his contemporaries, but he's still a large man. You factor in his strength (35 reps on the bench), his explosiveness (116' broad jump, 32' vertical), and quickness (7.11 seconds in the 3 cone drill, 4.68 in the 40) and you see why there's a buzz about him.

The thing about the NFL combine is it should just reinforce a scout's thoughts of the player they see on tape. All accounts tab Donald as a high motor player, that plays with good leverage and has great technique.

10) Bears wide out Alshon Jeffery still has some people mispronouncing his name, but his profile may be growing. Here's a link to a clip that features the Bears Pro Bowl receiver.

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