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Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

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Check out my latest thoughts on the National Football League and don't forget to play along by dropping a few of your own in the comment section.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1) Last week the NFL Network's Mike Mayock made waves when he moved Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota ahead of Florida State QB Jameis Winston in his positional rankings.

Over the weekend ESPN's Ron Jaworski claims he has sources that tell him the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are taking Mariota #1 overall. Throughout the entire mock draft process, it's been assumed the Buccaneers were leaning towards the more pro-ready Winston, but Mariota has the squeaky clean character with high upside.

The Bucs have worked out both Winston and Mariota, but it does them no good to announce their intentions until the draft.

2) Then again, depending on which expert analyst you listen to, the 2nd pick in the NFL Draft seems like it's going to be Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, but the question remains; Which team will be picking him there?

The Tennessee Titans are currently slotted in the two spot, but rumors are circulating that the Jets, Bears, Rams, Browns, Eagles and Chargers are all contemplating moving up to two take Mariota. The Titans, for all their posturing -- they've met with Mariota twice -- seem to be content with 2nd year QB Zach Mettenberger.

David Climer, sports columnist for The Tennessean, wrote this,

Coach Ken Whisenhunt identified Mettenberger as an undervalued asset last spring. General manager Ruston Webster pulled the trigger and drafted him in the sixth round.

In short, Whisenhunt and Webster think they pulled the steal of the 2014 draft. Titans brass see Mettenberger as a poor team's Tom Brady. He's the quarterback.

The Titans could stand pat and grab the top player on their board, but with so many needs, trading back for the best collection of picks seems like the best bet.

3) When Troy Polamalu retired from the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, it sent social media into scramble mode talking about his Hall Of Fame candidacy. Some wondered if he would be a first ballot inductee, some wondered about other safeties that have been snubbed that deserve to go into the Hall before Polamalu, others talked about Polamalu's place in the history of the Steelers.

Troy Polamalu deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the all time NFL greats. His stats (which are really good by the way) only tell part of his story. Polamalu's ability to freelance, which was aided by his incredible football IQ and instincts, set him apart during his 12 year career.

For more on his retirement check out the story-stream from our sister site, Behind The Steel Curtain.

4) Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is keeping the option open to be a 2 sport athlete...

"You never want to kill the dream of playing two sports," Wilson said, via The Seattle Times. "I would honestly play two sports."

... but CBS Sports' baseball insider Jon Heyman said this morning on WSCR in Chicago, that Wilson is a good field/no hit minor league 2nd base prospect at best.

The Texas Rangers have Russell Wilson's MLB rights, but I can't see him risking a potential $100 million contract with the Seahawks to chase a baseball dream.

5) Social media makes it so easy for "fans" to troll athletes/celebrities, but it also gives the celebs a voice to fight back when they choose to do so. One of the latest was New York Jets corner Darrelle Revis who went at it with trolls on his Instagram account.

Revis went hard at his haters, only to pull the easy-out excuse that he was hacked.

I've talked about it before, but I just don't understand what some people get out of personally attacking people over social media.

6) This has got to be a brutal workout. Check out the Steelers' James Harrison and friends playing volleyball with a medicine ball.

Danney ball wt @shazier50 @vinnyvidivici98 and @robertgolden21

A video posted by James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on

7) Last week we talked about the NFL hiring their first female official for the 2015 season, and now Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is talking about an NFL team someday hiring a female coach.

"Someone asked me yesterday, ‘When are we going to have female coaches?'" Arians said at the 2015 NFL Owners' Meeting. "The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they'll be hired."

There are female players in the youth, high school and collegiate levels of football, and female coaches in the youth and high school levels of football, so in time it makes sense that one of them will ascend to the professional level.

8) I usually frown on sharing slideshows, but I'm making an exception this time. The Chicago Bears kicked off their off season workout schedule this morning (see full schedule here) and with this morning's workout comes the first set of pictures from the workout which you can see here.

A few photos of note...

Matt Slauson has received full clearance to work out following pectoral surgery. (pic 1/26)
Jay Cutler looking very enthused. (pic 9/26)
Jimmy Clausen wins T-Shirt of the week. (pic 11/26)
New Bear Pernell McPhee looking fit. (pic 14/26)

9) Last week the Chicago Bears met with Florida State DT/DE/OLB Mario Edwards, who was being mentioned as 2nd round prospect. But now he's being buzzed about as a guy that could go in the middle of the 1st round. If the Bears do trade back off of the 7th overall pick, Edwards is the kind of versatile football player that makes sense for Chicago in the middle of round 1.

10) In case you missed ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, here's his Bears pick.

Randy Gregory
COLLEGE: Nebraska CLASS: Jr HT: 6-4 WT: 235 POS: OLB

Analysis: John Fox has made it clear that he intends to go to a 3-4 base system on defense, which all but puts every player you could call an "edge" rusher on the roster on notice. Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young may be great making the transition; they may not. The Bears could use some assurance that they'll have at least one great fit as a stand-up 3-4 edge rusher, and if Gregory is still here at this point they should be happy. Gregory offers length, and explosiveness that plays up both on tape and when he's sprinting in Under Armour. There are some concerns about his lean frame but I think he plays the point pretty well and isn't going to be a liability against the run as he develops.

Of the many directions the Bears could go with the 7th pick, taking Gregory is my least favorite. When you consider that Kiper has Vic Beasley and Amari Cooper still on his board, I like this pick even less.

EDIT: Somehow I got my Insider Mocks mixed up, Kiper has the Bears going with wide out Kevin White in his latest 4.0 mock, the Gregory pick was from 3.0. I'd be ok with White.

What are some of your thoughts this week?