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The Bear's Den: April 22, 2016

We are now officially one week away from the 2016 NFL Draft. The Bears have made a commitment to retool around a young core of players like DT Eddie Goldman, and things appear to be pointing up for a franchise that got old and bad under recent management.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

BEAR DOWN!!!!

DRAFT / FREE AGENCY

Emma: Bears Likely A Longshot For New Free Agent Josh Norman - CBS Chicago - When it comes to Norman for the Bears, it's about dollars and sense.

Cox: Bears express interest in prized free agent cornerback Josh Norman - Bears Wire - ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Chicago Bears expressed interest in free agent cornerback Josh Norman

Finley: Bears draft preview, Notre Dame ILB Jaylon Smith a big unknown - Chicago Sun-Times - Jaylon Smith was supposed to be a Top 5 draft pick next week. Instead, after suffering a life-changing left knee injury, the Notre Dame linebacker has earned a different superlative. "It’s turning out to be what I think is the saddest story in this draft," Todd McShay said this week.

Durkin’s Prospect Watch: CB Vernon Hargreaves - CBS Chicago - What immediately stands out when watching Hargreaves' tape is his twitch and explosiveness.

Mullen: Bears NFL Draft Preview: Is running back a priority? - CSN Chicago - Even with three running backs on the roster, Matt Forte's departure left a hole at RB for Bears.

Signing Josh Norman could add instant boost to Bears' playoff chances in 2016 - CSN Chicago - Would signing Josh Norman push the Bears toward a playoff spot in 2016? It's an option after the All-Pro cornerback had his franchise tag rescinded by the Panthers.

Nazario: Chicago Bears free agency, be careful with Josh Norman - Josh Norman became a free agent and the Chicago Bears were one of the teams inquiring on him. They need to be careful that they don't get a one-hit wonder.

Fishbain: Reports show Chicago Bears have shown interest in former Panthers CB Josh Norman | Chicago Football - The Bears are one of the teams that has expressed interest in Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman, according to reports from Bleacher Report and ESPN.

NFL Films 2016 QB draft profiles - ChicagoBears.com - With the draft one week away, get to know some of the top quarterback prospects through NFL Films' 2016 draft profiles.

Favorite NFL Draft fits for the Bears (audio) - Bears Wire - Listen as the Bears Wire staff debates their favorite players in the draft for the Bears, and join in the conversation in the comments.

STL: Anthony Herron talks Bears in first round of NFL Draft - CSN Chicago - Anthony Herron discusses some of the options that the Chicago Bears might have in the first round of next week's NFL Draft.

Mullen: Always a need for edge pressure - CSN Chicago - Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2015 NFL Draft. Next up is the linebacker position.

Campbell: NFL draft preview: Inside linebackers - Chicago Tribune - There are some intriguing options at inside linebacker, but is seems the Bears have greater needs to fill through the draft.

BIGGS/TRIBUNE MAILBAG: (Broken out for your convenience)

Biggs Mailbag: Will Christian Hackenberg's comments about his coach effect his draft stock? - Chicago Tribune - What are your thoughts about drafting Christian Hackenberg in the third or fourth round? He didn't make the list in the Tribune's quarterback preview but he has

Biggs Mailbag: What went into the report that Bears expect Ted Larsen to compete for a starting job? - Chicago Tribune - Can you rationalize your earlier report when the Bears signed Ted Larsen that the team expects him to seriously compete with Matt Slauson for the starting left

Biggs Mailbag: Could Bears trade up to get Laremy Tunsil or DeForest Buckner? - Chicago Tribune - After the Rams trade up for the No. 1 pick, both quarterbacks can be gone with the top two picks. I think that would leave San Francisco and Philadelphia open

Biggs Mailbag: Would Bears consider giving up Willie Young to draft a developmental outside linebacker? - Chicago Tribune - We heard towards the middle of last season that Willie Young was "frustrated" with the conversion to a 3-4 outside linebacker, and preferred to play in a 4-3.

Biggs Mailbag: Would Bears consider giving up Willie Young to draft a developmental outside linebacker? - Chicago Tribune - We heard towards the middle of last season that Willie Young was "frustrated" with the conversion to a 3-4 outside linebacker, and preferred to play in a 4-3.

Biggs Mailbag: Any veteran free agents the Bears could take after the draft? - Chicago Tribune
Do you see any remaining veteran free agents who could provide depth/insurance after the draft?

Biggs Mailbag: Any veteran free agents the Bears could take after the draft? - Chicago Tribune - Do you see any remaining veteran free agents who could provide depth/insurance after the draft?

Biggs Mailbag: Is Lamarr Houston an above average outside linebacker? - Chicago TribuneLamarr Houston had the sixth most sacks of any outside linebacker last year. Playing half a season how does that not qualify as above average?

Biggs Mailbag: How many running backs will the Bears keep in 2016? - Chicago Tribune - How many running backs will the Bears keep in 2016?

Biggs Mailbag: Why did Ryan Pace sign free agents as opposed to building through the draft? - Chicago Tribune - Ryan Pace has said he wants to build through the draft. So how do you rationalize several free agent signings this year?

Biggs Mailbag: Why haven't the Bears tried to improve depth at cornerback? - Chicago Tribune - Do you see Tracy Porter shadowing players a lot again this year? Why haven't the Bears attempted to gain more depth at the cornerback position?

Biggs Mailbag: How can Bears improve after losing Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett? - Chicago Tribune - How can the Bears really be better after losing arguably two of their best skill position players?

Biggs Mailbag: Will Cornelius Washington progress this season? - Chicago Tribune - Will Cornelius Washington progress this season or can you see him getting cut? Was all that talk of upside before he was injured.

Biggs Mailbag: Why did the Bears elect to play a preseason matinee? - Chicago Tribune - Can you explain why the Bears elected to play a day game in preseason this summer?

Biggs Mailbag: Are there concerning similarities between Leonard Floyd and Shea McClellin? - Chicago Tribune - When I watch tape of Leonard Floyd, he reminds me too much of Shea McClellin. Am I wrong in my assessment?

BEARRRSSSS

Wiltfong's Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2015: Week 4 vs Oakland Raiders - Windy City Gridiron(KEN: Next up in our review of where we were last season sack-wise as the year progressed... an encore of Sackwatch) "This week the Bears allowed 3 sacks to the Oakland Raiders, but I thought the overall pass pro was actually pretty good."

2015 NFL Draft Results: Grading the Chicago Bears Draft - Windy City Gridiron(KEN: What did we think about the 2015 Draft the day after it was over? Click here for a walk down memory lane) "The draft just wrapped up yesterday. How did the Bears do? We won't know for a couple years, but it's never too early to grade a draft!"

Ottochain: Exclusive interview with Bears DB Demontre Hurst, Part 3: Changing positions - Bears Wire - In an exclusive interview, Bears' defensive back Demontre Hurst explains what he went through as he transitioned from cornerback to safety.

BEARRRSSSS FOR LIFE

Chicago Bears in the Hall - Ed Healey - First player purchased by George Halas, who describes him as "most versatile tackle off all time."

Mayer: Notable Bears fifth-round draft picks - ChicagoBears.com - Players the Bears have chosen in the fifth round of the draft include a Hall of Fame guard, a handful of Pro Bowlers and a star running back tragically killed in a car accident.

Weaver: Chicago Bears TBT, How The Fridge drank beer - Cover32 - Chicago Bears fans will always have a place in their heart for the 1985 team that won the Super Bowl. Listen to how The Fridge drank beer.

POLISH SAUSAGE

Moreno: Illinois weighs legalization of daily fantasy sports betting - Chicago Sun-Times - The proposal would regulate how the online businesses operate by dictating who can play and by taxing and charging operators licensing fees.

Florio: Sashi Brown says Browns "like volume," which hints at more downward movement - ProFootballTalk - The Browns have parlayed their allotment of scratch-off lottery tickets into more of them, by trading from No. 2 down to No. 8 in the draft with the Eagles. Comments from executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown suggests that more trades could be coming.

Gantt: Eagles boss Howie Roseman used to think trading up was a bad idea - ProFootballTalk - Yesterday, Howie Roseman was willing to swing for the fences. A year ago, Howie Roseman was the guy pumping the brakes. The Eagles' de facto General Manager wasn't bashful about giving up future assets to move to the No. 2 spot.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Smith: Ted Thompson says Packers’ focus is on "best player available" - ProFootballTalk - The Packers will not reach in the draft for a position of need. Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said the Packers' approach is simple: Rank the players in order of how good they are, and draft the top player still available when their pick comes up.

Millikan: Should The Lions Trade Matthew Stafford? - CBS Detroit - The popular belief around the NFL is that Matthew Stafford is a franchise quarterback or he can be fixed to become one. Personally I don’t think he is. I don’t believe Stafford will ever win a Super Bowl in Detroit. And with that belief I’ve come to the conclusion that the Lions should explore trading Stafford.

Spofford: Future uncertainty looms on Packers' offensive line - Packers.com - Three starters plus top reserve all entering final year of contracts

Pasche: Detroit Lions Glover Quin’s 5 thoughts on defense, continuity - Daily Tribune - For Glover Quin, continuity with the return of defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is one of the keys to the Detroit Lion offseason.

Goessling: Matt Birk, Sixth-rounder to Minnesota Vikings hometown success story - ESPN - When he was drafted out of Harvard, Matt Birk was a solid prospect but no one could have expected the St. Paul native to have the impact he did.

Tosney: Three players the Minnesota Vikings should target in the first round - isportsweb - We are only a little over a week away from the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft kicking off, and the Minnesota Vikings hold the 23rd overall pick.

Patra: Chris Harris and Broncos motivated by talk D won't be same - NFL.com - Chris Harris Jr. heard chatter that the Denver Broncos' defense might take a step back after losing Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan. The corner said the chatter motivates the Super Bowl champs.

DRAFT PROSPECTS OF INTEREST TO BEARS FANS

NFL Draft: Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Alabama DT A'Shawn Robinson | CSN Chicago

Hoge’s Bears Big Board: No. 6 OT Laremy Tunsil - WGN Radio