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The Bear's Den: April 28, 2016

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It's HERE! Finally, tonight we get to see who the newest Chicago Bear is as the 2016 NFL Draft kicks off right here in Downtown Chicago. Keep it right here with us at Windy City Gridiron for the BEST draft coverage and commentary all weekend!

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Windy City Gridiron turns into Bears Draft Central today, so keep a browser tab open to WCG, the best Bears website on the planet. We've got a LOT planned for you.

EJ's Draftwatch Spectacular published this morning, and you KNOW there's going to be an open thread later for your use and edification, plus we've got staff on hand to post fresh articles on all relevant Bears draft moves over the whole draft...

I will be on hand for the draft thread tonight as a shameless fanboy making comments, and tomorrow we will have not one, but TWO dens... the early edition and a unique "EXTRA" Den dropping about 1:00 central time.

All of this and a WHOLE lot more, so keep a tab open to us and be interactive... join in, tell us what you think!

BEAR DOWN!!!!

DRAFT / FREE AGENCY

Chicago Ready To Host NFL Draft Again - CBS Chicago - Once again, Chicago has suited up and taken the field as host of the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday evening.

Mayer's Chalk Talk: How have draft trades affected Bears? - ChicagoBears.com - Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses how trades for the top two picks in the draft have impacted the Bears, how the Bears feel about selecting a running back in the first round and if any low-round Bears draft picks have made the Hall of Fame.

Emma’s Bears Big Board: Who To Take With The 11th Pick - CBS Chicago - Examining the possibilities on Ryan Pace's list for the Bears' 11th pick. The hay is in the barn for Ryan Pace and the Bears brass. Months have passed with the Bears doing thorough work, examining any and every prospect for their big board. Pace and his trusted team of Bears executives have countless pages of scouting notes for each prospect, preparing for all scenarios that could arise in the NFL Draft.

PFF: Seven pass-rush specialists in the 2016 NFL Draft Class - Five years ago, the league may have overlooked many of these players altogether, but the specialization of the modern game and the priority placed on rushing the passer has significantly upgraded the viability of many of these one-dimensional prospects.

Durkin: Bears GM Ryan Pace Must Stick To His Plan - CBS Chicago - Pace must resist the temptation to draft for need and instead acquire the best players available.

McShay: Best scheme and team fits for front-seven studs like Georgia's Leonard Floyd and Clemson's Shaq Lawson - ESPN - Todd McShay breaks down a loaded front-seven class, pegging the best positional fits and potential landing spots for each of the 38 such defenders who cracked his top 100.

NFL Films 2016 LB draft profiles - ChicagoBears.com - With the draft just days away, get to know some of the top inside and outside linebacker prospects through NFL Films' 2016 draft profiles.

Gantt: Some think Jaylon Smith could still be a late first-rounder - ProFootballTalk - There are legitimate concerns about Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith's knee, the the extent that a possible top-10 pick's draft stock has taken a tumble. But there's apparently a floor for how low he'll go, and it might be higher than some thought.

Campbell: Morning Breeze- 2016 NFL Draft Eve - DaWindyCity.com - The 2016 NFL Draft is one day away. That takes the lead in Da Windy City's latest Morning Breeze.

Dullea: Bears should not trade up in the first round - Cover32 - It is fun to speculate what the Bears will do in the draft, and, yes, trading up is always exciting, but Chicago should use their additional...

Schefter: Eastern Kentucky LB sends all 32 teams his last 20 drug tests - ESPN - Spence, who played at Eastern Kentucky, is attempting to prove to NFL teams that he has turned his life around since his past troubles.

Legwold: Navy QB Keenan Reynolds among non-combine players who could be drafted - ESPN - Every year, players who were not invited to the NFL combine get drafted. Here is a peek at some potential 2016 gems who were overlooked.

Dickerson: The case for Shaq Lawson at No. 11 to Chicago Bears - ESPN - Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson can help a team immediately in a rotational or situational role, making him a good fit for the Bears at No. 11.

Perez: Should the Bears draft Jaylon Smith in the second round? - Bears Wire - Should the Chicago Bears select Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft?

Annoying Slideshow: 11 players the Bears could pick at No. 11 - CSN Chicago - CSNChicago.com's Scott Krinch runs through 11 options for the Bears with the No. 11 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft with an annoying slideshow, if you are into that sort of thing.

Haugh: Defense, not Ezekiel Elliott, is the answer for Bears at No. 11 - Chicago Tribune - With his first pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Bears GM Ryan Pace should select an impact player on defense instead of the Ohio State running back.

LeGere: Chicago Bears have lots of D-Line options in NFL draft - DailyHerald - In the past year the Bears have made two huge moves to bolster the defensive line, and they could find even more help in a draft that's well-stocked with D-line talent.

Intentional Grounding, Episode 31 (audio): Ryan Pace’s Pre-Draft Thoughts - WGN Radio - 720 AM - Adam Hoge and Adam Jahns are back with their final episode before the NFL Draft. They address Alshon Jeffery’s decision not to show up for voluntary workouts and react to Ryan Pace’s pre-draft press conference.

Wiltfong: GM Ryan Pace on the Chicago Bears and the 2016 NFL Draft - Windy City Gridiron - Earlier today Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace met the media for a little pre-draft chat. He talked about 2016 NFL Draft and also about some of his current players.

Wiederer: Ryan Pace pulls back curtain on Bears draft philosophies - Chicago Tribune - With the NFL draft just a day away, the Bears are eager to dive in with an eye on significantly improving their roster.

Fishbain: Jumping to conclusions from Ryan Pace's pre-draft press conference - Chicago Football - Bears GM was coy, but we picked his words apart.

Mayer: Pace explains signing Bears linemen - ChicagoBears.com - General manager Ryan Pace on Wednesday discussed why the Bears signed veteran free agent offensive linemen Manny Ramirez and Ted Larsen.

Perez: Bears, Cowboys worked out the most QB prospects - Bears Wire - The Chicago Bears trailed only the Dallas Cowboys for the most QB prospects worked out by one team before the 2016 NFL Draft.

Jahns: What we think we know about the Bears' draft plans - Chicago Sun-Times - The Bears have plenty options with the 11th overall selection.

Mullen: Bears conducting their own NFL mock draft - CSN Chicago - Everybody is creating their own mock draft and the Bears are no different...only theirs is the one that matters.

Biggs: For Bears top pick in NFL draft, all signs point to defense - Chicago Tribune - No matter if the Bears trade up or down, or stay at No. 11, their greatest need with the best supply is in the defensive front seven.

Greenstein: Marshall Faulk and Jarrett Payton love Ezekiel Elliott. Do the Bears? - Chicago Tribune - Scouts are comparing Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott to Adrian Peterson ahead of Thursday's first round of the NFL draft.

Campbell: Jaylon Smith upbeat before altered NFL draft dream becomes reality - Chicago Tribune - Notre Dame standout linebacker has accepted reality of his serious knee injury and doesn't dwell on his draft status taking a huge hit because of it.

Campbell: Picking Clemson's Shaq Lawson would be weighty issue for Bears - Chicago Tribune - Though edge rusher Shaq Lawson played at more than 270 pounds last season, he believes he could get leaner to help meet Bears' speed need.

Biggs: With the 11th pick in the NFL draft, the Bears will take ... - Chicago Tribune - Tribune columnists and reporters predict the Bears' first-round selection in the NFL draft.

BEARRRSSSS

Perez: Bears safety Adrian Amos underwent offseason surgery - Bears Wire - Bears S Adrian Amos is entering the '16 season as a starter on defense, making it more concerning that he underwent offseason surgery.

LeGere: Bears expecting more from Piccolo winners Miller, Amos - DailyHerald - Although both had impressive seasons in 2015, more is expected in 2016 from veteran tight end Zach Miller and last year's fifth-round draft pick Adrian Amos, who are the winners of the Bears' annual Brian Piccolo Award.

Mayer: Notable Bears second-round draft picks - ChicagoBears.com - Players the Bears have selected in the second round of the draft include two Hall of Fame middle linebackers and arguably the best return specialist in NFL history.

Perez: Danny Trevathan chants ‘Let’s go Bears!’ on Snapchat - Bears Wire - New Chicago Bears LB chanted 'Let's go Bears!' on the team's new Snapchat account.

Mullen: Two years to evaluate a Bears draft? Not if you’re paying attention - CSN Chicago - While it is conventional to hold that it takes at least two full years to evaluate a draft, NFL teams can’t take that long and don’t take that long.

Bear Download (audio): Weekly podcast by Cambpell & Wiederer - Chicago Tribune - Welcome to the weekly Bear Download podcast with Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer.

Greenstein: The beauty of the NFL draft? No one knows - Chicago Tribune - Recent studies have concluded what we already suspected: The NFL draft is akin to firing darts while blindfolded.

Wiederer: Ryan Pace on Alshon Jeffery's absence from Halas Hall, 'It's his personal choice' - Chicago Tribune - Alshon Jeffery remains in Florida, where he has chosen to continue his offseason training, remaining away from Halas Hall.

Alper: Bears wish Alshon Jeffery was at workouts, still talking contract - ProFootballTalk - Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery isn't taking part in the team's offseason workouts right now as he's opted to work out in Florida using a regimen he hopes will cut out the soft tissue injuries that plagued him all of last season.

Mayer: Pace on draft: 4 things we learned - ChicagoBears.com - General manager Ryan Pace told reporters Wednesday that the Bears' draft board is set and revealed how many prospects he's comfortable selecting with the 11th overall pick.

BEARRRSSSS FOR LIFE

Chicago Bears in the Hall - George McAfee - When Gale Sayers burst into the National Football League like the Kansas Comet that he was back in 1965, veteran writers immediately began asking Chicago Bears coach George Halas if his prized rookie was as good or better than George McAfee. "The highest compliment you can pay any ball carrier," Halas would snort, "is just compare him with McAfee."

POLISH SAUSAGE

Report: Unnamed Dolphins "privately steamed" that Ndamukong Suh’s not there - ProFootballTalkDolphins coach Adam Gase hasn't been on the job long, and he's already faced with the prospect of putting out fires. In addition to safety Reshad Jones staying away from today's voluntary minicamp because he wants a new contract, veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh wasn't on hand.

Alper: "Very impressive", when Adam Gase sees Jay Ajayi in person - ProFootballTalk - After Lamar Miller made a quick jump to the Texans in free agency, the Dolphins pursued a variety of veteran running backs but haven't added any of them to their roster.

Skrbina: Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley on compensation: 'To the NCAA, it's treason' - Chicago Tribune - Head: Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley on compensation: 'To the NCAA, it's treason'

Florio: Gase not paying attention to report of players upset with Suh - ProFootballTalk - On Tuesday, the Dolphins launched the first voluntary minicamp of coach Adam Gase's tenure. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh did not volunteer to attend. Some teammates who chose to be there reportedly were upset with Suh.

Stankevitz: Chicago tailor Ge Wang will leave his mark on NFL Draft | CSN Chicago - When Ronnie Stanley walks across the NFL Draft stage Thursday, he'll be wearing a suit that stands out from ESQ Clothing.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Green Bay enters the 2016 Draft with nine selections - Packers.com - Armed with seven of their own selections – plus two compensatory picks – the Packers will have plenty of opportunities to add more talent and depth to their roster. All picks are eligible to be traded except for the compensatory choices.

Alper: Marvin Jones feels "no pressure" in new role with Lions - ProFootballTalk - The Lions moved quickly to secure wide receiver Marvin Jones' services as a free agent when the 2016 league year opened up last month, giving themselves a receiver who could fill the hole on the depth chart that opened when Calvin Johnson decided to retire.

Pasche: Detroit Lions draft preview: Needs on defense start with the line - Daily Tribune - Like most NFL general managers, the Lions’ Bob Quinn said he hopes to mesh need with best player available when he runs the draft room for three days starting Thursday night.

Sanderson: Vikings 'not honed in on a reciever' with first pick - theScore.com - Not many NFL analysts don't have a wide receiver falling to the Minnesota Vikings with the 23rd pick of the first round, but general manager Rick Spielman isn't so set on that decision. "We are not honed in on a receiver in the first round," Spielman told reporters on Tuesday.

Transcript: Vikings GM Rick Spielman's Pre-Draft Press Conference - Vikings.com - "It’s an exciting time of the year. This, to me, is always the last chance that you get to add to your roster from a personnel stand point that can potentially have an impact on your team going forward. It’s the foundation of our football team."

PREVIOUS ROUND ONE OPEN THREADS (NOTE: THIS DEN IS NOT OPEN)

2015 NFL Draft Round 1 Open Thread: Chicago Bears pick 7th overall - Windy City Gridiron
Presented for your edification and amusement.

2014 NFL Draft: First (1st) Round - Picks 11-20 Live Blog, Chicago Bears Pick 14th - Windy City Gridiron
The Bears picked in the middle of the NFL draft, and you just know we're going to talk about that. Presented for your edification and amusement.

2013 Chicago Bears NFL Draft: 1st Round (Picks 21-32) Open Thread - Windy City Gridiron
Presented for your edification and amusement. "We're into the home stretch of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Linemen all over the place, position players, a surprise first QB off the board. This is what we love about the NFL."