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The Weekend Bear's Den: April 9-10, 2016

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Weekend in the "Mocking" season has arrived, a time when we are inundated by mock drafts from all parts of electronic media (and, to be fair, some that we do ourselves). Time to sit back, enjoy early spring, grill some Polska Kielbasa and have a couple of dogs with a brew and some friends... or whatever your weekend thing is...

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

BEAR DOWN!!!!

DRAFT / FREE AGENCY

Cox (audio): Debating whether the Bears should draft Ezekiel Elliott | Bears WireBears Wire debates whether the Chicago Bears should draft Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the 11th overall pick in the draft.

Perez: Bears doing their homework on Texas A&M lineman | Bears Wire - The Chicago Bears met with Texas A&M tackle Germain Ifedi in a pre-draft visit for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Dickerson: Twitter mailbag: Do Chicago Bears finally draft a quarterback? - ESPN - With nine draft picks, will the Bears look to add a quarterback? In this week's mailbag, Jeff Dickerson examines Chicago's draft plans and more.

BEARRRSSSS.......

Perez: Bears could have training camp practice sessions with New England Patriots - Bears Wire - The Chicago Bears and New England Patriots could be facing off in joint practices during this summer's training camp

Biggs: Q&A with Ryan Pace: Bears GM reflects on his first 15 months on the job - Chicago Tribune - In a recent interview, Bears general manager Ryan Pace talked about dealing with the unexpected, front-office dynamics and how soon the Bears can compete.

Householder: Bears have built up special teams this offseason - Windy City Gridiron - The Bears have seen their special teams units fade the past few seasons after years of dominance. Have offseason moves bolstered the fledgling unit?

BEARRRSSSS FOR LIFE

Mayer: Ditka, Butkus to appear at draft party - ChicagoBears.com - Legendary Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Mike Ditka are among nearly 20 current and former Bears players who are scheduled to attend the Miller Lite Draft Party April 28 at Soldier Field.

Chicago Bears in the Hall - George Connor - At the time George Connor joined the Chicago Bears in 1948, he stood 6-3, weighed 240, had a chest measurement of 53 inches expanded and 48 inches normal and yet his waist measurement was only 37 inches. He was a hard core of solid muscle and, as the noted sports writer Grantland Rice one observed, "the closest thing to a Greek God since Apollo."

EX-BEARRRSSSS

Cox: Jury finds that Brandon Marshall did not assault woman in 2012 - Bears WireBrandon Marshall was found to not be liable for an assault that occurred outside of a nightclub in 2012.

Thompson: Rashard Mendenhall can relate to quirky, artsy ex-Bear Martellus Bennett - Chicago Tribune - Before he retired from the NFL two years ago, football fans didn't always accept that Rashard Mendenhall had a renaissance side.

POLISH SAUSAGE

Campbell: NFL announces more Chicago draft festival details - Chicago Tribune - The NFL on Friday announced some additional details about the free festival downtown during the draft on April 28-30.

Ashley Fox: NFL committed to 2018 regular-season game in China despite obstacles, objections - ESPN - The NFL called off a game in China in 2007, but it's back on for 2018. Ashley Fox explains why the league is determined, regardless of pushback, to plant its flag in the world's largest market. (Ken's note: I put her first name to avoid confusion with Chicago's coach)

Adams: Broncos To Consider Josh McCown - Pro Football Rumors - The Broncos’ brief look at Johnny Manziel won’t amount to anything, but Denver is keeping its eye on another quarterback who started games in Cleveland last season. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Broncos will consider acquiring Josh McCown if they don’t ultimately land Colin Kaepernick from the 49ers.

Gantt: Browns letting six scouts go less than three weeks before the draft - ProFootballTalk - The Browns have made a commitment to doing business differently, which apparently extends to firing scouts before the draft. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Browns are "streamlining" their personnel department by letting go of six scouts whose contracts were expiring.

Florio: CFL adopts device for fixing officiating errors quickly - ProFootballTalk - In 2016, the CFL will be doing something that the NFL needs to be doing, too. But the NFL needs to go even farther. Via the Canadian Press, the Canadian Football League has added a video official, with the goal of correcting blatant officiating mistakes quickly.

Alper: Belichick on sustained success: We’ve tried to be an outlier - ProFootballTalk - The Patriots have been one of the league's best teams for most of the last two decades, something that coach Bill Belichick attributes to the team's ability to find players that have been overlooked by others.

Forster: Football Outsiders SackSEER 2016 - Football Outsiders is the internet home for Innovative Statistics and Intelligent Analysis of the NFL and college football. Our writers, led by Aaron Schatz, also provide content to ESPN.com and write the annual book Football Outsiders Almanac. Helmet tip to weepingbear for the link

KNOW THY ENEMY

Holroyd: Lions' Fuller thought Calvin Johnson was joking about retirement - theScore.comDetroit Lions wide receiver Corey Fuller (older brother of the Bears' Kyle Fuller) found out early last season about Calvin Johnson's retirement plans, but thought the whole thing was a joke. It wasn't until Johnson officially stepped away from the NFL in March that Fuller realized he had been telling the truth.

Vikings Twitter mailbag: Draft, WRs and ... 'The Amazing Race'? - ESPN - Will a strong 2016 draft with rookies who can make an impact right away be enough to vault the Vikings into a contending team this season?

Perone: Packers Not Settled At Receiver - Cheesehead TV - The Green Bay Packers currently have eight wide receivers on their roster.  Take Jamel Johnson and Ed Williams out of the mix and they have six guys who could easily be on the final roster and who have all seen game action for the team over the last two years.

Tomasson: Vikings to open U.S. Bank Stadium against San Diego - twincities.com - The Vikings will play host to the Chargers and Los Angeles Rams in preseason games after playing at Cincinnati and Seattle

Demovsky: Less of Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, other Packers likely in preseason - ESPN - Packers coach Mike McCarthy says he'll use the longer preseason to 'develop the youth' of his team: 'Our young guys will play more.'

Hodkiewicz: Packers big on offseason incentives - ESPN - Packers could pay more than $5 million in workout bonuses this year. The Packers and 25 other teams with returning coaches can start their offseason programs April 18, beginning with two weeks of strength and conditioning. Because attendance is voluntary based on the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, most teams use workout bonuses to entice established veterans to participate.

DRAFT PROSPECTS OF INTEREST TO BEARS FANS

NFL Draft Profile: Arkansas QB Brandon Allen | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Houston CB William Jackson III | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Alabama DL Jarran Reed | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Alabama LB Reggie Ragland | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Michigan State OL Jack Allen | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Mississippi DL Robert Nkemdiche | CSN Chicago