Tommie Harris is still regarded as one of the top defensive tackles in the league and was an alternate for the Pro Bowl despite a down 2008, but the fact remains that he hasn't been dominant in quite some time.
If the Bears are going to get the most out of Harris and the $40 million investment they made in him this past summer, then it would be wise to support him with more talent at nose tackle. Dusty Dvoracek, one of his closest friends dating back to their time together at Oklahoma, played well in spurts this year, although he has suited up for a grand total of 13 games in three professional campaigns because of various injuries. And while the unheralded Anthony Adams has usually been very productive when given a chance to play, he's primarily a run-stuffer and doesn't offer very much assistance getting after the enemy quarterback.
Marcus Harrison showed some flashes as a rookie third-round draft pick, but Chicago appears to be in the market for more beef up front according to its scouting habits last week at the Senior Bowl.
Scout.com is reporting that officials from the Bears spent a great deal of time at Wednesday's practice with defensive tackle Evander Hood of Missouri.
Hood (6-4, 295) has all the makings of a Lovie Smith-signature defensive tackle because he is naturally athletic, has a high-energy motor, and gets up the field quickly attacking gaps in the offensive line. Nicknamed "Ziggy," he displays an excellent first step off the snap and has a reputation as a team leader with a sound work ethic. On the down side, he sometimes doesn't play with the proper leverage because of his height, and he's never been a particularly productive guy as far as numbers are concerned.
Hood is listed as the No. 4 defensive tackle available for the 2009 NFL Draft by the experts at Scout.com, so it will be interesting to see if he comes off the board in the latter stages of Day 1 or the early stages of Day 2.
The Chicago D-line needs to play better than it did this past season, and since Smith said recently that end isn't a high priority with Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye entrenched in the starting lineup, more help at tackle could be on the way.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
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