Scouting Combine Blog: Saturday

The Chicago Bears will be awfully busy the next few days in Indianapolis, and so will Bear Report. JC is on hand for the NFL Scouting Combine and will have the latest news and notes from the media room at Lucas Oil Stadium. Player comments, 40-yard dash times, free agency news – it's all here.


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Follett One of Urlacher's Earliest Fans

5:55 p.m.
Not many football fans outside Chicago throw around the term "Monsters of the Midway" when referring to the Bears, but California linebacker Zack Follett does.

While the energetic Follett didn't necessarily grow up a Bears fan, he singled out Brian Urlacher as one of his favorite players and claims to have discovered him before he was a household name. Although Urlacher isn't Follett's all-time favorite player – that honor goes to Terry Tait, the "office linebacker" of Reebok commercial fame. However, when asked about the possibility of lining up alongside Urlacher next season, especially since Chicago spent some time with him at the Senior Bowl, Follett could hardly contain his excitement Saturday at the combine.


Follett might be a quality fit over on the strong side. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images)

Follett played all three linebacker positions during his time in Berkeley, and Bears fans will be happy to hear that he spent all of 2007 on the strong side. With neither veteran Hunter Hillenmeyer nor youngster Nick Roach inspiring much confidence at that spot, perhaps adding some new blood through the draft would be a wise move. Specifically, Follett is known as a quality pass rusher from the second level, which is an attribute this defense has lacked in recent seasons.

This year's draft is considered very deep at linebacker, increasing Chicago's odds of landing a good one on Day 2.


Walker Understands His Role in the Trenches

3:26 p.m.
If the Bears want Tommie Harris to be all he can be again at the three-technique defensive tackle position, he needs a doubles partner next to him at nose tackle willing to do the dirty work.

Anthony Adams has been the Rodney Dangerfield of the Bears D but is always productive when given a chance to play, although he's not really a Lovie Smith-type player on the nose. And while many scouts are high on 2008 third-round draft pick Marcus Harrison, he might be more of a playmaker at Harris' three technique as opposed to nose guard. Finding a fit at that spot is a challenge because it's tough to play, doesn't get much credit, and takes a toll on whomever is there.


Walker wants to make Harris' job easier down in the trenches. (John Amis/AP Images)

Vance Walker from Georgia Tech, on the other hand, relishes his role as a behind-the-scenes guy, something he's familiar with as a college teammate of defensive end Michael Johnson – he's probably a first-rounder. As a matter of fact, three quarters of the Yellow Jackets' defensive line is in Indy this week. But the Bears have apparently taken notice of Walker, as team officials showed considerable interest in him at the Senior Bowl in January and have lined up an official interview with him at the Scouting Combine.

When Bear Report asked him about having his job potentially made easier for him lining up next to a talent like Harris, Walker took the unselfish route and liked the idea of making Harris' job easier instead.


Northwestern RB Might Complement Forte

12:17 p.m.
The Bears have to come out of the NFL Draft with a secondary ball carrier to take some of the pressure of Matt Forte, although the perfect guy might be a short drive away from Lake Forest to Evanston.

Jerry Angelo reached for Garrett Wolfe in the third round two years ago, and while you have to give the former NIU star credit for becoming a demon on special teams, it's clear he's never going to get a chance to contribute offensively. At just 5-7 and 186 pounds, Wolfe apparently can't be trusted to take the physical toll tailbacks are subjected to at the NFL level, even if just for a series or two. Neither Kevin Jones nor Adrian Peterson was given much time on the field in Forte's stead, so Angelo will likely have to invest another draft pick at the position.


Sutton is ready to contribute no matter the role he has. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Perhaps another local product, Northwestern's Tyrell Sutton, could fit the bill as a change-of-pace option that can help keep Forte fresh for four quarters. Like Wolfe, he's not ideally suited to handle 20-25 carries per game at 5-8 and 211 pounds, but he has some home-run ability and catches the ball out of the backfield quite well – that's a necessity in Ron Turner's offense. Sutton already knows where his bread will be buttered on Sundays, telling reporters during his podium session Saturday that he's more than happy to take on a reserve role at the next level.

According to Scout.com NFL Draft analyst Chris Steuber, Sutton is worthy of a selection in Round 4 or 5 and should be a quality fit alongside Forte.


Smith, Angelo Ready to Speak Saturday

10:22 a.m.
The Monsters of the Midway will be well represented at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Saturday, as both head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo are scheduled to speak.

Based on the chatter surrounding Lucas Oil Stadium, the Bears are focusing their scouting efforts on offensive tackles and wide receivers. That includes some of the premier prospects at both positions, specifically potential top-10 draft picks like Ole Miss tackle Michael Oher and Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree. Oklahoma tackle Phil Loadholt and Missouri wideout Jeremy Maclin have also confirmed having conversations with Chicago.

Smith will be at the podium in the media room at 1:00 p.m. local time, while Angelo fields questions from the team hotel at 4:00 p.m.


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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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