Critical combine

The NFL scouting combine officially opened Tuesday with 332 going through workouts through Monday. Over that time the <!--Default NodeId For Chicago is 115,2005--><A HREF=>Bears</A> can gauge what player they will use the fourth pick on, if they'd rather trade down.

The combine is known for players doing a variety of physical tests including running the 40-yard dash, seeing how many reps can be done on the bench press at 225 pounds and measuring how high one can leap. However, the multimillion-dollar investment in players has expanded the importance of the mental aspect of the game. Therefore players will also take psychological and IQ tests.

Although, the Bears aren't expected to select a quarterback in the first round the Bears will focus their attention on a variety of signal callers from USC's Carson Palmer to Florida's Rex Grossman.

There is a good chance the Bears will use their first round pick on the defensive line, but on the inside or out.

Terrell Suggs heads the DE class with 24 sacks during his junior campaign at Arizona State. Jimmy Kennedy has emerged among several defensive tackles as the best pro prospect. He could boost the interior of the defense with the expected departure of either Keith Traylor or Ted Washington.

Still, GM Jerry Angelo has stressed the fact that he plans to go after the best player available no matter the position keeping the team's options open heading into free agency.

"One of the few good things about being as high as we are in the draft — and very few good things are when you pick this high — you've got a chance to get some special players, a potential of at least one," Angelo said. "And we don't want to pass that opportunity up."

The Bears draft will be dictated by what needs are filled via free agency.

With the free agency signing period beginning Feb. 28 and the draft just over two months away the roster will begin to take shape in the coming weeks.

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