bears hosted local "proday", 29 players
Bears entering final stages of draft preparation
By: Larry Mayer |
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Bears’ offseason program didn’t start this week like it was scheduled to due to the NFL lockout. But Halas Hall is still teeming with activity.
Preparations for the April 28-30 NFL Draft have continued each day with members of the personnel department meeting with the team’s area scouts and coaches to discuss the prospects.
This is the final push,” said director of player personnel Tim Ruskell. “We’re getting our final information gathered from the scouts. They’ve just come back off the road after their workout sessions and we are going through the board to make sure we’ve got people in the places we want them to be.
“We’re processing the board by position from best-to-worst and we’re processing the entire board from best-to-worst regardless of position, and that takes a lot of time.”
Ruskell and general manager Jerry Angelo met with the team's area scouts before including Bears coaches in the evaluation process. Lovie Smith and his assistants have traveled across the country to attend Pro Day workouts and meet with draft-eligible players.
“We’ll listen to their final synopsis on players that they’ve worked out and graded and we’ll see where the discrepancies are and where we’re all on the same page,” Ruskell said.
The Bears already have created and studied profile tapes of the prospects. But they recently received new information that could change how they view the players. That material includes updated workout numbers, off-the-field reports and injury news from a medical recheck in Indianapolis.
Late last week the Bears welcomed 29 draft prospects to Halas Hall. The majority of the players did not attend the Combine, so the Bears brought them in to give them physicals and have them talk football and about themselves.
“It was a wide spectrum of guys in terms of where they might go [in the draft],” Ruskell said. “We always say we’re not going to draft a guy unless we have a physical on him. You don’t want to be surprised after you take him. In some cases, we need to get to know these guys a little better. The scouts wanted to see them and the coaches wanted to know a little more about their football aptitude.”
This weekend the Bears will conduct a Pro Day-like event at Halas Hall for local products.
The Bears want to make a good impression on all the players who visit Halas Hall, but especially the ones who don't get drafted given the uncertainty that exists during the NFL labor dispute.
“The message that any team wants to get across to a guy that’s coming in for a visit is that, 'We really like you and we see a fit with you,'” Ruskell said.
“That’s an important message with what’s going on in football right now. In the case of a guy falling to free agency, [the Bears want him to know] 'there would be a home for you.'"