We're in the thick of free agency and NFL rumors continue to swirl.
Include the 2013 NFL draft on the horizon and pro football's offseason is only getting more intense.
Plenty of impressive talent still remains on the market, but what about the pool of prospects looking to get selected in late April? Certain teams still have pressing needs, not to mention only so much can get addressed via free agency or the draft.
That said, let's dive in and see what has currently brewed in April's first week.
According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers hosted running back LaRod Stephens-Howling:
Former Pitt RB LaRod Stephens-Howling visiting #Steelers today. UFA Arizona— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) April 3, 2013
The impact Stephens-Howling had in Arizona is certainly appealing. He's a dual-threat back who also contributes nicely on kickoffs to help win the field position battle. Factor in his experience despite being rather youthful and he would be a solid fit in Pittsburgh's offense.
That said, Stephens-Howling isn't a No. 1 back and Pittsburgh's interest in Ahmad Bradshaw still exists, but there are durability concerns as Bouchette wrote last week:
It came as no surprise that Ahmad Bradshaw left the Steelers without a contract Thursday.
Bradshaw had surgery on his right foot late in January and it was estimated that it would take 10 weeks to heal. He will have to prove his foot is healthy before the cap-strapped Steelers can commit to him. The Steelers do not need running backs with injuries, no matter their resume
Bradshaw is definitely the better back; however, the Steelers must strongly consider the draft as well. It's doesn't provide top-heavy talent, although there is impressive potential in the middle rounds.
The Chicago Bears need a linebacker capable of controlling the middle and consistently making plays against the pass. Ironically, the window of opportunity may still exist for veteran Brian Urlacher as reported by Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune:
Asked if there was any chance Urlacher still could return, McCaskey said, "That’s up to the market and (general manager) Phil (Emery) and (head coach) Marc (Trestman). Phil said it’s a process. We’ll just go through it and see what happens."
It would be unfortunate for Urlacher, Bears fans everywhere and NFL lore if the legendary linebacker doesn't conclude his career in Chicago.
His knowledge of the game, instincts and dependability is without question. Include Chicago's upgraded offense and pulling Urlacher back to his NFL home increases its postseason odds.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs appear to have narrowed the list of their potential No. 1 draft pick. Per Albert Breer of NFL.com via Dan Hanzus, K.C. has dwindled down:
The Kansas City Chiefs are down to four potential possibilities for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
That's according to NFL.com's Albert Breer, who spoke with Chiefs general manager John Dorsey at Chiefs headquarters on Monday.
The Chiefs can go a few directions at No. 1 overall.
Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher make the most sense, because they are the draft's top offensive line prospects and bring great balance to the offense. Their pass and run-blocking skill set would easily inflate the production of Jamaal Charles.
Another fit would be Star Lotulelei. Not only is he a powerful force in the trenches to clog running lanes, win versus one-on-one and get quarterback pressure, but K.C. lost Glenn Dorsey to the San Francisco 49ers via free agency. Replacing him is a quick fix with Lotulelei and his versatility is capable of contributing anywhere along the line.
Potential prospect No. 4 could be Geno Smith. Despite Alex Smith's addition through trade and his development the past two seasons, West Virginia's signal-caller has the obvious upside advantage. Plus the Chiefs don't possess another capable quarterback other than Smith.