Chicago Bears 2013 Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors & Predictions

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IApril 8, 2013

Chicago Bears 2013 Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors & Predictions

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    For the first time in what seems like ages, the Chicago Bears will approach an NFL draft with a head coach not named Lovie Smith and a potential hole at the middle linebacker position.

    Smith is gone, replaced by former Montreal Aloutes head coach Marc Trestman after missing the playoffs for a third time in four years. So is eventual Hall of Fame middle linebacker Brian Urlacher—at least for the moment—and the possibility exists that the first pick in the Trestman era will be used on finding his replacement. 

    While the Bears have certainly addressed a number of positions in free agency—the team signed tackle Jermon Bushrod, tight end Martellus Bennett and linebacker D.J. Williams—the draft will still prove a vital resource for restocking Trestman's first roster.

    In the following slides, we'll provide a one-stop shop for all the Bears news, reports and rumors regarding the 2013 NFL draft. The tracker will update consistently over the next three weeks as the draft approaches, so stick here for everything you'll need. 

Latest News, Rumors and Reports

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    April 24: Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Bears held a private workout for North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon. Jensen also reports that Chicago is "looking hard" at quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL draft.

    April 23: According to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bears held a private workout for Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh last weekend. 

    April 21: Lance Zierlein of the Houston Chronicle believes Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree is the best fit for the Bears from a "physical standpoint." Ogletree will almost certainly be available when the Bears pick at No. 20 overall, and off-the-field issues could even make him a second-round option. 

    April 18: According to Michael Wright of ESPN Chicago, the Bears brought in Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso for a visit this week. Linebackers continue to be a common trend for Chicago's pre-draft visits.

    April 14: Michael Wright of ESPN Chicago reports, via NFL sources, that Stanford tight end Zach Ertz is in play for the Bears at No. 20 overall. Chicago signed Martellus Bennett to a four-year deal in free agency.

    April 14: Lance Zierlein of the Houston Chronicle doesn't believe the Bears are a lock to take a linebacker with their first-round pick. 

    April 14: Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago reports that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o has already visited with the Bears. He's a popular mock-draft selection for Chicago. 

    April 10According to Vaughn McClure, the Bears are scheduled to host Missouri linebacker Zaviar Gooden. McClure says he's projected as a third-round pick. 

    April 8: According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago, the Bears will host Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown for an official visit. He is expected to be at the Bears complex both Monday and Tuesday.

    According to Draft Ace, the following players have conducted visits with the Bears: 

    RB Steven Miller, Appalachian State
    TE Keavon Milton, La-Monroe
    OT Reid Fragel, Ohio State
    LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
    LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
    LB Sean Porter, Texas A&M
    LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
    CB Brandon McGee, Miami FL
    CB Jeremy Harris, New Mexico State
    CB Don Unamba, Southern Arkansas

Latest Mock Drafts

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    ESPN (Mel Kiper, Jr., 4/4): LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

    An obvious fit to replace Brian Urlacher inside, but is this enough value at No. 20 overall? And do any of the other middle linebackers (Ogletree, Arthur Brown) make more sense? 

    ESPN (Todd McShay, 4/10): TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame

    An interesting choice, considering the Bears spent money acquiring Martellus Bennett in free agency. Eifert is the clear No. 1 tight end in this draft class, however.

    Sports Illustrated (Don Banks, 4/5): LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia 

    Athletic, aggressive and, potentially, the most talented inside linebacker in the 2013 class. There are off-the-field issues, but this might be the smartest avenue if the Bears decide to replace Urlacher with its first pick.

    National Football Post (Russ Lande, 4/3): G Chance Warmack, Alabama

    The Bears shouldn't even hesitate if Warmack is still on the board at No. 20. He's a mauler inside who can start from the first practice on.

    CBS Sports (Rob Rang, 4/2): LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia

    Here's another aspect to consider about Ogletree: He's likely capable of playing outside linebacker in a 4-3, so the signing of D.J. Williams wouldn't necessarily stop Chicago from taking an athletic playmaker to play alongside him. 

Latest Trade Rumors

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    Will be updated as trade rumors surface.

How to Replace a Legend

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    In a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, team chairman George McCaskey stopped short of ruling out the possibility of former linebacker Brian Urlacher making a return. But unless Urlacher hears nothing but crickets on the open market and is willing to get paid for pennies on the dollar, his reign as King in Chicago is all but over.

    Replacing a legend is nothing new in the NFL. But how the Bears plan to do it will be one of their offseason's defining stories. 

    D.J. Williams, a former starter with the Denver Broncos, was signed and is expected to compete for a starting role.

    But could the Bears still look to the draft to fill Urlacher's shoes?

    Once considered a soft draft at inside linebacker, at least four players at the position have emerged as potential options in the first round: Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, Georgia's Alec Ogletree, Kansas State's Arthur Brown and LSU's Kevin Minter. 

    Keep in mind, Williams will turn 31 years old in July. He played just seven games in 2012 and can now be considered in decline. The Bears still need to address the position. 

    The 2013 draft presents options to remedy the loss of Urlacher. Whether the team is willing to pull the trigger on such a player in the first round is still up in the air. 

Rebuilding the Offensive Line Continues?

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    According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), only four NFL teams were worse at protecting their passer last season than the Chicago Bears. The mission of re-making the offensive line continues this offseason.

    The Bears have signed tackle Jermon Bushrod (formerly of the New Orleans Saints) and guard Matt Slauson (New York Jets), giving the team two new potential starters up front in 2013. Bushrod, a former Pro Bowler, should be a huge upgrade at left tackle. Slauson started at left guard for three seasons in New York.

    But is there more work still to be done, possibly through the draft?

    If the season started today, the starting offensive line would likely look like this, from left to right: Bushrod, Slauson, Roberto Garza, Gabe Carimi and J'Marcus Webb. 

    Carimi gave his best performances of 2012 at right guard, but he's really struggled overall since the Bears took him in the first round. Webb was average to below-average at left tackle.

    Linemen such as Alabama's Chance Warmack, UNC's Jonathan Cooper and Alabama's D.J. Fluker may be available for the Bears at No. 20, and would each provide an upgrade over the current player. All three are plug-and-play starters. 

    The Bears have certainly improved up front over the last month, but we'll really find out how committed general manager Phil Emery is to fixing the offensive line when the No. 20 pick comes in later in April.