UPDATED: Clearing the smoke en route to the draft

SHARE UPDATED: Clearing the smoke en route to the draft

Were headed down the home stretch. Well try to tie together some loose ends here and then gear up for the action Saturday.

Inside the Bears will be doing a continuously updated blog from Halas Hall Saturday starting around 1 p.m. Well keep it alive and rolling as best we can until the nuisance known as deadline for the Sunday print edition comes along. The draft begins at 2 and with 10 minutes per pick, the Bears dont figure to be selecting at No. 14 until some time around 4.

UPDATE: The Devin Thomas information has been updated in another post. Offensive quality control coach Charles London put the Michigan State wide receiver through a workout today.

*** The seed planted by Drew Rosenhaus, the Bears or both on Thursday that the club was checking out Michigan State wide receiver Devin Thomas turned out to be a smoke screen. As in it was a hoax. We will count ourselves guilty of being suckered in and are here to set the record straight. Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake did not travel to Michigan to meet with the top prospect today.

Many expect Thomas to be the first receiver off the board, selected by the Buffalo Bills at No. 11. Obviously, news that the Bears would be interested helps Thomas in the event the Bills do not select him, and helps the Bears as they do their damnedest to make someone believe theyre not targeting an offensive tackle.

We also speculated here Thursday that Drake might have his eye on some vacation property in Michigan. That still may prove to be true, but hes not looking for land there today either.

*** Dallas Morning News draft guru Rick Gosselin released his list of top 100 players today. Charting the tackles it goes like thisNo. 4 Jake Long, No. 9 Ryan Clady, Jeff Otah No. 16, Chris Williams No. 20 and G/OT Branden Albert checks in at No. 18. After Gosder Cherilus at No. 26, Gosselin doesnt list another tackle until Anthony Collins at No. 49. Sam Baker is No. 51.

*** Mike Mulligan, a tireless supporter of Inside the Bears, pairs the team up with Vanderbilt offensive tackle Chris Williams in his mock draft today.

*** In the event Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall slips past the Bears and Detroit Lions at No. 15, look for him to possibly land in Arizona at No. 16. The Cardinals preference is to grab a top cornerback, but if theyre off the board Arizona wants to upgrade its running game over Edgerrin James. Our friend Vic Carucci at NFL.com has Mendenhall falling into the lap of the Bears, however, in his most recent mock draft.

*** ESPN.coms Mike Sando has an interesting breakdown of the value of all picks in the first round from 2000 through 2007. He charts how players performed at each slot in the first roundplayers who exceeded expectations, met expectations and fell below expectations. The best pick? No. 5. Four players in that slot have exceeded expectations and four have met expectations.

Where does No. 14 fall? It ranks 10th. Two players have exceeded, and youd think the Bears Tommie Harris is one of them, four have met expectations and two have fallen below expectations. The Bears Michael Haynes did not meet expectations.

The last eight players to go 14th: Jets CB Darrelle Revis 2007, Eagles DT Brodrick Bunkley 2006, Panthers S Thomas Davis 2005, Bears DT Tommie Harris 2004, Bears DE Michael Haynes 2003, Giants TE Jeremy Shockey 2002, Tampa OT Kenyatta Walker 2001, Packers TE Bubba Franks 2000.

The worst slot? No. 26. Five players selected there have fallen below expectations. May the Jaguars be forewarned.

Well have more evaluation of the 14th pick and what it means later on.

*** General manager Jerry Angelo has yet to trade up on the first day of the draft in six years.

The last time the Bears moved up in the first round? They dealt the 18th, 63rd and 201st picks in 1996 to St. Louis for the 13th pick, which was used on CB Walt Harris.

The last time the Bears moved up in the second round? They actually maneuvered up in 1997 trading the 40th and 173rd selections to St. Louis to draft TE John Allred with the 38th pick. No telling if Allred actually would have lasted to 173 that year.

*** Family matters? Bears coach Lovie Smith has ties to Arkansas running back Felix Jones. He played with Jones uncle at Tulsa.

*** Saw Mike Brown walking down the hallway in Halas Hall Thursday morning. He was wearing a smile on his face.

*** The Bears will conduct a three-day rookie minicamp starting next Friday. It is closed to the public.

Check back soon for more.

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