Bears reboot begins at scouting combine

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A month into their tenure as the new Chicago Bears brain trust, General Manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox get ready to roll up their sleeves as the NFL Scouting Combine unfolds this week in Indianapolis.

Besides the evaluation of over 300 prospects and the important interviews that accompany them, Pace and Fox will likely reveal their thoughts on the Bears 2015 roster. Chief among those decisions are the futures of both QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall, each due big money in mid-March.

There’s also the question of whether long-time Bears Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman will return. Early signs point to the answer being no, but Pace and Fox may be able to confirm that when they meet with the media in a mid-week press briefing.

Aside from those decisions, Pace and Fox could shed light on the Bears transition from a base 4-3 defense to a 3-4, a move rumored for weeks following the addition of veteran defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, an advocate of the 3-4 defense. Under that proposed shift, the Bears roster would likely undergo further turnover, as the new staff assembles the necessary ingredients to fit the scheme.

No matter the front utilized, the Bears figure to focus heavily on the defensive side of the ball. The 2015 draft, while lacking the star power at QB, features a group of talented rush men  who could impact immediately.

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While USC man-child Leonard Williams and athletic Nebraska DE Randy Gregory are likely to be gone before the Bears pick at seven, Chicago could pick between Florida’s versatile Dante Fowler, Washington wide-body Danny Shelton, or Missouri’s steady Shane Ray.<

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There’s depth at both LB and secondary positions, which should enable the Bears to restock the cupboard at those spots.

In a whirlwind week, prospects arrive at staggered days and go through a series of medical exams, interviews, and bench press testing before getting on the field to display their agility in light drills designed to simulate their athletic skills. Players begin arriving Tuesday and the on-field drills start Friday and continue throughout the weekend.

The draft is still two months away, but chances are the 2015 Bears season will be shaped by the discussions and decisions made this week in Indianapolis.

 

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