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Tuesday, March 22, 2011
BBAO: Henry Melton to start for Bears?

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

We're Black and Blue All Over:

NEW ORLEANS -- When the Chicago Bears benched defensive tackle Tommie Harris last season, they replaced him with third-year player Matt Toeaina. But are the Bears targeting another third-year player as Harris' permanent replacement?

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo seemed to give that impression during a wide-ranging interview with Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago. Angelo suggested that Henry Melton, who technically has been listed as a defensive end, could make the conversion to defensive tackle.
Angelo: "... Obviously, the plan is for him to play more, and hopefully be the starter. He's still a work in progress. But everything we saw this past year, in particular during the season, we liked. He just kept getting a little better, a little better. The arrow's going up. We feel, physically speaking, he's got everything you want in terms of size, speed, toughness. That's not any question. Now it's just a matter of learning the position and that will come with the repetition of more play. We feel real good. No guarantees, but everything we look for, he has. That's the good thing. He has shown that at some point or another."

I still think the Bears need to consider defensive tackle one of their top offseason priorities. But with such uncertainty about the timing of offseason acquisitions this year, there could be some weight behind Angelo's suggestion. If there were ever a year to rely on an internal replacement, it's this one.

Continuing around the NFC North: