We're Black and Blue All Over:
Is Cal safety Chris Conte a smart find or an untested reach? That's the question Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune explores of the Chicago Bears' third-round draft selection.
Biggs: "There was a wide range of opinions about 6-foot-2, 197-pound Conte on draft weekend. One scouting director in another city said he was the top safety on his team's board. A veteran scout for another club mocked the selection, the seventh safety the Bears have drafted in seven years. The disparity is likely due to the fact Conte was one-year starter at safety and a relative unknown. A mixup that prevented him from playing in a college All-Star game kept him under the radar for West Coast scout Marty Barrett. The Bears view Conte as a future starter and perhaps more importantly they consider him a free safety. It's the position where they have been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole."
Conte has prototypical size (6-foot-2, 197 pounds) to play safety, and his background as a cornerback suggests he has more cover skills than some college safeties. But the fact of the matter is that he's only played one year at the position. Can the Bears develop him into a future starter? Or was he an expensive special-teams selection? We're probably a year or more away from answering that question.
Continuing around the NFC North:
ESPN analyst and former Bears coach Mike Ditka on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, via Dave Krieger of the Denver Post: "... I'm just saying that he needs to improve his body language, and I think everybody would admit that."
The city of Minneapolis will announce a Minnesota Vikings stadium proposal Monday that would call for it to pay for 25 percent of the cost, according to Mike Kaszuba of the Star Tribune. Minneapolis is competing with Ramsey County with time running out in the Minnesota State legislative session.
One of the most ardent stadium optimists, Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune, doesn't think a Vikings stadium will get approved in 2011.
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that "it's difficult to imagine a better location" than in Ramsey County.
Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press speaks with Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette profiles Green Bay Packers first-round pick Derek Sherrod.
Mike Vandermause of the Press-Gazette compares the Packers' two most recent Super Bowl teams.
Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes about the offseason of Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk.
Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News: "The best thing that happened to the Lions during last week's draft is what didn't happen. The Lions reportedly tried to move up from the 13th pick to the Cardinals' fifth pick in order to draft LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. Peterson was by far the best corner available in the draft and getting him would have instantly fulfilled a need for the Lions. But at what cost?"
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will have an assortment of running backs at his disposal this season, notes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.