NFL Nation: Reidel Anthony
We're back at NFC North headquarters after four fruitful days at the NFL's annual scouting combine. Yes, we had a nice trip Sunday night, thanks for asking.
Over the course of this week, I'll trickle out some remaining tidbits I gathered and also start looking ahead to the start of what is likely to be a quiet free-agency period. (Few players available = few bidding wars.)
But first, let's take a look at the top stories Monday morning in the NFC North, beginning with Vaughn McClure's conversation with Chicago cornerback Nate Vasher in the Chicago Tribune.
It's only fair to wonder about Vasher's future with the Bears after an injury-plagued season in 2008. General manager Jerry Angelo said over the weekend that Vasher "needs to be a better player." The Bears have a minicamp scheduled for the middle of March, and there's no certainty that Vasher will make it to training camp.
Vasher: "I don't feel like I'm above the rumors or speculation, just like any other player this offseason. But I'm still here. Nobody has told me anything."
It seems unlikely the Bears would make a move with Vasher before minicamp. He figures to compete with Corey Graham for a starting job opposite Charles Tillman, but shoulder surgery likely will keep Tillman out of the minicamp. That will give the Bears plenty of opportunities to determine whether they think Vasher can rebound from his down year.
Continuing around the division:
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times notes that Angelo has taken only one receiver in the first round during his past 22 drafts, dating to his time with Tampa Bay. That receiver was Florida's Reidel Anthony in 1997.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press believes that if all things are equal, the Lions should take quarterback Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
- David Birkett of the Oakland Press, meanwhile, suggests Baylor tackle Jason Smith or Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry are the better options.
- Green Bay's top free-agent priority is to re-sign defensive tackle Colin Cole, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- The Packers believe linebacker A.J. Hawk will thrive in their new 3-4 defense, according to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Minnesota has a new special teams coach in Brian Murphy, but "I don't think there will be wholesale changes schematically," coach Brad Childress said at the combine. Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune has details.