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RB Watch: Illini Standout Plans Halas Hall Appointment


Illinois Star Rashard Mendenhall Schedules Visit For Thursday At Halas Hall


You Knew It Was Coming: The hometown hero Rashard Mendenhall will finally visit Halas Hall on Thursday, joining the list of elite backs the Bears have already interviewed.

Rashard Speaks: “They’re my hometown team,” said Mendenhall, a Niles West graduate. “Growing up I was a Raider fan, but as I got older I was a Bears fan. It’ll be cool to talk to [coach Lovie Smith].”

Get Your Mocks Ready: Most draft pundits or “gurus” as they call ’em, view Mendenhall, who offensive coordinator Ron Turner recruited to Illinois, as the #2 back in the class behind Arkansas’ Darren McFadden. After the two “world beaters” the list becomes filled with intriguing prospects that range (projections) around the end of round one, springing all the way to the third round (Day 2).

Rashard’s Skills: What Mendenhall offers (Scouting Report) to the Bears and brings the table is an excellent combination of size (5’11”, 225), strength (Highlight Film), and speed (4.4, 40 – Check Out: Rose Bowl vs. USC) and would be a great addition to teams because he comes out as an underclassman with low mileage. Rashard will more than likely be available for the Bears to select with their first round choice at pick #14. The catch or twist to this scenario of going with a RB first (past history) is the team also has more than one need to address on offense, with the offensive line coming first and foremost (see: Cook’s Looks At OL, as Chicago looks to take care of both guard and tackle positions, looking at linemen that can start right away on a struggling (understatement) OL (not much depth).

Searching For A Reliable Back: The team has been known to have checked out McFadden and Arkansas teammate Felix Jones, Tulane’s Matt Forte, and Texas’ Jamaal Charles.

Who’s Ahead: The Carolina Panthers put Mendenhall through a private workout on March 27. They have the 13th pick, one ahead of the Bears. He also has met or will meet with the New York Jets (sixth pick), Cincinnati Bengals (ninth pick) and Dallas Cowboys (22nd and 28th picks).



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