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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).



  1. DraftKing

    April 9, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Forte all the way. We should OL in round one, and Forte in round two. Makes the most since financially and position-need wise).

  2. Russ Loede

    April 9, 2008 at 8:28 am

    But is there a lineman avlb @ 14 worthy enough to draft? I personally do not like Williams/Otah much…

    I wouldn’t mind trading down to select Branden Albert, who I think could easily be the best OL out of the bunch in this year’s terrific class.

    Can play both guard/tackle positions and hasn’t even reached his ceiling.

    By the way, I absolutely would love to get Matt Forte outta Tulane. We need a tough, durable back like Forte.

    What about James Hardy in the 2nd round if he’s there? Kid’s a 6-foot 7 playmaker, Hardy would flat-out be a scary weapon/target for teams to cover.

    Would you be disappointed if we traded down or drafted Rashard?



  3. DraftKing

    April 9, 2008 at 8:39 am

    I think Albert would be a great pick, even at 14. Problem with taking a WR in the 2nd is that Forte won’t be available in the 3rd. The only reason Forte is going in the 2nd is because he played at Tulane. Forte is Bears ready; he played in a very similar offense as ours and he wouldn’t be a liability on third downs as he can catch and pick-up blitzes. We would be making a grave mistake to pass him up, expecially since we’d likely be facing him twice a year–rumor has it that Detroit’s coveting him, too.

  4. Russ Loede

    April 10, 2008 at 8:01 am


    Just wondering if you were interested in doing some audio work w/ me via GrandCentral previewing the upcoming Draft in general and some work for the site w/ our Bears on

    We can do some stuff leading up to Draft Day and on the day of the Draft if you’d like (pending time schedules/availability).

    I cannot express this enough in words or describe how right on-target you are with the Bears and what they should do in this year’s Draft. I appreciate your comments/feedback….

    I would love to have you do something for the site or work w/ me on some Bears/Draft material…

    I would really like to work w/ someone who knows just as much or even more about the Draft/Bears as I do and it’d be a great privilege and opportunity to work with you…

    Thanks A Lot,
    BearsGab.Com Editor Russ

  5. Russ Loede

    April 10, 2008 at 8:11 am

    My Take:

    On Albert – Rising up the Draft Boards, I would definitely select him @ 14. Most talented/versatile OL in the Draft besides Long. Would be a Starter right away and he is being compared/likened to a Steinbach or Hutchinson.

    On WR position – When do we take one? And who should we go after? Any possible 3rd round candidates that can contribute and make an impact right away? What if Hardy’s avlb. and Forte is not, do we take him? What are the chances of us finding a solid, good-fit WR for our team in the 3rd round or 4th? Is it that big of a need?

    On Forte – I really like this guy and did a big article on him (Aspiring to make a Wave…) I feel, just like you, he would be a great fit and “Bears-ready”. Just don’t know if he’s that “true” difference-maker and a game-changer that can take it to the house and get the 20 + yard gains we are looking for and need in a back. (haven’t had a homerun hitter in a long time!). So Forte won’t be avlb in the 3rd round anymore (previous mocks)? What jumps/stands out to you when you watch him play? Is there that much of a difference between him and say… Jamaal Charles, Tashard Choice, Kevin Smith? Also what do you think about the vastly overhyped speedster Chris Johnson – is he the “Real Deal”?



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