Thursday, January 24, 2013
Urlacher replacement idea
By Tim Kavanagh
At some point in the near future, the Chicago Bears will have to find a replacement for Brian Urlacher. Urlacher may have some seasons left before he retires, but there will be a day when someone else will be their starting middle linebacker. A lot of attention has been paid to whether that will occur in 2013, as Urlacher's contract is up this offseason, and that's an intriguing storyline we'll continue to follow, but what about the next step in the process: finding someone to fill his role?
A replacement will come either via free agency or the draft, and the ideal situation would be to select an heir apparent out of the rookie class and have him intern behind Urlacher (brought back on a new deal) for a season or two before taking the reins himself. That hypothetical is based upon the two sides working out a deal (or the Bears franchising No. 54), but we can consider the second part of it nevertheless.
The top inside LB prospect in the view of many is Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, whose on-field stock still appears to be strong despite the wild turn his life has taken off the field recently. But another player that caught ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert's eye in reading scouting reports from the Senior Bowl is FSU's Vince Williams. Here's what the fellows from Scouts, Inc. had to say about Williams:
Scouts, Inc.Scouts, Inc.: Vince Williams
"Williams (6-foot-0.5, 247 pounds) is big and strong. He really shows up when they do any type of hitting and striking. He did a nice job of slipping blocks when he should slip blocks, did a good job of taking them on when he should take them on. He's playing with a chip on his shoulder. Sometimes guys emerge as leaders at the Senior Bowl, and this year Williams is one of those guys. The other players are rallying around him when he makes a play. You can see there's a little more emotion and fire with Williams. On Wednesday, you could see that he's a guy that everyone looks to on this defense to light a spark. He's not a great athlete laterally, but he ran well on a straight line, and that was surprising because we weren't sure if he could do that."