The Chicago Bears' interest in strengthening a weak run defense with an interior defensive lineman early in next month's NFL draft has been widely assumed. And speaking of wide, one of the biggest of all such prospects recently visited the club: Notre Dame's Louis Nix.
Whether the 331-pound nose guard would be a fit in the Bears' 4-3 defense is another matter. He is a classic run stuffer and thus just what the Bears need, but as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme, he'd be asked to provide more athleticism than simply controlling two gaps, which is the primary demand of a 3-4 nose guard.
The visit, reported at chicagotribune.com, should be of no surprise to Bears fans, who watched Chicago's defensive front seven give up an average of 161.4 rushing yards per game last year, worst in the NFL by a margin of more than 25 yards. Defensive ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston were added in free agency, but that might not be all the help that's required.
NFL Media analysts have projected the club to add a defensive lineman across the board with the No. 14 pick, though the selections have varied from Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald to FSU's Timmy Jernigan to Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman. Potentially, Nix could be available to the Bears later in the round in a trade-down scenario. Nix could be a target of the New England Patriots with the No. 29 pick.
But the Bears' need for interior defensive line help doesn't necessarily mean they'll find it in the first round. Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will be in Chicago this week for a visit, as well, according to NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport, via Twitter. Clinton-Dix is projected as a mid-first round pick, well in range with the Bears' pick at No. 14.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.