The Chicago Bears’ critical offseason of talent acquisition has one more – very important – step: The Draft.
After GM Ryan Pace added several starting-caliber players to short-term deals in free agency, the organization’s focus now shifts back to the future and long-term health of the organization.
And because of the team’s many needs, we’re going to take a look at some of the best prospects at various positions of interest everyday leading up to the draft.
Positions: Offensive line (guards, tackles)
Need: High (tackles), low (guards)
Currently on the roster (2016 Pro Football Focus grade)
- G Josh Sitton (87.2)
- G Kyle Long (78.1)
- T Charles Leno Jr. (70.8)
- T Bobby Massie (69.9)
- T Tom Compton (50.9)
Top 5 Tackles (Pro Football Focus Overall Rank)
- Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin (22)
- Cam Robinson, Alabama (55)
- Garrett Bolles, Utah (61)
- Roderick Johnson, Florida State (72)
- Conor McDermott, UCLA (104)
Best of the rest: Antonio Garcia, Troy (109); Justin Senior, Mississippi State (122); Robert Leff, Auburn (130); Zach Banner, USC (143), Eric Smith, Virginia (158)
Top 5 Guards (Pro Football Focus Overall Rank)
- Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky (27)
- Taylor Moton, Western Michigan (54)
- Dan Feeney, Indiana (68)
- Dion Dawkins, Temple (108)
- Danny Isidora, Miami (Fla.) (116)
Best of the rest: Nico Siragusa, San Diego State (140); Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh (147); Fred Zerblis, Colorado State (157); Corey Levin, Chattanooga (162); Damien Mama, USC (192)
The interior of the Bears line is the second most talented position group on the offense behind running back. That group is so good, quarterback Mike Glennon made note of it during his introductory press conference after signing with the Bears in free agency. However, not much has been said about the tackles. Which makes sense, because the tandem of Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie is average at best.
The Bears could stand to improve at both (or either) tackle spots, but this draft doesn’t have the traditional stud tackle sitting at the top of draft boards. And if there was such a player, the Bears would likely be targeting him with the third overall pick.
Most Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock:
GM Ryan Pace has drafted a starting caliber linemen in each of the last two seasons with Cody Whitehair (2016) and Hroniss Grasu (2015). Whitehair was a second-round pick, while Grasu was a third-round selection. Based on this small set of data, the Bears will likely pick another potential starting offensive lineman in the second or third rounds – if at all.
This leaves the Bears available to pick a tackle such as Florida’s Roderick Johnson or a guard like Indiana’s Dan Feeney.
If I Had to Pick One:
Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton is one of the best linemen in this class and a potential mid-round sleeper. He was a four-year starter whose future is likely at guard, but has some of the skills and traits seek in a right tackle. If he reaches his floor as a starting guard, perhaps Kyle Long returns to right tackle. But if Moton makes certain strides in his game, he could be the Bears’ right tackle of the future. Either way, his versatility could make him a fit for an offensive line that needs help.