Kicking off this WCG Chicago Bears Draft Board series with the Bears obvious number need and that is offensive lineman. Even though the Bears offensive line has improved in the second half of the season, there are still significant needs on the line. You can argue that the Bears need an upgrade at all 5 positions on the offensive line, but the main three are RG, C, and LT. Roberto Garza has been a solid starter at RG for the Bears for so long, but he doesn't fit the proto-typical Tice offensive lineman. Olin Kreutz is just about done at Center, as he no longer can man up against opposing NT. Frank Omiyale has been serviceable at LT, but they can do better. For me, the Bears need to significantly upgrade the interior line. They have something at LG with Chris Williams, but need to get bigger and stronger at the RG and C. Here's my draft board ranking, offensive line edition.
#1 Derrick Sherrod OT Mississippi State- Sherrod is maybe the most complete tackle in the draft, but Barksdale is a slightly better pass protector than him. If he falls to where the Bears pick, this a no brainer. He's arguably the best offensive line prospect in this year's draft class. (#79 Sherrod Highlights)
#2 Joseph Barksdale OT LSU- Barksdale in my opinion is the best technician in the draft, and if the Bears want to run Martz offense to its full capacity they need tackles that can allow Cutler to complete 5 and 7 step drops. (#78 Barksdale Highlights)
#3 Marcus Cannon OT/OG TCU- I hear and read a lot of Bears fans clamoring for Mike Pouncey, but Cannon has a bigger upside especially if he kicks inside to guard like scouts think he will at the next level. At 6-6 350 pounds, Tice and Martz would love an athletic big guy like that either inside or outside.
#4 Anthony Castanzo OT Boston College- Against strong speed rushers he will struggle early on, but unlike Gabe Carimi he can be a starting LT at the next level. Boston College along Wisconsin breeds some of the best offensive line, so you assume a good prospect like Castanzo will be solid at the next level. (#74 Castonzo highlights)
#5 Stefen Wisniewski C Penn State- You really don't see that many centers coming into the league anchoring the middle of a NFL offensive line. Wisniewski might have to play guard for a year until he learns how to recognize blitzes and defensive line formations.
#6 Mike Pouncey OG Florida- Second best guard in a strong interior line draft. Pouncey right now is playing Center for Florida (and playing it badly I may add), but scouts know he's a solid starting guard at the next level. If the Bears go interior line with the first pick I prefer Cannon, but Pouncey is a good consolation prize. (#55 Pouncey highlights)
#7 Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin- Solid RT, but the Bears already have their RT for the future that I'm high on in J'Marcus Webb. Carimi is not a LT at the next level, and will get eaten alive by speed rushers. (#68 Carimi highlights)
#8 Benjamin Ijalana OT/OG Villanova- Just like Marcus Cannon he's an excellent athlete on the offensive line, but unlike Cannon his best position in my opinion at the next level is LT. Quick feet, great lateral movement in the past blocking department, and is strong and athletic to be a big factor in the run game. (#71Ljalana highlights)
#9 Nate Solder OT Colorado- Don't really see him as a LT that will be protecting your franchise QB blind side for 10 to 12 years. Could be a solid starting RT though, but the Bears have that guy already in Webb so this might not be a prospect the Bears look at. Some sites have him as high as the late first round, but I have him rated as a 2nd to 3rd round prospect. (#78 Solder highlights)
#10 Darius Morris OT Temple- Morris is a versatile offensive lineman that can play out and inside. Good prospect to groom for a 1 year and half if you have some serviceable starting tackles.
#11 Demarcus Love OT Arkansas- Sleeper prospect who might go in the late second round, but I have him here because he's a developmental project. He would be ideal to draft in the 3rd round and let Tice develop him while under Omiyale.
#12 Jason Moffitt OG Wisconsin- I have him rated as a 3rd round prospect, but wouldn't be surprise if he shoots up to the 2nd round of the draft. Moffitt is a very smart offensive guard who can also be groomed to play Center. For the Bears, he would be an instant upgrade over Williams or Garza. (#74 Moffitt highlight)
#13 Rodney Hudson OG Florida State- Too small for Tice blocking scheme, and most would fit better in a pure zone blocking scheme where his athleticism we be put to good use. (#62 Hudson highlights)
#14 Matt Reynolds OT BYU- Reynolds is a borderline 2nd to 3rd round tackle. He's a very solid prospect, but what hurts him is his age (Will be 24 in his 1st year). (#70 Reynolds highlights)
#15 Will Hackley OG Wyoming- Hackley is a late round sleeper that fits the Mike Tice mold for how he wants his offensive lineman.
Mock OL pick for the Bears- Marcus Cannon OG/OT TCU
Tice gets his prototypical offensive lineman in Cannon. Would it be a reach in the first? No, considering the weak spot on the line is the interior line where both Garza and Kreutz can no longer man up against DT's one on one. Cannon will most certainly give the Bears the start of a big offensive line (Webb 335, Williams 315, and Cannon 350),and allow Cutler to operate in a clean pocket. It will also make the right side of the line a favorable side to run behind again.