This is one subject that had been discussed more than most. Who do the Bears draft with their first round pick, and more precisely, what position? The time has come to put this thing to bed. After going through all the options and playing out every scenario, I have no doubt that the Bears need to draft an offensive lineman with the number 19 pick in this year's draft.
And here's why:
This years NFL draft is pretty deep when it comes to offensive lineman. And I don't think there is much doubt that this is probably the one area that Chicago need to address more than most. It's either that or draft a receiver, a pass rusher, or possibly a linebacker. But I don't think either of those positions need to be filled with the Bears' first round pick.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall should now give Jay Cutler the number one receiver he has been missing. We have one of the best pass rushers in Julius Peppers, and while it would be nice to add another beast on the defensive line, I think we have enough strength at that position. Like I mentioned before, the Bears do need to start looking beyond Urlacher and Briggs at linebacker. They will not be playing the game forever, and their successors need to be lined up.
Which brings us back to the offensive line. It is still the one area that has us all talking. The line has gone through so many permutations, but has still struggled to perform to any kind of consistent level.
Having a great quarterback in Jay Cutler will not make any difference unless he is protected, and this is something his lineman have failed to do with any kind of regularity.
But of course this begs the question; if the Bears do take a lineman, which one?
For me, it comes down to three players: Jonathan Martin, Cordy Glenn and Mike Adams.
Martin played alongside David DeCastro at Stanford as they teamed up to protect probable number one pick, Andrew Luck. Although his stock seems to be falling, I would expect DeCastro to be off the board by the time the Bears have their pick. Martin is an athletic left tackle, with quick feet and good agility. One thing I noticed was that he was a little too upright when moving backwards, but this is a minor problem. He has a nasty streak that the Bears would be looking for, and his work ethic is excellent.
I have seen mock drafts predicting Martin going as high as 15, and as low as 27, so whether the Bears feel comfortable taking him at 19 remains to be seen.
I feel confident that Cordy Glenn would be available to the Bears. At 345 pounds, he is one of the largest linemen is this year's draft, but he is fast. He has and exceptional burst of speed, especially considering his size. He is a powerful player, but may be a little suspect when it comes to facing speedy pass rushers. His run blocking is solid, and has no problem knocking opposing players to the ground. Surprisingly for a big man, he seems to reach the second level with ease, taking on linebackers in the process. He started 50 games with the Georgia Bulldogs, which tied a team record, demonstrating his durability. Glenn would be a good fit for the Bears, if he's still there at 19.
So, finally to Mike Adams. Again, another player who seems to be slipping in terms of mock drafts, but I still feel he could serve the Bears well. Perhaps not an instant starter, Adams might well be a someone who can mature into the role. He has had several injuries, and was also one of the Ohio State players to be suspended for gaining benefits from selling collectibles. That aside, he is tall (6-foot-7) and athletic, has good hands, and is able to handle quicker pass rushers. He is quick off the snap and engages defenders well, making good use of his hands. If Jonathan Martin and Cordy Glenn are off the board, the Bears would do well to consider Adams.
Offensive lineman is a position that the Bears just have to add depth to. If Gabe Carimi is back to full strength this year, they will be on the right track. I know Lovie Smith has said that he feels comfortable with the line, but I think analysts and fans alike realize that for the Bears to find their way back to the big games, the offensive line needs improving.