NFL teams simply do not value interior linemen in the draft. They typically eschew drafting them, in favor of taking tackles. The logic behind that is tackle is a harder position to play, so if you draft a tackle that can't cut it as a tackle, you can always kick him inside to guard, and thus you have a more talented guy on the interior.
This year there are two guard prospects creating a lot of buzz, Chance Warmack of Alabama, and Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina. Warmak has been the consensus top guard all mock draft season, with some scouts having him listed as a top five prospect.
Cooper started to come on lately, then after his impressive pro day, some scouts now prefer Cooper over Warmack. Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network called Cooper's pro day, the best workout he has seen from a guard in a long time, and Chris Wesseling of NFL.com says both players are better prospects than last years top guard, David DeCastro.
Last year DeCastro went number 24 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and with the Chicago Bears picking at 20 this year, what are the chances that either one or both of these guard prospects will be available?
Ted Sundquist, former Denver Broncos G.M., believes this is a good area to be in the market for a guard.
Safety, tight end, guards and centers have traditionally produced at an outstanding level in this range. All four positions normally don't see the first player taken until after the 17th pick.
In the last 25 years (1988-2012), there were only nine offensive guards drafted at #20 or earlier, and only one year were two guards taken before that. So the odds are good that one will be available when Chicago G.M. Phil Emery is picking.
The draft history section at NFL.com isn't the most accurate, as they list some tackles as guards, because they lined up at guard during their rookie season. One example is Hall Of Famer Jonathan Ogden, who is one of the best left tackles in the history of the NFL. NFL.com lists him as a guard, because as a rookie he started at left guard for Baltimore. Ogden went to 11 straight Pro Bowls as a LT, so he's a LT.
There were two players that I'll give the guard benefit of the doubt to, and both were Green Bay Packers, Aaron Taylor in 1994, and Joe Wolf in 1989. Both were tackles in college, but my memory fails me if they were projected to guard in the NFL, so I'll leave them as part of the nine guards to go 20 or earlier.
As we get closer to the draft, I'm seeing a bigger fluctuation with where Warmack and Cooper are being selected, some mock drafters even have Cooper as the first guard off the board. I've also seen Cooper mocked to the Bears at 20, and now I've seen at least one mock draft that has Warmack falling to 20.
The Bears are in a good position to acquire a talented player at 20, and if that player is either Warmack or Cooper, I believe they'll have a 10 year starter on the offensive line.
What do you guys think? Do you think there's a good shot that one of these players will be available for the Bears at 20?