This is part two in my series looking at potential draft choices on a round by round basis. Last time it was wide out possibilities, this time the trenches will get my attention.
The O-Line is a definite need area for the Bears. Even if the current group can continue to gel and build off the last quarter of the 2009 season, the line still needs an infusion of youth. I think we all can agree that at some point they will draft an offensive lineman. But will it be a tackle or an interior player?
And remember, this is not my mock draft, I'm not predicting the Bears will go O-Line with every pick. This is just to look at a lineman or two that may be available in each round the Bears pick.
After chicagobears.com came out with this little nugget, Bears intend to lock Omiyale in at one position on line, it opened up some options for them.
The Bears aren't sure at this point exactly where Frank Omiyale will play this season. But the plan is to keep the 6-4, 315-pounder at one spot on the offensive line.
"We're going to lock Frank in at one position, whatever position that ends up being," said coach Lovie Smith.
"He can play the left guard position. He can play the right tackle position. I think it's safe to say that Frank will be at one of those positions for us and play well. We're looking at all that right now."
I think they realize Omiyale is better than both Josh Beekman at LG and Kevin Shaffer at RT, and depending on what position they can upgrade either via the Draft or with another free agent signing, the plan is to keep him waiting. As long as a plan is in place before May 21st at the very latest, which is the tentative start date for the Bears Mini-Camp. But even better, make a decision before March 29th which the Bears voluntary off-season workout program kicks off. Get him locked into one position and let him get comfortable there. Even though he went through all of last year at guard, his prior experience is at tackle.
This looks to be another fine O-Line draft class and hopefully the Bears are in position to take the highest player on their draft board. I already spotlighted a few offensive lineman on previous posts so I'll give a different take on the guys I look at here. I looked at Sam Young, Jared Veldheer, and Jeff Byers HERE, and Mike Johnson and Mitch Petrus HERE, so now it's on to some fresh prospects.
Third Round - Ciron Black, LSU OT/OG, 6'4" 327 - I think the only way Black falls to the 3rd round is if a number of left tackle prospects shoot up teams draft boards, as LT is the safer pick for teams, because if a guy can't cut it on the left side the fall back option is shifting him to the right or even to guard. Black projects to a right tackle in the NFL (due to foot speed concerns)after playing on the left side at LSU, but some scouts like him at guard. Either way he'd fill a need for the Bears. I've seen him rated anywhere from the 2nd round to 6th round, but I think his experience and durability will see him go in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Fourth Round - Selvish Capers, West Virginia OT, 6'4" 308 - Capers looked athletic at the combine, which was expected for the converted tight end. He started his last 3 seasons at RT, but was responsible for lefty QB Pat White's blindside when he was under center there. Due to their spread offense he rarely was in a 3 point stance, but his athleticism has him higher on some teams draft boards. He'll need to add some strength and size for the NFL. A right tackle that thrives in pass protection is exactly what the Bears are looking for with the change in offense under Mike Martz.
Fifth Round - Eric Olsen, Notre Dame C/OG, 6'4" 306 - I always love when scouts drop the "plays with a nasty streak" line about a prospect. He played all three interior positions on the line for Notre Dame and would be good competition for Beekman. He may need to add some bulk, but he has the intelligence and the leadership qualities the Bears like in their lineman.
Fifth Round - Brandon Carter, Texas Tech OG, 6'6" 329 - While not as big as the 6'7" 344 he was listed at in college, he still casts an imposing figure. Especially when considering the tattoos and Mohawk, and lets not forget the mascara he dons on game day, Walter Football says, "he's the crazy guy with paint all over his face who looks like he just escaped from the mental hospital." He has a minor character concern with a 1 game suspension for tearing into his teammates and coaches, and he has been known to get a little rowdy on game-day, but the "fire and passion" is what most Bears fans are always looking for in their players, right? I've seen him rated as high as a 2nd rounder and as low as a 6th, if he's there in round 5 I think he'd be a nice pick up.
Sixth Round - John Estes, Hawaii C, 6'2" 295 - A bit on the small side, but he's technically sound and experienced. He holds the NCAA record with 54 starts. He's a good pass blocker, but can get beat by the bull rush, and in run blocking he shows the ability to seal bigger defenders, but he'll still need to add some strength at the next level. He's known for his work ethic and some scouts think if a team takes a chance on him, he'll work his way into being a solid pro.
Sixth Round - Tony Washington, Abilene Christian OT, 6'6" 311 - I've seen scouts call this offensive tackle a first roundtalent, while others think he'll be lucky to be drafted. Saying there is a red flag on him is an understatement. As a 16 year old kid he had consensual sex with his 15 year old biological sister. It's a touchy subject to say the least, and some scouting reports don't even bother mentioning it. He had a real good NFL Combine so the chances of his getting drafted are on the rise. With the familiarity the Bears have with the Abeline Christian coaching staff I'm sure they'll explore all possibilities in drafting him.
Seventh Round - Thomas Welch, Vanderbilt OT, 6'6" 307 - This will satisfy the Vanderbilt aspect of this post. He has expressed an interest in joining Chicago, but if drafted he would need some time to develop.