I love NFL Draft time. Watching the combine, the college all star games, the wall to wall NFL Network coverage of the athletes' pro days, and scouring the internet for mock drafts. Some mock drafters really know their stuff, but some look as though they are throwing darts. This time out, I'll start with a couple mock drafts from CBSSports.com. They have two complete 1st rounds mocked out, so go over and see how they have the draft falling, then come back and see what I think after the jump.
Both of their NFL Mock drafters, Rob Rang and Chad Reuter, have the Bears using the 29th pick (as of 2/7/11) on 2010 Outland Trophy winner Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin. If the actual NFL Draft fell this way I would be fine with the selection. Actually I'd be more than fine, as the Badgers consistently turn out quality offensive linemen. Their run game schemes are some of the best in college football. And since they run a pro style offense, their lineman aren't soured by any spread scheme.
Carimi (6'7", 327) played left tackle at Wisconsin, and scouts are torn about his eventual home in the NFL. At the Senior Bowl practices he saw time at left guard, as well as left tackle, but some scouts think his footwork could land him at right tackle.
Here's what Rang said about the possibility of the Bears taking Carimi:
The steady improvement of this offensive line under the tutelage of Mike Tice means that the Bears don't necessarily have to draft an offensive tackle here, despite the popular opinion to the contrary. With Carimi -- the Outland Trophy winner -- available here, the choice could be easy.
And here's Reuter's take:
The Bears protected QB Jay Cutler better at the end of the season, partially because offensive coordinator Mike Martz finally changed his game plan. Carimi will start immediately at either left or right tackle.
Rang has Carimi as the 5th offensive lineman off the board while Reuter has him as the 6th. Adding a quality o-line prospect with their 1st round draft pick and not reaching is critical for the future of the franchise. If the actual NFL Draft falls like either of these mocks suspect, Chicago will have a few OL choices worthy of pick 29.