At this point we should know all about the top offensive lineman that are projected to go in the 1st Round of this year's Draft. I would love for the Bears to get an interior lineman like Mike Pouncey or an OT prospect like Gabe Carimi, Derrick Sherrod, or Nate Solder, but there's a great chance we might see a run on offensive tackles once the Draft get to picks 19- 28. Around that part of the first round, you have 6 teams that could possibly target OL with their pick. This is where the benefit of having a great OL coach like Mike Tice comes into play. Tice has proven that he's willing and able to work with developmental projects (J'Marcus Webb last season). If the run on OL occurs late in the first like many draft experts believe will happen, fans should feel comfortable knowing Tice is capable of developing OL outside the 1st round. The Bears in all actuality are in a good position at #29 as they can stay put and select the best player available or trade down to gain an extra pick.
With the possibility of the Top OL flying off the board before pick #29, I will look in-depth at 10 OL prospects the Bears could get in the later rounds that could potentially contribute in their first years.
- Will Rackley, Lehigh
Height 6-3 Weight 309 Arms 33 ¼
Bench Press # 29x at 225
Rackley played OT at Lehigh, but scouts think his best position at the next level is at OG. I agree with the scouts as Rackley has the idea measurable to be a solid starting guard in the league. Rackley dominated at the senior bowl and had a pretty good combine and pro day. Rackley is a relentless run blocker that could give the Bears an immediate upgrade at LG; a position the Bears running backs had trouble running behind along with LT.
- John Moffitt, Wisconsin
Height 6-4 Weight 314 Arms 33
Bench Press # 23x at 225
Moffitt is another OG that's capable of starting right away for a team at either guard spot. Tice was present for Moffitt pro day at Wisconsin, so he most likely saw how instinctive of an interior lineman Moffitt is. I wouldn't sweat his bench press numbers as Moffitt makes up for lack of strength by knowing his assignments and executing it well. He's ideally best suited to plug in at LG where his strength in pass protection would be benefitted at.
- Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State
Height 6-3 Weight 313
Bench Press# 30x at 225
Wisniewski went from 298 to 313, which tells me that he's preparing himself to play guard his first couple year in the NFL. Wisniewski relies more on his technique and awareness to do a solid job at his assignment. There's a chance he can slip to the late 3rd or 4th round and if he is there it would be pretty good value.
Tim Barnes, Missouri
Height 6-4 Weight 300 Arms N/A
Bench Press# N/A
Barnes was the anchor of Missouri pass heavy offense as he been a fixture in the middle of that line since 2008. He has plenty of experience at Center and in a pass happy offense like Missouri, best believe he has probably saw almost every blitz thrown at his offensive line. If you are looking for an ideal replacement for Kreutz after the 2011 season, Tim Barnes is a great prospect to groom to be the starting Center for the Bears for years to come.
Zane Taylor, Utah
Height 6-3 Weight 309 Arms 33
Bench Press# 41x at 225
While Barnes might be Martz ideal C, Zane Taylor best fits what Tice is trying to do with this line. Certainly the strongest C in the draft, Taylor has the ability to contribute at Guard his first year before moving to his more natural position C his second year.
Joseph Barksdale, LSU
Height 6-5 Weight 325 Arms 36
Bench Press# 29x at 225
Barksdale technique is just about as good as his 1st round peers. He best fits as a RT, but has the potential to move to LT a year or 2 down the road because has of his overall technique, athleticism, and long arms. He will be available in the 3rd round where I think he will be good value considering he was a 1st to 2nd prospect coming into the draft evaluation process.
Marcus Gilbert, Florida
Height 6-6 Weight 330 Arms 34
Bench Press# 30x at 225
Gilbert has had an impressive combine and pro day, and has been mention as a late 2nd round pick. He doesn't have an explosive kick slide, but it's good enough for him to be a starting caliber RT at the next level. According to Walterfootball.com, Gilbert performed great in drills that were being run by our very own Mike Tice. If the ideal is to move J'Marcus Webb to LT; Gilbert would be an ideal fit to fill in the vacant RT spot.
James Carpenter, Alabama
Height 6-4 Weight 321 Arms 34
Bench Press# 23x at 225
Playing LT at Alabama, Carpenter showed pretty good athleticism and decent technique to be a LT at the next level. The problem is he is 6-4 and his arms are close to average. I can see Tice working him out at LT to see if he's capable of playing that position, and if he doesn't pan out there at worst he's a LG.
Benjamin Ijalana, Villanova
Height 6-4 Weight 317 Arms 36
Bench Press# N/A
Ijalana is a difficult prospect to scout because he flashes potential to be a starting RT at the next level, but you wonder if his best position is at OG. Mike Mayock of path of the draft and Wes Bunting of the National Football post believe he can play tackle at the next level. I will take their word for it since I hold them to a high regard.
Marcus Cannon, TCU
Height 6-6 Weight 350 Arms 34
Bench Press# 33x at 225
Cannon is one of my favorite OL prospects in the draft. I think he has the ability to be a good starting RT in the NFL, but he also has the potential to be a Pro Bowl caliber OG. Cannon is big, strong, and athletic; and under the tutelage of Tice can be something special on the Bears offensive line.