With a hole at right guard, a lack of an eventual replacement for Bobby Massie at right tackle and overall suspect depth up front, the offensive line should be a focus when the Bears make their selections in this year’s draft. While they don’t have much in the way of significant draft capital, they could hypothetically trade back with one, if not both of their second-round picks to pick up selections early on Day 3. If they manage to do so, they would be wise to double down on offensive linemen.
Luckily for Chicago, this year’s draft class features plenty of offensive line prospects who could step in from Day 1 and fill a starting role for a team. Many draft experts project them to take an offensive lineman early on in the draft, and they will certainly have plenty of players to choose from.
Before we take a look at some of the prospects who could be on the board in the second round, let’s get a few players out of the way who likely won’t be available when the Bears pick.
Unlikely to fall:
- Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
- Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
- Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
- Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
- Josh Jones, OT, Houston
- Cesar Ruiz, iOL, Michigan
This year’s draft class is stacked to the brim with offensive tackle talent, and unfortunately for the Bears, it’s highly unlikely any of the top-tier prospects at the position will fall to them. Josh Jones would be the most likely tackle to fall to No. 43, but barring an unforeseen shortage of tackles in the top 15 of the draft, he will likely end up being a first-round pick due to his high ceiling and his positional value. Cesar Ruiz is a talented interior lineman who would fit the Bears’ scheme well, but he’s projecting as a late first-round pick at this stage of the draft.
Lloyd Cushenberry, iOL, LSU
If you’re looking for power along the interior, you’ll find plenty of that in Lloyd Cushenberry.
The anchor of a championship-winning LSU offensive line, Cushenberry was a two-year starter at center who made an immediate impact upon entering the starting lineup in his redshirt sophomore year. He is a powerful blocker who can physically overwhelm an opponent, packing a powerful punch at the point of attack and showing off the ability to seal off defenders in the run game with ease. The 6-foot-3, 312-pound brute, whom I selected in my most recent mock draft, has a strong lower body and possesses the ability to drive defenders back, as well as the recovery strength to counter power moves. Cushenberry is also a polished technician who places his strikes well on a consistent basis. His pad level is ideal for the interior, as he is able to sink his hips well and maintain leverage by being the lower man nearly every down.
Cushenberry isn’t a fantastic athlete, as he doesn’t have stellar lateral agility or acceleration climbing to the second level. His struggles against speed cause him to lunge at times, which can knock him off balance and leave him susceptible to speed rushes against the pass. That may limit his ceiling slightly, but he is a plug-and-play option at center or guard who can bring some grit to an offensive line from the get-go. If he remains on the board when the Bears get on the clock, he could be an option worth heavily considering.
Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Depending on how the draft shapes up, there’s a solid chance Austin Jackson could make his way into the first round off of his upside alone.
A sizable blocker at 6-foot-5 and 322 pounds, Jackson started at left tackle for two years at USC and played in all 13 games in 2019, recovering quickly enough to play after donating bone marrow to his sister last summer. The intrigue in his game lies in the tools he has that project to success at the next level. His length and athletic frame are enticing and has room for additional muscle, which is encouraging for his long-term development. He is an athletic lineman who has great agility in pass protector and is a smooth operator when moving around laterally. Jackson takes good angles as a down blocker and has plenty of range when blocking on the move. His impressive quickness allows him to mirror speed rushes well and change direction to avoid twists. He has shown some flashes with his hand usage, as well, as he fights hard to maintain inside placement and plays with a sense of activeness.
Despite his physical attributes, Jackson is still a work in progress. His play strength will need to improve at the next level, and he will need to fix his pad level, as he doesn’t have much of a nasty edge to his game and struggles to finish the job on a defender. If he were to fall to the Bears and they were to select him, there would likely be a bit of a learning curve early on in his career. It’s his high ceiling, though, that has him highly rated heading into the draft.
Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
The selection that the readers made for the Bears’ first selection in our interactive fan mock draft, Isaiah Wilson is a monster among men who possesses unfathomable size and power.
6-foot-6. 350 pounds. 10 1⁄4-inch hands. A wingspan of over 7 feet long. Those are the measurables that Wilson brings to the table. Needless to say, there’s a reason draft analysts have fallen in love with the two-year starting, redshirt sophomore out of Georgia. He delivers his strikes with tremendous force, overwhelming defenders with dominant grip strength and a powerful upper body. He complements that with a strong anchor, as he can counter power moves with his lower-body strength and eliminated an opponent from the play. Wilson blocks with a high motor and plays to the whistle, aiming to drive his opposition into the dirt. For such a big man, he’s a pretty solid athlete, as he plays with solid agility in pass protection and can change direction well to counter speed rushes.
Wilson is a raw blocker who doesn’t get consistently accurate placement behind his strikes, and he often struggles to sink his hips and keep good pad level, as one would expect for a blocker of his size. His balance as a run blocker could also be improved by not lunging forward and keeping well-distributed weight in his frame. Though he’s still developing, his physical upside makes him an intriguing option as a tackle or a guard, which could be particularly enticing for the Bears.
Jonah Jackson, iOL, Ohio State
An increasingly popular option among draft analysts as a target for the Bears, Jonah Jackson has the potential to be a solid starter at the next level.
Jackson was a team captain coming off of a quality 2018 campaign at Rutgers before deciding to transfer to Ohio State for his final year of college eligibility, where he helped anchor an offensive line that helped take the Buckeyes to the college football playoffs. The 6-foot-3, 306-pounder is a sharp and intelligent blocker who can pick up the blitz very well and pull off combo blocks with efficiency. He does a good job of working off of his teammates and picking up their assignments, and his instincts have shown upside for projecting him as a zone-blocking scheme. Jackson has a strong upper body and is able to seal off defenders to open up running lanes for his teammates on the ground. He can block with patience and precision when climbing to the second level, as he keeps his composure and plays with good balance on the move. The All-Academic Big Ten winner plays with a sound knowledge of hip work, as he can adjust his sets and rotate accordingly to eliminate opportunities for his opponents.
Though Jackson’s pad level can be more consistent, his hand placement can be improved and his athleticism is average at best, he has the smarts and the tools to become a solid starting option along the interior offensive line. The Bears could realistically trade back and still select him in the second round, which could be a very good strategy depending on how the board plays out.
Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
It’s unfortunate for Prince Tega Wanogho that he was unable to participate in Combine drills, as with the athletic tools that he brings, he likely would have done well enough to propel himself into the first round.
Wanogho grew up in Nigeria and has experience in basketball, soccer, and swimming, and that multi-sport background is apparent in how well he moves. The two-year full-time starter at Auburn is a fantastic athlete who can change direction very well and move around laterally at a high level. He changes direction seamlessly and has top-notch acceleration when down blocking or when moving to the second level. His burst coming out of kick slide is impressive, and he does a good job of rotating his hips accordingly, all without oversetting. Wanogho, who is an actual prince whose grandfather was a king of a Nigerian village (as I will continue to point out every time I talk about him), blocks with a high motor and has shown activeness in his hands and the willingness to fight to the whistle on a consistent basis. He has an athletic and lengthy frame at 6-foot-5 and 308 pounds that offers room to grow.
He’s shown improvement in his ability to deliver a strong jab at the point of attack, but his overall play strength can still stand to get better. His pad level is also too high on a regular basis, and he can work on his anchor strength to counter power moves and drive opponents deeper in the run game. While still raw, Wanogho has the length and athletic ability that offensive line coaches will love to work with at the next level. If the Bears want to go for a developmental tackle prospect with a sky-high ceiling, he could be a guy to watch.
Matt Hennessy, iOL, Temple
Trading back is a legitimate option for the Bears in this year’s draft, and if they end up doing so, then they could acquire some capital early on Day 3, all while still being able to acquire a polished blocker like Matt Hennessy.
The three-year starter along the interior was awarded a single-digit practice jersey, which is given yearly to the toughest players in Temple’s program. An accomplished student who won the AAC Student Athlete of the Year award in 2018, Hennessy’s book smarts translate well to the football field. He has a firm understanding of hand usage, as he consistently places his strikes well and times them with precision. His pad level is consistently low, allowing him to generate more power at the point of attack and control his defender. He has good awareness when picking up blitzes and is able to execute combo blocks with efficiency. Hennessy is a solid athlete who has good lateral quickness and can change direction well in pass protection. He excels at blocking on the move and projects well as a pull blocker at the next level, and he also brings good physical tools to work with at 6-foot-4 with 10-inch hands.
Hennessy isn’t the strongest blocker in the world, as he doesn’t pack an incredibly strong punch upon contact and doesn’t have top-notch recovery strength against bull rushes. While he weighed in at 307 pounds at the Combine, he played at a lighter weight at Temple and can still stand to add some muscle mass. His upside isn’t as high as some other offensive linemen on this list, but his intelligence and polished style of play could make him an immediate starting option for the Bears if they want to trade back and still get a solid starter.