Many expect the Bears to prioritize their offensive line over the 2023 offseason.
They have dealt with some injuries up front, and they generally have a pretty young and inexperienced group. There has been potential on display — especially in the ground game — but the pass protection has generally been subpar. If they want to give Justin Fields a fair shot at being “the guy”, then some more investment along the offensive line will likely be necessary.
At offensive tackle specifically, the Bears have a unique situation. Their two current starters are Braxton Jones and Larry Borom: two former fifth-round picks who are still young and have shown flashes, but it remains to be seen if either will solidify themselves as long-term starters. They also have Alex Leatherwood in the wings, though it seems more likely he’ll be a project at guard rather than tackle.
If I had to hazard to guess, one of them will start at tackle for the Bears to kick off the 2023 season. I would project that to be Jones at the moment. That said, if they don’t make a splash free agent signing like Jack Conklin, Orlando Brown Jr. or Mike McGlinchey, it could be a realistic possibility they draft an offensive tackle early in the upcoming draft.
I have decided to share my current top 15 offensive tackles on my 2023 draft board to give you all a bit of an understanding as to which prospects the Bears could be tied to once draft discussion really picks up. Keep in mind that these rankings are obviously a work in progress, and that things will change from now until April.
That said, let’s dive right in and look at the best offensive tackles in the 2023 NFL Draft.
College linemen with OT experience I’m currently projecting as iOL:
- Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
- Ryan Hayes, Michigan
- Jaxson Kirkland, Washington
- Nick Broeker, Ole Miss
- Mark Evans II, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Tier 1: Day 1 starters
1. Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
6-foot-4, 315 pounds
Some may consider Skoronski undersized with short arms for a tackle, but I see this as a similar situation to fellow Wildcat Rashawn Slater. Skoronski is technically sound, intelligent, powerful and athletic. I think you keep him at tackle, where he carries Pro Bowl potential.
2. Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
6-foot-6, 310 pounds
Though not as refined as Skoronski, Johnson could end up drafted higher because of his physical upside. He is a freak athlete at offensive tackle with very good size and raw power that could be quite dangerous for the opposition in the NFL if coached up properly.
3. Broderick Jones, Georgia
6-foot-4, 310 pounds
Jones is a prospect who just keeps getting better whenever I watch him. He’s a bit smaller, but he’s a super athletic lineman who excels in pass protection, uses his hands well and has good raw power when he obtains leverage with his pads.
4. Olu Fashanu, Penn State
6-foot-6, 308 pounds
As one of the top risers in the 2023 draft class, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Fashanu drafted in Round 1 when it’s all said and done. He has a limited sample size and is raw as a one-year full-time starter, but he has been fantastic in pass protection this season and should test incredibly well.
5. Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland
6-foot-6, 320 pounds
A four-year starter at the collegiate level, Duncan offers a massive sample size for NFL teams to go off of. His length, pad level, short-area burst and core strength all indicate he could develop into a reliable starter at the next level.
6. Anton Harrison, Oklahoma
6-foot-5, 315 pounds
Harrison is a gifted athlete with great lateral agility, long arms, a strong anchor and polished footwork in pass protection. If he can work on maintaining pad level consistency and adding more upper-body strength, he’s a potential game-changer on the blind side.
Tier 2: Intriguing tools
7. Dawand Jones, Ohio State
6-foot-8, 359 pounds
If you liked Daniel Faalele coming out of Minnesota last year, odds are you’ll love Jones. The Ohio State right tackle is another mammoth lineman with absurd power and sneaky good short-area quickness — just don’t expect him to be an elite technician in the pros.
8. Darnell Wright, Tennessee
6-foot-6, 335 pounds
Power is the name of the game for Wright, whose grip strength and anchor abilities allow him to physically dominate the opposition. Lateral quickness is a big issue for him, but his burst in a vacuum isn’t too bad, so a potential switch to guard isn’t out of the cards.
9. Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
6-foot-5, 322 pounds
Bergeron is a bit raw in terms of his ability to get leverage with his pads and hands, but the physical tools show up in spades. He’s a mauler at the point of attack with good redirect ability and even better acceleration off the ball.
10. Blake Freeland, BYU
6-foot-8, 305 pounds
Freeland has fallen down my board a little bit with his performance this year, but I still believe he could develop into a starter in the pros. He’s a natural athlete with absurd mobility for someone as tall and lengthy as he is.
11. Cody Mauch, North Dakota State
6-foot-6, 303 pounds
Some project Mauch as a guard, which I can understand. Regardless of where he plays, he’s a quick learner with good athleticism and a nasty demeanor when he locks up with a defender.
12. Jordan Morgan, Arizona
6-foot-6, 320 pounds
Morgan could likely end up drafted higher than the former 2017 Bears draft pick with the same name. He has been incredibly efficient from a data perspective in 2022, and he seems to be unlocking some of the potential his athleticism and strength have in store for him.
13. Zion Nelson, Miami (FL)
6-foot-5, 316 pounds
Nelson being this low says more about this draft class than it does about him, and I think he has legit starting potential in the NFL. He’s a lengthy defender with a quick processor in pass protection and good overall coordination on the move.
14, Carter Warren, Pittsburgh
6-foot-5, 325 pounds
With four years of starting experience, good burst off the line of scrimmage, active hands and good raw power, Warren seems like he could be a sneaky good value pick as a potential future starter late on Day 2 or early on Day 3.
15. Robert Scott Jr., Florida State
6-foot-5, 334 pounds
Scott is certainly raw as a technician, as his high center of gravity and spatial awareness will need to improve. However, he’s a bulky offensive lineman with impressive recovery speed and enticing lateral agility for his size.