This next four-part series of roundtable topics will center around the guys we really want to see the Chicago Bears draft at various positions. Draft crushes come in all shapes and sizes, and they’ll come off the board at various spots, so these aren’t all necessarily viewed as top prospects around league circles, but these are our guys that we want to see the Bears select.
For part-one I posed this question to the WCG staff;
Which offensive lineman is “your guy” in the 2022 NFL Draft that you really hope the Bears draft?
And here’s what we had to say.
Jacob Infante - I’m going to have to go with Tyler Smith from Tulsa. There are some rumblings that he might go in Round 1, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s gone by No. 39, let alone No. 48. That said, he is everything this new Bears regime wants in an offensive lineman. He stakes a legitimate claim for being the nastiest blocker in this draft class, possessing powerful hands and an anchor that just keeps on chugging. He’s also a very good athlete who’s surprisingly coordinated and offers good lateral mobility. If he’s available with either of Chicago’s second-round picks, he’s a slam dunk.
EJ Snyder - Chicago has a significant need at tackle and I’d say LT more than RT. When you combine that need with Ryan Poles telling the offensive line: “...the message has been clear — we’ve gotta change body types a little bit. We’ve gotta get lighter, we’ve gotta get quicker,” you get an idea of the type of player he might covet at LT. Kellen Diesch (LT, Arizona State) is a player I think could fill Chicago’s needs. Diesch is very athletic for his size (6’7”, 301) and moves like a basketball player. He’ll need to add a little mass but can still anchor at his current size. He really stands out on moving blocks in the zone run game. His ability to pull and hit targets in space will be appreciated by an offensive staff trying to establish a wide-zone run scheme.
Kellen Diesch (T, Arizona St. #74) probably isn't getting enough love from the draft public. Tall (6’7”) and extremely fluid/mobile.— EJ Snyder (@thedraftsmanFB) March 24, 2022
Kicking out here on the full T pull and getting up the run lane to completely erase (tackle?) the defender in space. Impressive movement skills. pic.twitter.com/XiTN2T4apa
Josh Sunderbruch - Kenyon Green (IOL), Texas A&M. 6’4 and 325lbs, Green will not probably be there when it is time for the Bears to draft. If he is, it will be because something has gone wrong. However, I love the thought of this guy for Chicago. Draft profiles for him are full of phrases like “he goes looking for work,” and “he is aggressive and plays through contact.” Most of his bad plays (like a tendency to hold) come from his reps at tackle, and I think guard is his best role. At the end of the day, I like high aggression, high motor guys for the trenches. I think it’s easier to fix mechanics than attitude, and I like how Green carries himself on the field.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter - Kenyon Green is this year’s best prospect for any interior o-line position, and he’s firmly a first rounder in terms of my grades, so he’s not falling to any pick past 32nd overall. That being said, the hog molly I want the most is LSU’s Guard Ed Ingram. This nasty boar comes with a good balance of athleticism and size, with his technique in pass pro improving as the season went on in 2021. He faced off, and won, against the toughest interior defenders in college football on a regular basis. He fits in as a true RG that’ll pave lanes for Chicago while protecting his QB as a dedicated bouncer.
Rahul Ramachandran - Without question it’s Bernhard Raimann from Central Michigan, and I have him at number 2 in offensive lineman prospect rankings. He has phenomenal size at 6’7”, 304 lbs, but stays low to the ground at all times. He switched from receiver to offensive lineman, hence why he possesses great speed with great power. Overall, he’s as versatile and NFL-ready as they come. He’s a real difference maker from the get-go in my eyes.
Robert Schmitz - Tyler Smith, because if I picked anyone else it’d be off-brand. He’s young (21 in April), physical to the point of utter ruthlessness, and shockingly athletic at all levels. His technique leaves quite a lot to be desired, but you can’t teach the torque he’s able to generate with just his hands alone — whether you play him at Tackle or at Guard, with Smith you’re getting a player you can count on to punish the guy across from him. For Poles’ new-look OL, that may be just the kind of player he wants.
Patti Curl - Some will say football is a game of inches. The wisest among us know that it’s actually a game of pounds. Whether you’re pounding the rock or pounding down quarter-pounders to round out the massive mound of power between your hips and your chest, you’re going to need lbs if you want to take your opponent to pound town. Which is why 379 pound Daniele Faalele has been my dream draft target for over a year now. The man knows how to move his mass, and he would quickly establish himself as the Otis of the Chicago Bears offensive line, feasting on annual fattest lineman awards and swatting off pretenders with playful abandon.
I know some of you will be quick to point out that Ryan Poles said he wants to shed weight on the offensive line. Be careful trusting what GMs say during draft season. It’s obvious that he is putting up a smoke screen so other GMs will think the Bears are out of Faalele. As a former offensive lineman, there’s no way Poles actually believes fat is a disadvantage on the offensive line.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. - I stumbled on Mercer’s Jason Poe while doing my last mock draft, and the little tape I found on him is fun to watch, which makes sense after I realized he’s a converted fullback. He’s on the small side (6’1”, 300) but his pro day numbers paint a picture of a powerful and explosive athlete.
Bench Press — 34 reps (92nd percentile)
40-Yard Dash — 4.89 seconds (99th percentile)
Vertical Jump — 31.5 inches (89th percentile)
Broad Jump — 9 feet, 3 inches (92nd percentile)
10-Yard Split — 1.72 seconds (90th percentile)
With the draft such a big moment for the Bears I had to reach out for a couple members of our podcasting family, Brandon Robinson and Dannhy Meehan, to get their takes on this series too.
Brandon Robinson - Tulsa tackle Tyler Smith is my guy on the offensive line. Smith has massive upside and is still just 20 years old. He’s big and powerful with a nasty mean streak to him. “Raw as sushi” but just needs time to develop with good coaching that he didn’t receive at Tulsa. Offensive tackle or guard doesn’t matter with him. Just bring in that kind of talent and develop him.
Danny Meehan - It was between the Cam Jurgens and my actual choice Bernhard Raimann. Raimann is unique in not only is he still relatively new to football, but also new to offensive tackle having converted there from the tight end position. He still has room to put on weight and is absolutely one hell of an athlete that shows on tape and as evidenced by his 9.81 RAS.
Now it’s your turn, who is “your guy” on the o-line that you want to see the Bears draft?