Debating the Draft: Who to take in the First Round?
If you are listening to any of the news coming out of Halas Hall these days, you might have heard that the management staff of the Bears in particular is wondering about the talent level at the offensive line position in the first round and may go for a defensive player with their pick at number 29.
Whether this news is meant to throw other teams off the Bear’s “trail” or not is yet to be seen but if the Bears are serious about this then they are making a big mistake. If there are guys available (offensive linemen) when they make their pick then they need to be serious and consider an offensive linemen over anything else. The damage to the line (as they stand right now) is much too serious to ignore and the Bears have to do something to correct it and take care of those problems that they had last season.
But Chicago does need some help at the defensive tackle position, that is not disputed but should they take a shot at one in the first round.
There are many factors that will play into who the Bears pick in the first round. The biggest one and the most obvious is who will be there at 29 when the Bears make their pick. In looking at the draft, the needs of each team ahead of the Bears, what players would be available and where they should fall, I have come up with two possibilities per position (offensive line and defensive line) that could be available for them in the first round.
Let’s see which players could be around at number 29 in the first round and figure out which one of these four guys might be the best fit for the Bears.
Gabe Carimi-OT-Wisconsin-There are some that feel that Carimi would be a much better right tackle than a left tackle and the Bears need the left tackle position upgraded much more than they do the right tackle position. Carimi would be an upgrade at the left tackle position if that is where the Bears want to put him and could step in and start right away.
He would definitely give the Bears at least some of what they are looking for in terms of an upgrade on the offensive line but they would need to add some additional pieces later on in the draft to help make up for some other shortcomings but Carimi would be an answer to at least part of the problem.
Mike Pouncey-C/G-Florida-Pouncey and the Bears are being linked to one another not only by fans and mock drafts but also by private workouts that the Bears have had with him as it’s clear they are showing a deep interest in him. If Pouncey makes it to the 29th pick the Bears would be wise to pick him up.
Pouncey’s versatility would be a huge plus for the Bears because he can play two positions that the Bears really need help in. The ideal scenario would be for the Bears to sign center Olin Kreutz during the offseason and bring him back for one more season to help get Pouncey acclimated to the position while he plays guard (replacing Roberto Garza).
Once Pouncey is ready to take over for center (in his second season) the Bears could either draft or find a veteran player to replace him at the guard position and allow Kreutz to retire. This would be the ideal scenario for the Bears to have for the future.
Corey Liuget-DT-Illinois-Just like Pouncey, it seems as if the Bears are looking at Liuget as much as they are Pouncey and Chicago has worked him out. The interest that they have in Liuget appears to be genuine and if they wanted to get him they would have to try to get him in the draft they would need to get him in the first round. That would mean Chicago would have to postpone the more pressing needs on the offensive line in order to pick him up.
Liuget is nearly the ideal size and skill that the Bears like in their defensive linemen and looks like a younger, healthier and more motivated Tommie Harris. If the Bears feel that they can take care of their needs on the offensive line later in the draft or in free agency (although we have to remember that if they decide to continue on with the final eight rule the Bears hands will be tied there) then Liuget might be a good player for them to draft here.
Muhammad Wilkerson-DT-Temple-There has been some talk about the Bears having some interest in Wilkerson and if Liuget isn’t around and the Bears are locked into taking a defensive linemen then he could be a nice fit. He’s athletic and can fill the middle rather well on both passing and running downs. He gets up the field quickly, takes double teams on very well and can make a difference on defense for the Bears.
Obviously the most pressing need on the team is on the offensive line and if Pouncey was to fall to Chicago then he would be their best option. He can help kill two birds with one stone so to speak and stave off a pressing need at guard and center. His ability to play both positions makes him an asset and one that the Bears couldn’t go wrong with.
Of course if Carimi is there and Pouncey isn’t then he would be the next best option.
Going the defensive tackle route would be an interesting one for the Bears as that would clearly leave them with some problems on the offensive line. Ideally it would be wise for them to try to find some help on the offensive line first and then worry about the defensive line but with a defensive minded head coach you just never know what they will do with that first pick.