The Chicago Bears are looking for help in the trenches
A year after disregarding the trenches, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles appears a little more eager to get help for his linemen units. They met with an offensive lineman ahead of the NFL combine. Quarterback Justin Fields speculated earlier this week he thinks the Bears will take a defensive lineman in the first round, but the team should have plenty of options to help the offense in early rounds.
The Bears can add extra value to their draft class by trading down with the first pick in the draft. That could net them extra picks in the second and third rounds, where exceptional talent can still be found. According to a new report, the Bears are looking for offensive line help that will be available around the third round.
Ryan Fowler with The Draft Network reported that TCU IOL Steve Avila met extensively with the Chicago Bears during the pre-draft process–per an unnamed source. Avila also met with the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, and Tennessee Titans.
One of the premier guards in the class, TCU IOL Steve Avila has had extensive meetings with the Bills, Cowboys, Bears, and Titans during the pre-draft process, per source.
— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) February 16, 2023
What Avila could bring to Chicago
The Chicago Bears need interior line help. Sam Mustipher and Cody Whitehair were terrible last season. Lucas Patrick’s only good tape from the 2022 season was when he played center–and that was short-lived.
According to Nick Falato’s draft profile of Avila in Sports Illustrated, the six-foot-three, 332-pound athlete played approximately half of his snaps at left tackle and half at center–though he played a little at right guard and right tackle. (Avila could be trusted on the traditionally weakest positions of the TCU offensive line.) Here’s Falato’s summary of Avila, who they rank the “massive” player as a third-round pick:
“Steve Avila is a big, strong interior offensive lineman with a lot of experience for the Horned Frogs. Looks good exploding out of his stance and does a good overall job positioning himself between the defender and his responsibility (run & pass). He takes good angles into contact and is a good overall pass protector. Has to keep his feet more alive when defenders attack the half-man.
Avila has some technical flaws and athletic limitations. He’s top-heavy and stiff, and his use of hands are a bit inconsistent; his frame allows him to stay in front of targets at a solid rate, but longer defensive lineman have stacked & shed him at the point of attack enough to note in the run game. He could also be a bit quicker at diagnosing and reacting to twists aimed in his direction.
He may be better suited to operate in a power/gap/counter scheme where he showed a good ability to get out of his stance and redirect himself toward a target while in college, although that’s not to say he can’t have success in a zone scheme. He’s not the quickest OL, but he’s strong and reliable, and could hear his name called on day two of the draft.”
Good thing the Bears don’t use the zone scheme.
Avila doesn’t seem like a fit for last year’s Chicago Bears
Based on Falato’s analysis, Avila would be an odd choice for the Chicago Bears to take in the draft. Poles has said he likes his linemen to be lean and fast. Avila is built to be a pass protector. That’s not what the Bears were looking for last season when they chose their offensive line. It didn’t seem like that’s what the Bears wanted a few weeks ago when they extended Equanimeous St. Brown for another year becuase of his run blocking skills.
Drafting a player with Avila’s skill set could be asign the Bears are finally listening to Fields about the passing attack. I’ll be more convinced when they finally choose a wide receiver who is prized for their seperation skills over run blocking technique.
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