Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
With the Bears season on the brink of being over at 5-7, it’s time to turn our focus to next year and what prospects might be available to fix our beloved Bears. With the draft being in Chicago this year, the draft is even more exciting than most years for Bears fans. Even if the Bears manage to win out and sneak into the playoffs, they still have plenty of holes on both sides of the ball and need to build some quality young depth. I will be breaking down prospects at every position with some focus on players I think the Bears could target. At some positions that aren’t as glaring of a need for the Bears like RB (unless they trade Forte) and maybe guard, I will focus less on the players projected to go early and focus more on mid-round prospects who the Bears presumably could target.
If you are sick of watching the Bears, there is some really exciting football being played on Saturdays this season and these lists will identify some players to keep an eye on during the last few weeks of the college football season and the initial college football playoff.
Position Summary: The combination of Kyle Long and Matt Slauson (when healthy) is one of the better starting guard combos in the NFL. Last year Slauson was Pro Football Focus’ 4th best LG in the NFL and Kyle Long got better as his rookie season went on. The fact that Long played Ndamukong Suh to a draw last week is a pretty strong indicator that Long is becoming an elite player in this league. So the Bears are set at their two starting guard spots for the short-term at least, but as we’ve seen this year injuries are common along the O-line and the Bears could use some young depth at the position. Michael Ola is their primary backup right now and Brian de la Peunte is a center who is moonlighting as a guard when needed. The Bears also have two promising guards on the practice squad in Ryan Groy (Wis) and Connor Bofeli (Iowa). So the Bears probably won’t be drafting a guard early unless they plan on moving Kyle Long to tackle.
More from Chicago Bears Draft
- The Chicago Bears can own the city of Chicago moving forward
- Chicago Bears NFL Combine Preview: Quarterback
- What Chicago Bears could expect in trade down with Indianapolis Colts
- 3 stats to know about Chicago Bears potential pick Jalen Carter
- Is this Big Ten linebacker on the Chicago Bears draft radar?
* These aren’t ordered rankings, just guards I think could end up on the Bears depending on how the offseason shakes out.
1.) Laken Tomlinson, SR Duke
Attributes – 6’3, 320, 518
Scouting report – Local kid from Chicago who is still growing and learning the guard position. Thompson was a 4-year starter at Duke and was part of the the best offense in Duke’s history this year. Thompson isn’t your normal Duke player, he turned down scholarship offers from Ohio St, Illinois, and Michigan St. He’s not a small school player who surprised, he’s a potential beast inside who could have played anywhere. His combine performance could swing Thompson anywhere from the 3rd-5th round but if he’s around in the 4th the Bears should pull the trigger on this high upside interior lineman.
Projection – 3rd-4th round
2.) Miles Dieffenbach, SR Penn St
Attributes – 6-3, 303, 5.29
Scouting report – Tough, gritty interior lineman who has started 29 games for Penn St and has the strength, technique, and toughness to be one of those guards who end up in the league for 8-10 years. A torn ACL in 2014 will probably drop Dieffenback a round or two lower than he deserves and if so the Bears should take advantage.
Projection – 4th round
3.) John Miller, SR Louisville
Attributes – 6’2, 321, 533
Scouting report – Watching tape on Teddy Bridgewater last year, Miller constantly stood out as an excellent pass blocker who was able to keep the pocket clean for Teddy as well as get to the 2nd level to clear people out on screen passes and outside runs. Miller isn’t a great athlete, but has started since his freshman year and has refined his game to the point that he is solid in pass pro and as a run blocker. His technique is solid, he uses leverage and angles very well and should be able to step in as a rookie and contribute if needed.
Projection – 4th round
4.) Shaq Mason, SR Georgia Tech
Attributes – 6’1, 327, 5.27
Scouting report – Athletic run blocker who has experience pulling on outside runs which is something the Bears look for on those sweeps outside to Forte and wide receiver screens. Mason might be looked at as a one dimensional blocker due to Georgia Tech’s run heavy offense, but Mason has shown the ability to keep a good base in pass pro, he just lacks experience. If the Bears are going to stick with their quick screen, outside run oriented offense, than a guy like Mason who can get outside and to the 2nd level could be a nice fit early on day 3.
Projection – 5th round
5,) Jamil Douglass, SR Arizona St
Attributes – 6’4, 300, 5.09
Scouting report – I’m not sure why scouts aren’t higher on Douglass. He’s one of the better pass blockers at the guard position in this year’s draft with quick feet and a good base. Douglass has also come close to running a sub-5 sec 40 at 300 pounds and has been able to crush 2nd level defenders when asked to pull on sweeps and screen passes. The only down side I see is that he’s a little light at just 300 pounds and has an off-field red flag from three years ago, but nothing since. If Douglass can add some strength/weight while keeping his athleticism, he has legit starting guard potential.
Projection – 5th round