Chicago Bears: Meet the offensive tackle to replace Charles Leno

Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears need help on the offensive line. Right guard is the biggest area of need, but the team would be wise to draft an offensive tackle if the opportunity presents itself.

The Chicago Bears need to make some major changes to the offense this season. There is no question that the offensive line is one area of concern that needs to be addressed by Ryan Pace. The team needs to find a new right guard as soon as possible. Personally, I am hoping Pace addresses the guard spot in free agency opposed to the 2020 NFL Draft.

Although the Chicago Bears currently have two starting tackles, this should not stop them from drafting a tackle should the opportunity present itself. One tackle that has upside as a developmental prospect is Ezra Cleveland. Cleveland is not worth drafting in the second round, however, if he falls to when the Bears pick in the fourth or even farther, Pace should pull the trigger.

Cleveland has been moving up draft boards and his rising stock may keep him from falling to where I would pick him, but no one can truly predict how these NFL Drafts will shake out. Many scouts believe Cleveland needs to add mass to his frame to be successful at the NFL level. This may be true, but we should not discount how strong he already is currently. He benched 30 reps at the Combine over the weekend, ranking fifth-most among his peers.

The young lineman ran a 4.93 40, which was third fastest amongst the offensive line group. He led the way in the cone drill with an impressive 7.26 seconds. NFL Draft Analyst Chad Reuter had this to say about Cleveland in his Combine winners/losers article, “his 7.26-second three-cone result was ridiculous for his size (and was the best mark among O-linemen). Teams will be taking another look at the game tape on this underclassman after this performance.”

Cleveland also led the offensive line group in the 20-yard shuttle. His time of 4.46 is impressive and falls in line with a testing number that Josh Norris of Rotoworld says is a good barometer of success for linemen in the NFL.

The next closest time to Cleveland was Matt Hennessey of Temple with a 4.60. The Chicago Bears met with Hennessey at the Senior Bowl. If Hennessey is on their prospect watch list, Cleveland’s Combine results should make Pace go back and rewatch game tape. Cleveland is 6’6″ and 311 pounds. Some may say he has short to average arm-length and I scoff at the fact this matters.

I am not a Pro Football Focus proponent at all, but they do solid offensive line analysis. The article is relatively old, but it shows how arm-length (even for left tackles) does not correlate with how well an offensive lineman performs at the NFL level.

If given the opportunity, I would like to see the Chicago Bears draft an offensive tackle to push Charles Leno and Bobby Massie for playing time. Ezra Cleveland could be the perfect option to sit behind Leno in 2020 (or push to start) and then step in starting in 2021. Who to better replace Leno than a fellow Boise State Bronco?

Next. 5 Players Who Were Winners at the Combine. dark

I understand no one wants to draft another “project”, but this is not the same as the Rashaad Coward project. Cleveland is a legit offensive lineman who, if drafted late enough, would be considered a great value. Here is to hoping the Chicago Bears can land him in the fourth or fifth round.