Should the Chicago Bears draft TCU right tackle Lucas Niang?
Lucas Niang is a player who should be on the Chicago Bears radar. If you had judged Niang off of his 2018 play, there is a good chance that he would have been a first-round pick in the NFL draft.
However, he came to TCU and had a good, not great year in 2019 before his season ended after seven games due to hip surgery. A small step back down to reality combined with a hip injury has him as a potential pick for the Chicago Bears in round two. Are those issues too much, or does it make him a value draft find?
Niang comes in a 6’6″, 316 pounds with long arms. He is the ideal size of an NFL tackle. He is also a much more experienced run blocker than pass blocker. His length and movement skills downhill can be shown in the screen and run game to the outside.
The issue with Niang is that he is not very refined. He wins as a protector because he is bigger and longer than others. However, his footwork is inconsistent. He can widen his stance too far and get beat around the edge. Beyond that, the obvious concern is his hip injury. Medicals became much more of an issue this year as compared to years in the past.
Here is what NFL.com had to say. They compared him to Tytus Howard, a first-round pick by the Texans last year.
"Dancing bear with good agility and a great football IQ. He doesn’t carry his weight proportionally and looked heavier/slower in 2019, but he clearly has NFL starting talent. Niang is a scheme-diverse run blocker with athleticism for move blocks and technique/leverage to open running lanes with power. He plays with top-notch awareness and instincts in pass pro, but he’s an early opener in his pass sets and I’m not completely sold he can meet edge burners at the top of the rush on a consistent basis. The medicals need to check out on the hip, but he’s a help-now right tackle prospect who should be a long-time starter."
Pro Football Focus compared him to Le’Raven Clark and noted
"We always say here at PFF that if you’re going to draft an athletic ‘project’ type prospect, draft one that’s already graded out well. Because if you’re getting the job done with bad technique, imagine what will happen with good coaching. Niang has done just that the past two seasons for the Horned Frogs despite some of the oddest pass sets you’ll ever see"
Fit with Chicago Bears
This draft class is deep with tackles, but with four potentially going in the top 10, it is only going to be deep for so long. That puts the Bears in a position where they would have to decide on a player such as Niang with one of their top 50 picks. This is a question with the medicals, but if the Bears felt confident in what he showed medically at the combine, he may be worth a top 50 selection.
Niang could spend the offseason getting back to full health and could spend a year on the bench behind Bobby Massie. Then, the Bears could have a healthy right tackle option who has been developed with NFL coaching for a year.
It is tough to say there is a year one pay off for drafting Lucas Niang. However, he could be a good fit for the Chicago Bears in the 2020 NFL Draft.