5 OL Chicago Bears should avoid in 2021 NFL Draft

Chicago Bears (Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears (Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) /
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As we get closer to the 2021 NFL draft, it should be expected that the Chicago Bears will draft a tackle. It may not be round one, but they will absolutely walk away with some sort of depth on the offensive line. At least we hope.

Still, they cannot just swing and take anyone because he is the next player on Mel Kipers draft board. They need to find a fit for them and need to avoid taking a media-hyped bust. Below are five players who are getting talked about as potential picks in the first three rounds.

However, where they are expected to go should be too high for Chicago.

D’Ante Smith, East Carolina

D’Ante Smith is getting some buzz as a sleeper in the 2021 NFL draft. According to Grinding the Mocks, if the Chicago Bears would like Smith, they would be looking at taking him 83rd overall with their third-round pick.

As much as they may need to add a tackle, that cost would be too much. He participated in his pro day at ECU recently. You can see his size and athleticism below as well as how he compares to participants from past years.

The big things that stand out are his weight and agility. At 305 he is a bit slight, but more worrisome than that is that he posted poor agility scores. At just over 300 pounds, you can play in the NFL if you can move. If you move like you are 320 and do not have that mass, you are going to get burnt in the NFL. In fact, NFL.com thinks that he looked slow because he was playing at a maxed-out weight.

Smith is a four-year starter but that means coming in at age 22. He will be 23 when the season starts. D’Ante Smith has also missed nearly two full years due to injury.

In 2016, he missed his freshman season with a back injury. He played 2017-2019 but sat out of 2020 after a knee issue one game in. Lastly, he is not looked at as a technically refined player who can jump in next season.

The combination of injuries, heavy feet, age, and technical refinement put Smith closer to the sixth round than the third round. If a team wants to bet on him in the third round because of the value of tackle, the Bears should let them.