Ryan Pace’s scouts and others in the Chicago Bears have their work cut out for them in the 2019 NFL Draft, especially since they won’t have picks in the first two rounds. So while the Bears don’t have a ton of needs on their board, they’ll still need to properly round out the roster by way of the draft.
One point of emphasis could be on the offensive line. And there might not be a better place to find help at the line of scrimmage than at the upcoming Senior Bowl.
Here in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. Senior Bowl Exec. Director Jim Nagy said NFL teams are most excited about the offensive line group assembled. Good news for the Bills, who could use a lineman or two.
— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 21, 2019
Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic’s Buffalo wing tweets that Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy said NFL teams have expressed some excitement regarding the collection of offensive linemen who are getting down to business ahead of Saturday’s college all-star game. And while Fairburn hypothesizes that this is good news for the talent-starved Buffalo Bills, the same can be said about the Chicago Bears.
Because while Chicago’s group up front features two Pro Bowlers on their way to Orlando and a standout rookie, there are long-term questions hovering around the right side of the line. Right tackle Bobby Massie is an outgoing free agent who could find a lucrative multi-year deal elsewhere. And even though right guard Kyle Long is still under contract through 2021, the three-time Pro Bowler is turning the page on another calendar year and hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2015. All things considered, the Bears could use depth, upside, and possibly even players who could start right away and become long-term fixtures at either position. Perhaps those players can be found at the Senior Bowl.
With that in mind, here are six linemen who could jump onto the Bears’ radar with a superb showing during Senior Bowl week.
Michael Deiter, Wisconsin – The Badgers have a history of churning out NFL caliber linemen and Deiter could be next. He has 54 starts under his belt at left tackle (14), left guard (24), and center (16). Deiter earned first-team All-America (The Athletic, FWAA) and second-team All-America (AP, Sporting News) for his efforts in 2018 and was also the Big Ten’s Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Chris Lindsdrom, Boston College – Lindstrom started the last 40 games of his college career at right guard and right tackle, which puts him right in the Bears’ wheelhouse for this particular exercise. He is WalterFootball.com’s second-highest-ranked guard and draws a favorable comparison to Pro Bowl center Cody Whitehair. Lindstrom is viewed as a plug-and-play starter, which could push him into the second round and just out of the Bears’ reach.
Max Scharping, Northern Illinois – One of the best fits for the Bears could be a Green Bay native. Go figure. Scharping, who has experience at right and left tackle, started every game of his career with the Huskies and was a key cog in one of the nation’s most productive (and underrated) rushing offenses. He didn’t allow a sack or pressure against power conference teams Utah or Florida State in 2018 and allowed just five quarterback pressures in 425 snaps.
Andre Dillard, Washington State – Dillard’s draft stock could rise out of the Bears’ range, to the point where he is a first-round pick. If that happens, this section will be a waste. But because there is a chance his stock doesn’t go through the roof, there is nothing wrong with putting a three-year starter who was a first-team All-Pac-12 player as a fifth-year senior in 2018.
Dennis Daley, South Carolina – A junior college transfer from Georgia Military College, Daley, a junior college All-American, was a two-year starter for the Gamecocks at left tackle. There is a good possibility he would move over to the right side at the next level. Perhaps he even gets kicked inside to guard, but his stellar play against premier competition in college football’s most competitive conference makes Daley an intriguing prospect.
Tytus Howard, Alabama State – Last year, North Carolina A&T tackle Brandon Parker (who we discussed in this space in 2018) was the FCS standout who made waves at the Senior Bowl and eventually lifted his stock to become a third-round pick by the Raiders. Howard could be this year’s FCS stud who gets a Senior Bowl boost.