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Which 2020 Draft-Eligible Offensive Linemen Make Sense for the Bears?

Chicago Bears

It’s time for the next step of the Chicago Bears’ offseason of talent acquisition: The 2020 NFL Draft. We’re going to look at some of the best prospects at various positions of interest leading up to the draft in search of fits for the Bears’ needs.

Previous: Quarterbacks, Safeties, Wide receivers, Cornerbacks, Tight ends

Today’s position: Offensive line

Need: High

Currently on the Roster (2019 Pro Football Focus Grade):

TACKLES

  • Bobby Massie (63.2)
  • Charles Leno Jr. (58.6)
  • Alex Bars (52.4)
  • Dino Boyd

INTERIOR LINEMEN

  • James Daniels (69.9)
  • Cody Whitehair (64.9)
  • Germain Ifedi (58.8)
  • Rashaad Coward (51.7)
  • Sam Mustipher
  • Corey Levin

BN’s Composite Ranking

Ranking prospects is difficult, in part, because no one publication has the same set of fundamentals or preferences. In an attempt to work through that noise, we’re using a composite ranking based on opinions from PFF, ESPN, CBS Sports, and Walter Football and adapting them to a points scale. The best of the top-10 prospects gets 10 points, the 10th ranked prospect gets 1, and prospects outside the top-10 get 0. From there, the prospects are ranked by total points.

Here’s how the tackles stack up (points in parenthesis):

  1. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa (38)
  2. Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama (36)
  3. Andrew Thomas (34)
  4. Mekhi Becton, Louisville (28)
  5. Josh Jones, Houston (23)
  6. Austin Jackson, USC (tied) (17)
  7. Isaiah Wilson, Georgia (tied) (17)
  8. Ezra Cleveland, Boise State (14)
  9. Ben Bartch, St. Johns (10)
  10. Jack Driscoll, Auburn (6)

Best of the rest: Prince Tega Wanogho (Auburn), Lucas Niang (TCU), Trey Adams (Washington), Saahdiq Charles (LSU)

Here’s how the interior linemen stack up (points in parenthesis):

  1. Cesar Ruiz, Michigan (34)
  2. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin (29)
  3. Robert Hunt, Louisiana Lafayette (27)
  4. Netane Muti, Fresno State (22)
  5. Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU (22)
  6. Jonah Jackson, Ohio State (19)
  7. Damien Lewis, LSU (18)
  8. Nick Harris, Washington (12)
  9. Matt Hennessy, Temple (10)
  10. Logan Stenberg, Kentucky (9)

Best of the rest: Solomon Kindley (Georgi), Shane Lemieux (Oregon), Hakeem Adeniji (Kansas), Calvin Throckmorton (Oregon), Cameron Clark (Charlotte)

Team Fit

Bears starting tackles Bobby Massie and Charles Leno Jr. ranked 52nd and 65th, respectively, among the 80 players who qualified by playing enough snaps on PFF’s grading scale. Incumbent starting right guard Rashaad Coward ranked 64th among 81 qualifiers at guard. Cody Whitehair checked in at No. 23 among the 37 qualifying centers.

It’s a far cry from a group that collectively ranked in the top-10 heading into the 2019 season. And because everyone is a year older and coming off career-worst years, offensive line is viewed as a need.

Most Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock:

Any number of prospects could be available when the time comes for Chicago to make its draft choices. Tackles such as Josh Jones (Houston) and Austin Jackson (USC) headline the group that figures to be available to the Bears. Meanwhile, interior linemen such as Cesar Ruiz (Michigan), Robert Hunt (Louisiana-Lafayette), Loyd Cushenberry III (LSU), and Jonah Jackson (Ohio State) are intriguing prospects at their respective positions.

Should the Bears wait until later in the draft, Charlie Heck (the son of ex-Bears offensive lineman Andy Heck) could be a target to keep an eye on.6

The Bears Have Reportedly Met With…

  • Matt Hennessy, Temple (Senior Bowl)
  • Logan Stenberg, Kentucky (Scouting Combine)
  • Charlie Heck, North Carolina (Scouting Combine)
  • Ben Bartch, St. John’s (Scouting Combine)
  • Josh Jones, Houston (Video, Top-30)
  • Dallas Warmack, Oregon (Video)
  • Cesar Ruiz, Michigan (Video)
  • Robert Hunt, Louisiana Lafayette (Video)
  • Damien Lewis, LSU (Video)
  • Saahdiq Charles, LSU (Scheduled)

If I Had to Pick One:

Should Josh Jones make it to the second round, he is the type of prospect I would hope the Bears are willing to roll the dice on when they go on the clock. Jones has ideal size (6-5, 319 pounds), extensive starting experience at left tackle, and enough athleticism to potentially move inside in a pinch, then back outside if necessary.

Selecting Jones and plugging him in as a short-term starter at guard, the possibly moving him to tackle would be similar to what the previous regime did with Kyle Long. And that worked out pretty well for the time Long was healthy. Considering the Bears’ immediate need at right guard, as well as its future needs at tackle, drafting Jones makes sense.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.