Let’s Find the Bears Some Offensive Line Help in the 2022 NFL Draft

The 2022 NFL Draft is fast approaching. And even though new GM Ryan Poles doesn’t have a first-round pick, he is set to usher in a new era of Bears football with Assistant GM Ian Cunningham, Head Coach Matt Eberflus, and a host of other newbies. Starting today, we’re looking at some of the best prospects at various positions leading up to the Draft in search of fits for the Bears’ needs.

Previous: Quarterbacks, Wide receivers

Need: Let’s put it this way: The only subset of internet fans who have more theories than Swifties when it comes to TS10 are Bears fans piecing together how new GM Ryan Poles will properly address the team’s offensive line needs with picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. The need for offensive line help is high.

Currently on the Roster (2021 PFF Grade):

Larry Borom (61.4), Teven Jenkins (47.5), Lachavious Simmons (30.6), Cody Whitehair (66.2), Lucas Patrick (57.5), Sam Mustipher (48.1), Willie Wright (N/A), Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (N/A), Dieter Eiselen (N/A), Dakota Dozier (N/A)

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 NFL dot com, 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 offensive linemen stack up (points in parenthesis):

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

1.   Evan Neal, Alabama (37)
2.   Ickey Ekwonu, North Carolina State (36)
3.   Charles Cross, Mississippi State (35)
4.   Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan (26)
5.   Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa (25)
6.   Tyler Smith, Tulsa (19)
7.   Daniel Faalele, Minnesota (12)
8.   Abraham Lucas, Washington State (9)
9.   Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State (7)
10.  Max Mitchell, Louisiana (6)

Also receiving Top-10 consideration: Kellen Diesch (Arizona State, CBS Sports), Rasheed Walker (Penn State, CBS Sports), Thayer Munford Jr. (Ohio State, NFL.com), Braxton Jones (Southern Utah, PFF)

INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

1.   Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa (40)
2.   Kenyon Green, Texas A&M (35)
3.   Zion Johnson, Boston College (33)
4.   Cole Strange, Chattanooga (20)
5.   Dylan Parham, Memphis (18)
t-6.   Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan (15)
t-6.   Darian Kinnard, Kentucky (15)
8.   Zach Tom, Wake Forest (8)
9.   Sean Rhyan, UCLA (7)
10.  Jamaree Salyer, Georgia (6)

Also receiving Top-10 consideration: Logan Bruss (Wisconsin, NFL.com), Dohnovan West (Arizona State (CBS, PFF, ESPN), Cameron Jurgens (Nebraska, ESPN), Chris Paul (Tulsa, CBS), Luke Fortner (Kentucky, NFL.com)

Team Fit

The Bears’ offensive line situation is a mess. And I think I’m being polite when portraying it this way. Think about it. Starting tackles Larry Borom and Teven Jenkins are second-year players drafted by the old regime who have flipped positions early under the new leadership at Halas Hall. Cody Whitehair, now starting at left guard, is coming off a disappointing year. Next to him on the line is Lucas Patrick, a free agent addition whose strength is more in his versatility than it is his ability to excel in one position. The Bears have yet to adequately replace right guard James Daniels. This group has a lot of work to do.

With that being said, the Bears can go anywhere with an offensive line pick and it would result in the unit being better than what it was before the NFL Draft. Bringing in a center would move Patrick to guard, a position he has experience starting. Tabbing a tackle could create competition with either Jenkins or Borom. Snagging a guard would make for a convenient plug-and-play player. It feels like the possibilities are endless.

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

Choosing three players who project to be available when the Bears go on the clock with each of their picks.

Round 2, Pick 39: Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa), Zion Johnson (Boston College), Kenyon Green (Texas A&M)

Round 2, Pick 48: Darian Kinnard (Kentucky), Dylan Parham (Memphis), Tyler Smith (Tulsa)

Round 3, Pick 71: Donovan West (Arizona State), Nicholas Petit-Frere (Ohio State), Cole Strange (Chattanooga)

Round 5, Pick 150: Lecitus Smith (Virginia Tech), Thayer Munford (Ohio State), Daniel Faalele (Minnesota)

Round 6, Pick 186: Chris Paul (Tulsa), Alec Windstorm (Boston College), Doug Kramer (Illinois)

Bears Connections…

•   The Bears were set to visit with Texas A&M All-American Kenyon Green.
•   Tulsa’s Tyler Smith was sent to the Bears in a mock draft last week.
•   Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum might see his stock drop into the second round — and right into the Bears’ laps.

•   Combine visit: Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa), Braxton Jones (Southern Utah)
•   Top-30 visit: Kenyon Green (Texas A&M), Veteran Lowe (Illinois)
•   Virtual visit: Matt Waletzko (North Dakota)

Zack Pearson of Bear Report does a tremendous job compiling Bears prospect visits. You can follow his work here.

If I Had to Pick One:

Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum has been on our radar for a few years now. Linderbaum could’ve come out for the 2021 NFL Draft, where he would have likely been a second-round pick. A year later, Linderbaum is garnering attention as a possible first-round selection. However, there has been some recent buzz suggesting Linderbaum’s draft stock is dipping because he is seen as just a center. And if team’s aren’t valuing centers as much as they are tackles or guards, then Linderbaum will fall down draft boards. If that’s the case, the Bears should probably jump on the opportunity to solidify the interior line with its best center prospect since drafting Olin Kreutz in 1998.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

more bears news

Checkdowns, Hard Knocks, Fields, QB1’s Other Tasks, and Other Bears Bullets

I'm back. Did you miss me? The following is an abbreviated version of Bears Bullets as I get back into the swing of things. DaWindyCity Production does tremendous work. And it doesn't get much better than a mock Hard Knocks...

Interesting Bears Predictions, Context on OTAs, Trust Your Gut, and Other Bears Bullets

We're probably a little early on schedule predictions like the one that Windy City Gridiron's Bill Zimmerman put together. Still, I appreciate his efforts and found the write-up entertaining nonetheless. Bill broke down every regular-season game and two playoff games...

The Bears Won’t Have Much of an Advantage (or Disadvantage) When it Comes to Travel This Season

The Bears schedule has been released for about a week now, and I've had this one in the bookmark folder on Twitter since then, and I've got a few minutes to get into it now. Bill Speros has calculated the...

Inside the Bears War Room on Draft Night, D.J. on Caleb, Byard on the Culture, and Other Bears Bullets

I'll admit, I expected the outrage over Caleb Williams's and the Bears' offense's tough day to be much less than I thought it would be. It's nice that people can understand the difference between a rookie in shorts and a...

VIDEO: Dan Orlovsky Explains the Challenges That Await Rookie QBs (Like Bears Caleb Williams)

Dan Orlovsky is best known by most football fans as the guy who scrambled out the back of the end zone and took a safety. Others might know Dan from his quirky taste in foods. To each their own in...

Around the NFL: Dak’s Not About the Dollar, Rookie Sleepers, Leaner Lamar, More

NFL Notes — Despite not having a contract extension in place (or even in sight), Dak Prescott doesn't plan on skipping any Cowboys offseason activities. Dak Prescott on Extension Talks: "I don't play for money" Despite entering the final year...

Bears OTAs: Tough Day for Caleb Williams and the Offense

Are you ready for the premature panic on social media because Caleb Williams and the Chicago Bears offense had a tough day in shorts and tee shirts on May 23? Prepare yourself because it happened. The word out of Lake...

WATCH: An Inside Look at the Minnesota Vikings 2024 Draft War Room

While the Chicago Bears don't tend to participate much in these video drops, other teams — including the Minnesota Vikings do not shy away. In fact, this inside look at the team's first-round trade-ups is unlike anything I've seen before. Check...

Caleb Williams and Co. Head to the Southside, Claypool on His Time with Chicago, and Other Bears Bullets

Not many things would make me want to attend a White Sox game again this season, but this Caleb Williams-inspired promo could be one of them. The White Sox are offering $18 outfield tickets for their game against the Baltimore...

I Love This Rome Odunze Quote About Learning

The folks over at Bears Wire got an opportunity to go one-on-one with rookie wide receiver Rome Odunze. In a wide-ranging conversation that touched on everything from his draft-night experience, early impressions on Caleb Williams, and the "Call of Duty:...

Latest News

Padres vs. Marlins Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, May 27, 2024

The San Diego Padres (28-28) are set to take on the Miami Marlins (19-35) Monday at 6:40 PM ET, airing on SDPA. The Padres are listed as -183 favorites by sportsbooks, while the underdog Marlins have +154 odds for the...

Bedard’s Worlds Experience, Czechia Celebrates, Dallas’ Build, and Other Blackhawks Memorial Day Bullets

It's Memorial Day, a time when we are supposed to take a step back amidst the barbeque invites and driving to/from lakes and boats to be thankful for those who have paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom. As...

Padres vs. Marlins Probable Starting Pitchers – May 27

The San Diego Padres (28-28) host the Miami Marlins (19-35) on Monday to kick off a three-game series at PETCO Park. The matchup begins at 6:40 PM ET.The Padres will call on Michael King (4-4) versus the Marlins and Trevor...

What If We Try Winning Some Games? Cubs vs Brewers Series Preview

Cubs vs Brewers — On April 26, the Chicago Cubs were eight games over .500 and mostly cruising *despite* multiple significant absences/injuries to key players on the roster. One month later, they're mostly healed up, but are now just one...

Giants vs. Phillies Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, May 27, 2024

The San Francisco Giants (27-27) and Philadelphia Phillies (38-16) meet Monday at Oracle Park, with first pitch at 5:05 PM ET on NBCS-PH. The Giants are -111 moneyline favorites for the contest, however, the Phillies are favored against the spread...

Best NBA Prop Bets Today – Monday, May 27, 2024

In a Monday NBA playoff slate that features just one contest, the Boston Celtics versus the Indiana Pacers is the only way to catch the NBA today.If you're looking for NBA prop bets for today's games, we're here to help....

Dodgers vs. Mets Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, May 27, 2024

The Los Angeles Dodgers (33-22) stumble into Monday's matchup with the New York Mets (22-30) looking to break a five-game losing streak. The contest starts at 4:10 PM ET on MLB Network with the Dodgers listed as -151 favorites to...

Reds vs. Cardinals Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, May 27, 2024

The St. Louis Cardinals (25-26) will lean on Paul Goldschmidt, following a two-homer game, to lead them in a matchup with the Cincinnati Reds (23-30) on Monday at 4:10 PM ET on BSOH. The Cardinals are +115 underdogs for the...

Guardians vs. Rockies Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, May 27, 2024

The Cleveland Guardians (36-17) will vie for their 10th straight victory when they visit the Colorado Rockies (18-34) on Monday at 4:10 PM ET on COLR. The Guardians are listed as -132 favorites by sportsbooks, while the Rockies are +113...

Brewers vs. Cubs Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, May 27, 2024

The Milwaukee Brewers (30-22) are favored on the moneyline (-121) in Monday's contest against the Chicago Cubs (27-26). First pitch is at 4:10 PM ET on MARQ. The Cubs, with +167 odds, are favored against the spread (1.5).Robert Gasser takes...

more bears news