Center Joe Tippmann was Getting Extra Attention from the Bears at Wisconsin's Pro Day

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Center Joe Tippmann was Getting Extra Attention from the Bears at Wisconsin’s Pro Day

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears offensive line is always on my mind.

So much so that it isn’t too much of a stretch to say that I go to bed thinking about that group and how it needs to be better in 2023 than it was in 2022.

Admittedly, I’m not losing sleep over this group in April. But I know performances that go sideways in September and October will get me to that point — and quickly, too. With that being said, it is easy to understand why we (as a site and collective fandom) bang the drum and call for the Bears fix their O-line via the draft. So while even though most of our focus has been at tackle, let it be known I’m not ignoring the interior. We know better than to ignore the middle. Think about it. The quickest way to the quarterback is right up the gut.

Hence, I found this exchange between PFF’s Brad Spielberger and former Bears scouting director Greg Gabriel to be interesting:

To be clear, I’d love for them to address their tackle needs with a plug-and-play pick. And I’d like another guard who can step in just in case Teven Jenkins has another injury-shortened season. But I’m very much into the idea of them drafting a center. And Wisconsin’s Joe Tippmann gets some rave reviews. Plus, former Bears scouting director Greg Gabriel hearing that the team had multiple sets of eyes on the Wisconsin product has my attention. Tippmann was a two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention and a key cog in the Badgers’ offensive line during his two years as a starter.

And this snippet via NFL media draft analyst Lance Zierlein has me further interested in the Bears’ interest in Tippmann:

He’s a fluid move blocker who can make wide pulls, climbing cut-offs and adjustments to moving targets in space. He’s recognized for his football intelligence in the pivot and is an effective communicator. He needs to play with better posture and tighter hands to stay mirrored in protection and to improve his body control through engagement. Tippmann’s size, strength, smarts and athleticism should help him become a starter in the NFL.

It has been a while since Chicago chose a center in the draft who entrenched himself. Don’t get me wrong. This is not Cody Whitehair erasure. But if you’ll recall, Whitehair should’ve been playing guard. And he would’ve been if Josh Sitton didn’t fall into their lap after the Packers cut him during the preseason. Whitehair thrived at center, which has me hoping a return to the middle will rejuvenate him after a down year. Even still … I know interior offensive linemen don’t tend to have extended peaks after they hit 30. So maybe the Bears should have a backup plan here. And perhaps it should be Tippmann.

Dane Brugler’s “The Beast” draft guide has Tippmann as the top-rated center in this class. It also has him with a second-round grade. The Bears could decide to wait until the later rounds to fill this long-term need. After all, there seems to be a variety of options to choose from if they wait it out. Forecasts suggest Arkansas’ Ricky Stromburg, Ohio State’s Luke Wyler, and Penn State’s Juice Scruggs will be taken in the fourth round or later. Maybe the value is to land a top-5 positional prospect in a later round. But if the Bears want the best of the bunch, they’ll want to target Tippmann (and do it early).

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Author: Luis Medina

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