Best Guard and Center Prospects for Chicago Bears in 2023 NFL Draft: Rankings and Fit
The 2023 NFL Draft is around the corner. And unlike last year when Ryan Poles didn’t have a first-round pick, the second-year Chicago Bears GM has a top 10 selection to work with. He’ll get to work with Assistant GM Ian Cunningham, Head Coach Matt Eberflus, and others as they put their heads together to come up with a winning draft plan. 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, Running backs, Wide receivers, Tight ends, Offensive tackles
Today: Interior offensive linemen
Currently on the Roster (2022 PFF Grade)
Teven Jenkins (80.7), Nate Davis (70.6), Cody Whitehair (65.9), Alex Leatherwood (60.1), Lucas Patrick (55.9), Dieter Eiselen (45.5), Doug Kramer (DNP)
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 The Athletic, 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 top prospects stack up (points in parenthesis):
- O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida (38)
- Steve Avila, TCU (36)
- Chandler Zavala, North Carolina State (27)
- Anthony Bradford, LSU (16)
- Emil Ekiyor Jr., Alabama (16)
- Sidy Sow, Eastern Michigan (13)
- Andrew Voorhees, USC (13)
- Peter Skoronski, Northwestern (10)
- Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion (8)
- Braeden Daniels, Utah (7)
Also receiving Top-10 consideration: Cody Mauch (North Dakota State), Jordan McFadden (Clemson), Jon Gaines II (UXLA), Jaxson Kirkland (Washington), Nick Broeker (Ole Miss), Richard Gouraige (Florida), Juice Scruggs (Penn State), Asim Richards (North Carolina), Henry Bainivalu (Washington), Chris Murray (Oklahoma), Atonio Mafi (UCLA)
Side note: I’m chuckling at the idea that Peter Skoronski was listed as a guard by just one of the sites we’re using to cook up our composite grade metric and he *STILL* made it into the top 10. Maybe it says something about the volume of guards getting top-10 votes. And while that is good, I wish there were more players with scores in the 20s and 30s.
- Joe Tippmannn, Wisconsin (38)
- John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota (37)
- Lukę Wypler, Ohio State (32)
- Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas 25)
- Olu Oluwatimi, Michigan (23)
- Juice Scruggs, Penn State (15)
- Jake Andrews, Troy (15)
- Alex Forsyth, Oregon (11)
- Jarrett Patterson, Notre Damę (8)
- Brett Neilon, USC (4)
Also receiving Top-10 consideration: Alan Ali (TCU), Jovaughn Gwyn (South Carolina), Jacob Gall (Baylor)
Team Fit and Need
From a short-term perspective, I like what the Bears have cooking in the middle. Teven Jenkins was the third-highest-ranking guard on Pro Football Focus’ grading scale. Nate Davis checked in as the 17th-best of 77 qualifying guards, which puts him in good company. And even though Cody Whitehair is coming off a rough, injury-shortened season, we remember that he was looking good the last time we saw him at center. And with Lucas Patrick, Alex Leatherwood, and possibly Larry Borom providing depth, the overall state of the interior offensive line is legit. However, there are some long-term concerns.
They begin with Whitehair, who is coming off a down year, is another year older, and about to play yet another position on the offensive line. Sure, it is a position he is familiar with. And that helps. But I’m not sure Whitehair is a long-term solution at the position. At guard, I want to see Jenkins be a long-term fixture for the Bears. It’s just that Jenkins hasn’t put together a fully healthy season to this point in his pro career. It’s just two years. And injury stuff is unpredictable. But I’m curious if this regime sees Jenkins in the same light that we do. They’ve moved Jenkins around an awful lot and it makes me wonder how many more moves are in store.
I love that the Bears are doing their due diligence in researching the offensive linemen who are available in this draft:
If I Had to Pick One:
Andrew Vorhees was once seen as a top-tier offensive line prospect. But an ACL tear during Combine drills back in March have thrown that possibility out of the window. Nevertheless, Vorhees is still an interesting offensive line prospect. Vorhees garnered first-team All-American and first-team All-Pac 12 recognition in 2022. And at 6-6 and 310 pounds with arms measuring 32 1/8 inches, Vorhees has the build of a modern NFL guard.
If Vorhees’ stock drops and sends him to Day 3, the Bears drafting a player who could’ve been a top-100 pick with a late-round selection would be a good use of some late-round capital.