Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, offensive line coach Mike Tice and tight ends coach Mike DeBord all traveled to Madison this week to have a closer look at two offensive linemen participating in next month's draft. The three coaches were among the many, as all 32 teams sent representatives to the workout.
Tackle Gabe Carimi – last year's Outland Trophy winner, given annually to the best collegiate offensive lineman – was the big name on the docket. He is projected to go in the second half of the first round. It's hard to believe the Bears would pass him up if he fell to them with the 29th pick. Yet most mock drafts have him off the board by then, many predicting he'll end up in Philadelphia.
Yet no one is really sure at what point former Badger John Moffitt will be taken. Moffitt (6-4, 319-pounds) was an AP first-team All-American, an SI second-team All-American and a consensus first-team All-Big Ten. He started all 13 games of his senior season at left guard. As a junior, he started eight games at guard and two at center, with another 13 starts at center his sophomore season.
G/C John Moffitt
He's versatile, has a solid resume entering the draft and was a member of one of the more dominant rushing attacks in the Big Ten last year. He also has decent size to play guard at the next level. Based on those credentials, one would think he'd be a no-brainer in the second round.
Yet there are reasons why Moffitt is projected to go in the third round or later. He has athleticism and is above average when pulling and trapping. He's also very adept at the second level, regularly taking good angles at linebackers and defensive backs.
Yet Moffitt, despite his size, is not a road-grader. He possesses a good initial punch but just does not possess the power to move bigger defenders out of the way. He also has footwork and balance issues that need to be addressed if he's to succeed in the NFL.
Strength is another area of concern. At the Scouting Combine, Moffitt only put up 23 repetitions in the bench press, which is on the low end of the scale. To exacerbate the issue, he often plays too high and can be driven back by bull rushers. His agility in space is decent, but quicker defenders can easily work around him.
He ran a 5.51 40-yard dash at the combine – again on the low side. In the 3-cone drill, he was only average, yet he was very solid in the shuttle run, meaning he's been working on his footwork. All indications are that he'll be nothing more than an average guard at the pro level.
Yet at center, Moffitt becomes intriguing. His best asset is his ability to recognize and react to blitzes, which is crucial for a center. With 13 starts at center under his belt, he understands the position and would not have to be taught from scratch. He is also very good in close quarters, where centers make their living. His ability to make blocks at the second level would also benefit him at the position.
Chicago should take a look at him whether or not they re-sign Kreutz. Moffitt doesn't appear to have the make up to come in and start right away, so a few years learning under one of the most experienced centers in the league would do him well. But it doesn't look like he's the player who the Bears should reach for as a potential starter at guard. He looks a lineman who benefited highly from the system and players around him but may be lacking individually.
Obviously, the fact three coaches from Chicago were present at his pro day means there is some interest from Bears' camp. If he is available in the fourth round or later, Jerry Angelo should jump all over him. Anything before then would be a reach.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.