According to a league source, Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice recently conducted an individual workfout with former Arkansas offensive lineman DeMarcus Love. The session was conducted in Dallas, Tex. at Love's former high school.
Love played his first two seasons at right guard, then switched to the tackle spot for his junior and senior seasons under new coach Bobby Petrino. In Petrino's system, tackles don't play left or right side, they play strong and weak side. As such, Love has experience manning the edge on both sides of the line.
He started 36 games in his career as a Razorback, including the team's last 30 consecutively, with no major injuries to speak of. He was named first team All-SEC by both the AP and Coaches his senior season. He helped pave the way for a 3,000-yard passer (Ryan Mallett) and 1,000-yard rusher (Knile Davis) in 2010 and was part of an offensive unit that led the SEC and ranked fourth in the NCAA in passing offense (338.4 ypg).
T/G DeMarcus Love
Love's biggest strength is in the run game where he's able to overpower defenders. He shows good drive off the ball and has good strength, putting up 27 reps in the 225-pound bench press at the Scouting Combine. Overall though, his numbers in Indianapolis were somewhat disappointing.
He plays with good leverage and always keeps his legs moving. At the second level, he has decent awareness but struggles against linebackers in space. He is a hard-worker who is very physical on the field. Against the blitz he shows great recognition and awareness, and is able to come quickly off double teams to pick up blitzers. He is stout at the point of attack and can be a road-grader. His size (6-4, 315-pounds) is perfect for an NFL interior lineman.
He does not have ideal footwork and was often beaten around the edge by speed rushers. For that reason, most scouts project him as a guard at the NFL level. He also needs to work on his balance and quickness, yet his long arms and strong hands give him an advantage over defenders once he locks on. He's at his best when working in a confined area.
Named captain by his teammates his junior and senior seasons, Love graduated early with a degree in kinesiology. He has always been praised for his dedication and intelligence.
Obviously Chicago is interested in Love. He has good size and strength, and has shown much versatility, having played left and right tackle as well as right guard in college. He doesn't get injured, he's smart and he has a lot of experience.
At tackle, Love would need some time to develop and he's only quick enough to play the right side. At guard, he has enough talent to be a starter at the next level. His stock dropped during the Senior Bowl week where his lack of agility and balance was exposed. Because of that, most analysts feel he'll fall into the third or fourth round. Yet he is considered by many as one of the most well-rounded linemen in the draft.
If Tice likes what he saw out of Love during his personal workout, the Bears may give him strong consideration in the mid-rounds. It appears most of his flaws are mechanical and can be corrected by good coaching. He definitely has the talent, versatility and intellect to play in the NFL. If drafted by the Bears, Love would provide needed depth and flexibility for an offensive line that could use an upgrade at every position.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.