The Chicago Bears last season were subpar at every position along the offensive line. Center Roberto Garza was arguably the best of the bunch, earning a two-year contract extension midseason and being named a Pro Bowl alternate. Yet he struggled mightily at times.
At right guard, the team inserted Chris Spencer, a lifelong center. Chris Williams was showing improvement at left guard but a wrist injury cut short a promising campaign. His replacement, Edwin Williams, played well but he's better suited as a backup.
Everywhere you look along the offensive line, improvements are necessary. Upgrades are readily available in this year's draft. The Bears should strongly consider the following guards in the first three rounds.
David DeCastro, Stanford (6-4, 316)
DeCastro is the consensus top guard in the draft. He's big, powerful, nasty and athletic. As such, he'll be out of Chicago's reach unless the team trades up.
Projected: Top 15 pick
G Cordy Glenn
Kim Klement/US Presswire
Cordy Glenn, Georgia (6-5, 345)
Glenn started 49 games during his collegiate career, the majority at guard. He slid outside to left tackle his senior season. His versatility is just one of the factors that makes him very attractive. He is massive, wide and thick, yet shows outstanding athleticism. He ran a 5.15 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, which is extremely fast for a player of his size. He also showed good strength, putting up 31 reps on the bench press. Glenn is an outstanding drive blocker that is surprisingly athletic for his frame. He's quick pulling down the line and agile at the second level. He'll make a very good guard at the professional level.
Projected: 1st round
Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State (6-6, 333)
Osemele is another massive-bodied lineman. He played mainly left tackle in college but lack of lateral quickness makes him better suited at guard in the NFL. He's a natural run blocker that explodes off the line. He lacks consistency in form, but when he uses proper technique, he dominates. He showed decent quickness and good strength at the combine. He has a ton of natural talent but will need strong coaching at the next level, as he's still somewhat raw. Still, his boundless potential makes him very attractive in the second round.
Projected: 2nd round
Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin (6-4, 314)
Zeitler is a sound technical player with plenty of experience. He's NFL ready. In pass protection, he shows great technique and does well mirroring defenders. He's quick down the line on pulls and traps. Excels at the second level, always taking good angles and driving linebackers away from the play. He's not the best in-line run blocker and lacks ideal strength. Zeitler would best fit in a zone system.
Projected: 2nd round
Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State (6-3, 311)
Silatolu is a small-school player with a lot left to prove. He didn't show great speed or strength at the combine. That said, he's a very athletic big man who plays with a mean streak. He played tackle in college, where he was an All-American, but best fits inside in the pros. He has great footwork and gets off the line quickly. He's an active puller that can get outside quickly and find defenders downfield. He doesn't have experience at guard, and played against weaker competition than his competitors, which makes him a risky early round selection.
Projected: 2nd round-3rd round
James Brown, Troy (6-3, 306)
Brown played tackle in college but is best suited at guard in the NFL. He's a quality run blocker who can clear gaps. A competitive blocker who is fluid down the line. He lacks ideal speed and size, and is inexperienced inside. He's only average in pass protection. Brown did not impress at the Senior Bowl. A risky pick.
Projected: 3rd round
Brandon Washington, Miami (6-3, 320)
Washington is a powerful in-line blocker. Very durable. He's a downright beast in the run game, showing good strength and drive. He can move defenders out of the hole. Still a raw prospect that won't be able to start right away. With some coaching, he could turn into a mauler.
Projected: 3rd round
Senio Kelemete, Washington (6-3, 307)
Kelemete started at tackle the past two years but will slide inside in the NFL. He's athletic and was the top performer at the Scouting Combine amongst offensive linemen in the 20-yard shuttle. Uses his feet and hands well when run blocking. Solid at the second level. He struggles as a run blocker and must improve that part of his game. Strength is an issue, as he posted just 21 reps in the bench press.
Projected: 3rd round-4th round
BEAR REPORT PICK
Glenn was a beast at the combine and really showed his potential at the next level. He's massive and powerful. Combine that with his athleticism and you get one heck of a player. He could be an interior mauler in Chicago for the next decade. If the Bears select Glenn in Round 1, it won't be sexy but it will be a very good pick.
If Chicago waits until the third round, Washington makes a very interesting selection. He's raw and would benefit from a few years as a backup, but the kid can flat out maul in the run game. If he can develop some consistency, he could be a very good interior blocker down the line.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.