The Chicago Bears will be in the market for a guard early in this year's draft but consideration has to be given to the center position as well. Roberto Garza turns 34 next week and is in the last year of his contract. One viable plan is to start a rookie lineman at guard and once he learns the offense, move him inside to center after Garza's contract expires. Additionally, if the Bears re-sign Lance Louis and he comes back healthy, and Gabe Carimi works his way into the rotation as a starting offensive guard, then finding a center of the future becomes a priority ahead of guard.
Derick Hingle/USA TODAY Sports
Arms: 33 inches
Hands: 10 1/4 inches
Combine40-yard dash: 4.99 seconds
Bench Press: 31
Vertical Jump: 26.5
Broad Jump: 9-0
3-cone drill: 7.31 (top performer)
20-yard shuttle: 4.74
Schwenke is arguably the most athletic center in the draft, if not the most athletic interior lineman period. He has superb explosion out of his stance and is usually on top of his defender in a hurry. He can get to the second level and take on linebackers, and is a good cut blocker. A very good technician for the position, he plays the angles well when blocking and is fundamentally sound.
Schwenke shows good awareness in pass protection and works very hard in the run game to maintain his block. He's a blue-collar kid who does almost everything well. He's ideally suited for an outside zone scheme or anything that asks him to move. He's a great player on the move because of his quickness and ability to move well laterally, straight ahead or when pulling. Cons
Schwenke is not a powerful player. He's not going to drive defenders off the ball and may struggle against bigger nose tackles. He shows the fundamental ability to anchor his feet in pass protection but can be pushed back into the face of the QB. He's more athletic than he is strong, which may put him at a disadvantage against bigger, powerful players.
Overall, Schwenke is a very solid prospect with experience at both guard and center. He could the plan outlined above: starting at guard for a season before moving to center, his natural position. There's not a lot to dislike about the former Cal Bear, as he simply does everything very well and is a tremendous athlete.
Schwenke lacks power but that's something that can be developed through improved technique and time in the weight room. You can't develop the natural athleticism he possesses, which is why he'd be great value for the Bears in the third round, a pick they traded to Miami for Brandon Marshall. If GM Phil Emery can find a way to acquire a third-round pick through trade, possibly by moving back in the first round, Schwenke would be an ideal selection.
Brett Solesky has worked in TV, newspapers and, for the last seven years, in radio. He also co-hosts the best Chicago Bears podcast on the Web, Bear Report Radio, which appears on BearReport.com and his blog MidwayIllustrated.com.