The 2015 NFL Scouting Combine is in full swing.
In the heart of downtown Indianapolis today, offensive linemen and tight ends will be tested in the bench press, as well as in interviews with the media. Tomorrow, they’ll step on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium to undergo a battery of physical tests.
With that in mind, let’s break down the players the Chicago Bears should be watching closely during Friday’s workouts.
Scout.com NFL Combine Coverage
The Bears have numerous holes to fill on defense yet offensive tackle is also high on the team’s list of priorities. Inconsistencies along the front five hampered the offense last year. A player like Scherff, regarded by many as the top offensive lineman in this year’s draft, could jump to the top of Chicago’s draft board with a strong showing in Indianapolis.
Scherff is a mauling lineman who may lack the quickness to play outside. Bears GM Ryan Pace believes Kyle Long has the athleticism to succeed at tackle, so if Scherff doesn’t display proper movement this weekend, he’ll still be an option as a road-grading interior lineman.
Peat is a tall, powerful offensive tackle with decent movement in pass protection. His real value will come in the run game, where his overall strength and thick lower body can open wide lanes for running backs.
Peat is one of the most NFL-ready tackles in this year’s class. Showing well in Indianapolis could land him in the Top 10 of the draft, possibly in the Windy City.
The Bears met with Dismukes today, so there is obviously interest in the former Tiger. A four-year starter, he has plenty of experience and was a team leader both on and off the field for Auburn.
Dismukes is a gritty center that projects as a third-round pick. Roberto Garza is 36 and the club has no backup plan. A quality workout would very like give the Bears confidence to pull the trigger on Dismukes in the third.
Grasu was a four-year starter for the Ducks. He possesses elite athleticism for the position and will be best served in a zone-blocking system. For Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who is heavily reliant on zone-blocking schemes, Grasu could be very attractive.
The one knock on the potential third-round pick is a lack of strength at the point of attack. Against bigger nose tackles, Grasu depended on technique and body positioning, which may not be enough at the next level. If he can show power in the bench press as well as in the drills, he could convince the Bears to part with a mid-round selection.
G Ali Marpet, Hobart (6-4, 307)
Marpet is a small-school player whose game far exceeds the conference from which he came. He was one of the biggest surprises at the Senior Bowl, consistently dominating Division I competition.
Scouts believe Marpet can play either guard or center in the NFL, giving him the type of positional flexibility NFL teams covet. If he can capitalize on his performance in Mobile with another strong showing in Indianapolis, he’ll continue to climb up draft boards. If he can grab the attention of Bears decision makers, he’ll be a strong candidate in the third round.
Humphries is a very intriguing player, one who could surprise a lot of folks at the combine due to his high level of athleticism. Extremely powerful and nasty, he also has great lateral movement.
Humphries is polarizing due to his inconsistent play and lack of overall technique, as well as knee and ankle injuries that hampered him his senior season. Yet his ceiling is extremely high and he’ll likely shoot up draft boards after tomorrow’s workout. The Bears should pay close attention to Humphries, who could begin his career on the right side before shifting to left tackle one he’s refined his technique. He’s a second-round sleeper candidate.
TE Nick O’Leary, Florida State (6-3, 252)
The Bears already have a Pro Bowl tight end in Martellus Bennett, yet it won’t hurt to add another complementary piece to the passing attack. O’Leary doesn’t have great measurements. He’s not big or fast, but he possesses great hands and a knack for getting open.
In terms of measurables, O’Leary won’t be at the top of the charts, yet his positional workout will tell a lot. If he shows reliable hands, as he did for the Seminoles, he’ll prove worthy of a third- or fourth-round selection, with the potential to outperform his draft slot.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.