Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears 2016 Draft Preview: Offensive Tackle (Rounds 1-3)

Detailed analysis of the top offensive tackles in the 2016 NFL Draft, and which players would best fit the Chicago Bears' needs on offense.

Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss (6-5, 305)

Tunsil is widely considered the best offensive tackle in this year's class and many believe he'll be selected No. 1 overall by the Tennessee Titans. He was an absolute stud when on the field, using his elite balance and footwork at left tackle to stonewall defenders off the edge. As a true freshman, he gave up just one total sack, which is extremely impressive. He's a poster boy for technique, with great hand usage and knee bend, while showing outstanding awareness in pass protection. He's dealt with a couple of injuries and was suspended for seven games last year by the NCAA for receiving impermissible benefits. Yet those are minor concerns for a player most believe will be an All-Pro left tackle for the next decade. 
Projected: Top 5

Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame (6-5, 304)

Stanley was a three-year starter for the Irish, at right tackle as a freshman and at left tackle the past two years. In terms of lateral agility and foot quickness, he's arguably the top pass blocker in the draft. He has a lightning quick kick step and outstanding balance at the point of contact. He has long arms and uses his hands very well. He's flexible and shows great change-of-direction ability, which allows him to mirror even the fastest edge rushers. Stanley doesn't have great power and can struggles to move big defenders in the run game but as a pure blindside protector, he has the skill set to be a Day 1 starter in the NFL.
Projected: Top 15

Taylor Decker, Ohio State (6-7, 320)

Decker is a big-bodied lineman who started 42 games at both right and left tackle for the Buckeyes. He was named the 2015 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. A powerful drive blocker with good awareness at the second level, Decker has the skill set and mauler mentality that will allow him to be a Day 1 starter at right tackle or guard. A vocal leader with a nasty streak in him, he'll be a locker-room leader in the NFL. Decker's height often works against him. He's prone to standing too high off the ball and can be driven back by powerful defenders once he losese leverage. He's also lacking ideal technique, particularly in hand placement and punch. He'll come off the board in the first round but he's not an option for the Bears at 11th overall.
Projected: 1st Round

Jack Conklin, Michigan State (6-6, 325)

Conklin was a walk-on at MSU but quickly earned a scholarship and the left tackle gig, where he started 40 straight games. He's one of the meanest linemen in this draft with great power and finishing ability. His upper body strength is top-tier, which he demonstrated by mauling Ohio State DL DeForest Buckner (a Top 10 prospect) last year. Conklin doesn't have great lateral range and too often allows defenders into his chest, which may make him a better fit at right tackle. As a mauler on the right edge, he'll be attractive to teams late in the first round. 
Projected: 1st Round

Shon Coleman, Auburn (6-6, 313)

No player in this draft is as mentally tough as Coleman, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 and spent the next two years, which included 30 chemotherapy treatments, beating cancer. Due to his time away from football, he enters the NFL on the verge of earning his Master's Degree. A big, physical blocker who has experience on both edges, Coleman's biggest strength is his upper body power and a heavy hand punch. He also has heavy feet, which restricts his lateral agility, meaning he's best fit at right tackle. A mature, still-improving prospect, Coleman would be a steal for the Bears if he falls into the second round. 
Projected: 1st-2nd Round

Jason Spriggs, Indiana (6-5, 301)

Spriggs was a four-year starter for the Hoosiers. He's a very agile move blocker who fits very well in zone blocking schemes. He's quick off the ball and athletic at the second level, with the agility to mirror pass rushers at left tackle. Spriggs lacks power in the upper body and tends to quit moving his feet in pass protection, which is concerning. He's not an overpowering player but he has the potential to be a left-tackle starter at the next level. 
Projected: 2nd Round

Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M (6-5, 325)

Ifedi began his collegiate career at guard before starting the past two seasons at right tackle. He's a beastly blocker with power for days and the versatility to play multiple positions. Despite his size, he has light feet, giving him the requisite movement skills NFL teams look for. Ifedi has a lot of potential but he's still very raw from a technique standpoint. Both his hand usage and his footwork are sloppy, and he'll need some aggressive coaching at the next level before he becomes a dependable starter. 
Projected: 2nd Round

Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech (6-5, 312)

A four-year starter for the Red Raiders, Clark has experience at both right tackle and left tackle, where he started the past three seasons. In total, he started 50 straight games in college. He has elite foot quickness, using a choppy kick step that allows him to retain his balance throughout pass sets. He mirrors pass rushers very well and has exceptionally long arms (36 1/4 inches). The eye test shows a raw player but one with a ton of potential in the NFL. He's not a top-tier run blocker and needs more upper body strength. NFL scouts are also worried about how he projects from Texas Tech's spread offense into the NFL. Clark is a boom-or-bust prospect, although he's leaning toward the "boom" category.
Projected: 2nd Round

Jerald Hawkins, LSU (6-6, 305)

A two-year starter at right tackle, Hawkins moved to left tackle for LSU last season. His foot quickness is exceptional, allowing him to change directions with ease and cut off the inside rush. He's quick off the snap and gets to the second level in a hurry. He also has long arms, which helps him create and keep separation. Hawkins has a relatively thin frame and lacks strength in his arms and legs. He can move but he's not going to overpower anyone. Coming from a pro-style offense, he's attractive to teams in need of a future left tackle but he's not there yet. He'll likely have to sit a season before he develops into a starter at the next level.
Projected: 2nd-3rd Round

John Theus, Georgia (6-6, 317)

A three-year starter for the Bulldogs at both right and left tackle, Theus was named first-team All-SEC last season. From a technical standpoint, Theus is one of the best tackles in this draft. His footwork and hand usage are always sound, while his top-tier athleticism gives him good recover ability. He has good size but a lack of strength is his biggest issues. He's a willing blocker but he's going to struggle mightily against powerful defensive linemen in the NFL. A dependable, versatile and intelligent player in college, Theus must hit the weight room if he's going to be a starter in the pros. 
Projected: 3rd Round

Kyle Murphy, Stanford (6-6, 300)

Murphy has prototypical NFL size and power. He gets off the ball very quickly in pass protection (almost too quickly in many cases) and shows good awareness against twists, stunts and blitzes. He shows good pad level in the run game and can drive defenders off the line of scrimmage. A tough blocker, Murphy's biggest downfall is his lack of ideal quickness. He also needs to improve his technique in pass protection, as he tends to be too stiff-legged and lumbering. He also struggles to cut off the inside rush. He played both right tackle and left tackle for the Cardinal but projects as a right-side blocker or guard in the NFL. 
Projected: 3rd Round

The Pick

La'Raven Clark: Tunsil will not fall to the Bears in the first round and there's a good chance Stanely will be off the board as well. No other offensive tackle warrants the 11th overall selection, which will force the Bears to wait until the second round to address their need for a blindside protector. That's where Clark comes in. 

He's not a mauling blocker but he has the agility and pass-protection prowess to start at left tackle in the pros. He's still not a finished product but his ceiling is very high. His exceptionally long arms are also a plus. Clark might struggle out of the gates but his long-term potential as a left tackle is very attractive and would make him a great fit in Chicago. 


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