The Chicago Bears interior offensive line was a strength for the team during the 2016 season. Entering 2017, Chicago's O-line is anchored by Pro Bowl guards Kyle Long and Josh Sitton, and promising center Cody Whitehair.
Despite that interior stability, there are still some needs on the offensive line that can be addressed this off-season.
To that end, the Bears could be looking to the 2017 NFL Draft for a fix at tackle, although this is considered a relatively weak OT class.
With the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine kicking off this week, the Bears should keep an eye on a few intriguing early-round prospects.
OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
Ramczyk is widely considered the best offensive tackle prospect in this year’s draft but health is a big concern. The Wisconsin product has good size (6-6, 314) but is dealing with a hip injury as he enters the combine.
The Bears might be willing to pull the trigger on Ramczyk, who has experience on both edges, if he falls to the second round. His medical reports at the combine will play a big part in where he’s drafted. Ramczyk will not participate in any drills this weekend.
OT Roderick Johnson, Florida State
The 6-7 left tackle helped block for standout running back Dalvin Cook while at Florida State and was named the best offensive lineman in the Atlantic Coast Conference as a junior. Johnson is an excellent run blocker, which could be very appealing to a Bears offense that will be dependent on the success of RB Jordan Howard.
While Johnson's quickness stands out, he needs to improve in pass protection. The Bears edge blockers gave up far too many pressures in 2016, so watch for Johnson in the pass set drill at the combine. A good performance this week could increase his stock significantly.
OT Garett Bolles, Utah
Bolles started just one season at Utah at left tackle. While he’s not projected as a first rounder, Bolles is considered one of the best tackles available this year. His athleticism stands out right away and his quick feet have scouts raving. Bolles could be a fit for the Bears due to his run-blocking ability.
Keep an eye on Bolles in pass-blocking drills at the combine. It’s a knock on Bolles and an area in which the Bears would like to see him improve. That will strongly affect his stock as we approach the draft.
OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
Once considered the best tackle prospect of the 2017 class, Robinson’s stock dipped during his junior season with the Crimson Tide. An off-field incident that resulted in his arrest will be questioned by teams at the combine and could play a factor in his overall value.
What should excite the Bears about Robinson right away is his technique. It’s among the best at the tackle position and it will be on display during drills at the combine. Yet even if he shows well on field, his interview with GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox will be just as important.
G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
Moving Kyle Long outside to tackle still remains a possibility for the Bears, although it’s not the popular choice. If Pace and Fox have a plan to do so, they may look at a guard in the draft. Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp is one of the best guard prospects going into the combine.
Lamp projects as a guard in the NFL but his size (6-4, 305) is a concern on the inside, especially against hulking NFL interior defenders. Lamp played tackle for the Hilltoppers, so he has some positional flexibility, which should grab the Bears' attention. Lamp will have to show improvement as a run blocker at the combine. His footwork will be a focal point during field drills.