Bears Eye Offensive Lineman

While the Bears have re-signed four offensive linemen since the beginning of 2006, general manager Jerry Angelo will still look to the draft for young talent. Here's a closer look at one of the prospects the team showed interest in at the combine.

By re-signing Roberto Garza, Terrence Metcalf and John St. Clair to multi-year deals since the end of the regular season, the Bears have the top seven spots on their o-line depth chart set. Lennie Friedman also signed a one-year deal and could fill the next slot.

"We look at free agency starting at home and by getting three offensive linemen signed in approximately three months, we feel very very good," Angelo said. "That's a great start to free agency. So very excited about that. It takes a little pressure off us going into the draft."

When Angelo talks about pressure he means the team will not have to reach in an effort to find a rookie that can start. It's more about taking the best player on their board whether it's in the first round or later in the draft.

One prospect that could fit the bill for the Bears is Daryn Colledge. He's a 6-4, 299-pound tackle from Boise State who grew up in small-town (North Pole) Alaska. He is the seventh-ranked tackle available in the draft, according to Scout.com, the last of the four-star athletes at that position.

Colledge is a well-spoken player who is out to prove the draft stock of a small-town, small-school prospect has nowhere to go but up. At the Combine, he spoke with several teams in addition to the Bears, including Carolina, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Atlanta.

With a veteran offensive line, a draft choice is likely to sit a season or possibly two before being given a chance to start. For Colledge that would be something different, he ended his college career starting 52 consecutive games.

"Coming in as a rookie, I think you need to be a guy that shuts your mouth and opens your ears and eyes and you've got to learn. The NFL is a different animal than even the jump from high school to college," Colledge said. "You've got to be willing to step back and put your ego aside and be willing to learn and pick up the traits of the guys that have been there."

It doesn't hurt that he can rely on conversations with guys like former Broncos offensive line star Mark Schlereth, whose mother is friends with Colledge's mother.

With an athletic body built for power and speed, Colledge represents many of the characteristics line coaches rave about. Strong at the point of attack and quick on his feet, he's able to use his body to fend off defenders' bull rushes and speed moves. He's also versatile enough to play tackle or guard at the next level. His best forty-yard dash time at the combine was 5.0 seconds, which ranked among the fastest times for an offensive lineman.

"They're the ones paying the dollars, so I just have to go to work," Colledge said. "I feel my versatility gives me an ability over some guys."

With three starters on the offensive line over the age of 30, Colledge could make a lot of sense if he's still on the board in the second round.


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