Bears Visit With Second Day Guard

The Chicago offensive line is deep from top to bottom, but the Bears would like to add some youth to the unit through the draft. Even though this Pac-10 prospect is expected to last until the second day of the draft, he could boost the interior of the line. has confirmed California guard Aaron Merz is slated to visit Halas Hall. The three-year starter at both guard positions previously earned All-Conference honors for the Golden Bears.

The six-foot-4, 346-pound Merz could learn behind Ruben Brown as a rookie and then potentially compete for a starting job in his second year.

Brown is in the final year of his contract and at 34 the chances of the Bears keeping him past this season are slim. Roberto Garza is currently the starter at right guard, but will have to battle Terrence Metcalf in training camp.

Although ranks Merz as the 21st best guard prospect, there are only nine players at the position with a higher mark than his two-star rating. This year's crop of interior linemen is considered weak and there is no clear-cut favorite above the rest.

Merz will likely come off the board in the latter rounds and would bring good value at that part of the draft. He's somewhat of a risk because he's been accused of not always putting forth top effort, which is an odd combination for a former walk-on. He's also battled shoulder problems during his time at Cal.

However, selections in the fifth or sixth round are never labeled as busts. Being around a veteran group could help Merz in the maturation process and mean he wouldn't have to immediately play meaningful snaps.

TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
King-sized blocker who can be a dominant force. Plays with good pad level, naturally strong and pushes defenders from the line of scrimmage. Anchors in pass protection and walls opponents from the action. Nasty and always looking for someone to hit.

Negative: Lacks adjustment, not light on his feet and gets tall as the play proceeds. Not considered a hard worker who does the extras. Shoulder injuries have been a problem.

Analysis: Possesses the size and intelligence to play in the NFL, Merz is a gifted lineman with starting potential. Must consistently give effort on and off the field.

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