OT Chris Williams (6-6, 317) – Vanderbilt
Strengths: He's a quick-footed tackle who shields defenders from getting around the end. He moves well laterally and uses his hands effectively. He displays great technique and manhandles defenders with his strength. He's a smart player who works well with his linemates. He played against top competition in a tough SEC.
Weaknesses: He doesn't play with a mean streak and tends to lose focus. He allows the defender to get in too close and doesn't deliver a consistent initial punch. He has to show more physicality when run blocking, play lower and get off the line quicker.
Steuber Says: "Williams was one of the more intriguing offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl. He has great size, strength and agility. He moves his feet well and will be a very good pass blocker. The biggest question I have about his game is his run blocking. He has to play lower and get more leverage against the opposition. There was an interesting moment at the Senior Bowl when Williams and Texas A&M DT Joseph 'Red' Bryant got into a scuffle. Prior to the fight, Williams was playing at guard, and it was interesting to see how average he looked playing inside. Bryant got the upper hand against Williams, and tempers flared. Williams is not the toughest player and appeared tentative on the ensuing play after the fight. Luckily for Williams, he's a left tackle who has all the tools to protect a quarterback at the next level."
JC's Take: It's a lot sexier to select skill-position talent in the first round of the draft, but until this offensive line gets a significant upgrade, it simply won't matter.
Williams has developed into a sure first-rounder and could be the second offensive tackle taken after Jake Long of Michigan. Boise State junior Ryan Clady will also be in the mix, although Williams is a hotter name right now since he was able to show off his considerable skills at the Senior Bowl while Clady watched from home. Clady will have an opportunity to impress all the scouts once he gets to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine toward the end of February, but the Bears should be very happy if they come away from the draft with either of them at No. 14 overall.
As I've said before on more than one occasion, finding a stud left tackle would allow veteran John Tait to move back to his natural home on the right side and potentially kill two problem birds with one stone.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.