John St. Clair is still twisting in the wind as an unrestricted free agent, but it's hard to determine if each passing day makes him more likely to re-sign with the Bears or more likely to be wearing a new uniform in 2009.
One way or another, the Chicago offensive line will look much different than it did this past season, as last year's first-round draft pick, Chris Williams, is fully recovered from the back problems that cost him most of his rookie campaign. He'll be inserted into the all-important left tackle position, where St. Clair performed admirably as the starter in 2008, but right tackle is a question mark after the premature retirement of veteran John Tait. While the organization would like to have St. Clair back because of his versatility, the Midway Monsters are not going to overpay for him since he's on the wrong side of 30 and has spent most of his pro career as a backup.
General manager Jerry Angelo announced that free-agent signee Frank Omiyale will get his first look at guard, although it's conceivable he'll be the right tackle should St. Clair depart.
However, the St. Clair situation doesn't appear to have had any effect on Angelo's strategy for the upcoming NFL Draft, as yet another offensive tackle has turned up on the team's wish list.
Ed Thompson, the senior NFL analyst for Scout.com, has told Bear Report that Robert Brewster of Ball State drew the attention of Bears' scouts at his Pro Day in Muncie.
Brewster (6-5, 319) was a four-year starter for the Cardinals and a two-time first-team All-MAC selection at tackle, with his quick feet and terrific lateral agility making him a natural in pass protection. He displays some nastiness between whistles and always finishes off his blocks, plus he's athletic enough to be effective at the second level on screens and pulling plays. But like most tackles produced from this style of spread offense, he's spent most of his time operating out of a two-point stance and hasn't had much of a chance to prove he can really move his opponent in the running game.
Assuming Williams turns out to be everything the front office thought he was when they selected him 14th overall last April, Chicago is looking for more of a right tackle than a left tackle – and Brewster spent most of his time on the right side.
Brewster could get pushed down the draft board since there are a lot of top quality tackle prospects available this year, making him a sound choice in Round 6.
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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.
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