The surprise move in the 2013 draft will be if the Bears do not select an offensive lineman in the first or second round, possibly both. The issues will be whether there are enough top talents to stock a first round or more, and picking the right one.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper said on Tuesday that the early analysis has three left tackles and two right tackles projected to go in the first round and at least one, maybe two, could go it the top five.
Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M conceivably could be the No. 1 pick overall, Kiper said. Hes that good. Hes the Outland Trophy winner for a reason. Hes done a great job at A&M.
And you think about Taylor Lewand from Michigan in the top 10 to 15, as is Eric Fisher from Central Michigan.
After those, there is a drop-off at left tackle, Kiper said.
But the suddenly shaky situation with Gabe Carimi has left the Bears unsettled at right tackle, whether Carimi goes back there once his game and confidence are restored, or whether replacement Jonathan Scott is worth retaining with a new contract.
And there are two right tackles likely to go in the first round, as Carimi did. Jake Matthews from Texas A&M and Alabamas D.J. Fluker project as first-rounders on the right side, Kiper said.
So thats what you have, Kiper said. You have five first-round tackles: three left tackles and two right tackles.
An unintended positive in the Bears slide of losing four of their last five games is that each defeat bumps the Bears up a slot or three and with it an earlier spot on the clock.
The immediate impact from a rookie offensive lineman is never a given. The Bears got nothing from Chris Williams (No. 14) in 2008 primarily because of injuries. Carimi won the starting job in training camp and was playing well before suffering a week-two knee injury that ended his season.
Iowas Riley Reiff was a sixth offensive lineman and H-back in short-yardage situations for the first 10 games after going No. 23 to the Detroit Lions and did not start until aging veteran left tackle Jeff Backus was injured.