Mullin: 2011 draft thin on first-round talent?

Mullin: 2011 draft thin on first-round talent?
April 14, 2011, 7:00 pm
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Thursday, April 14, 2011Posted: 2:05 PM

By John Mullin

Teams have done nicely down in the 20s of drafts first rounds. But it is still a kind of no-teams land?

ESPN Scouts Inc. college scouting director Todd McShay does not especially like where the Bears are sitting (No. 29) in this years first round, if they in fact are going to go for a tackle.

Theyre in a tricky spot, McShay said Thursday. Theres a chance that they dont make a move up, theres not going to be someone there that theyre in love with.

Jerry Angelo is on record with his thinking that good offensive linemen are at such a premium that teams often are forced to reach, taking linemen as much as two full rounds before their grade might warrant. Such is the possibly the Bears lot.

McShay identified Anthony Castonzo, Gabe Carimi, Tyron Smith and Nate Solder of Colorado as the clear top four tackles. After that you get into more a second-tier group, McShay said. If those four tackles are gonetheres a chance they do reach. Theyre probably reaching a bit and hoping.

None of the top three tackles are expected to be anywhere within reach of the Bears, if indeed they want a tackle. McShay lists Castonzo from Boston College as the most NFL-ready tackle in this draft, thinking left tackle, and Wisconsins Carimi as the right tackle.

But the player with the most upside in terms of who could develop out of this class, its Tyron Smith from USC, McShay said. And looking five years down the NFL road, he should be the best in this offensive-tackle class, McShay added.

Some bad news

McShay said that he has 28 players with first-round grades in this years draft. Not what you want to think about if youre, say, No. 29. But with the possibilities of reaching, that does not mean there wont be a first-round talent when the Bears turn comes.

Besides, McShay is not setting the Bears board. It really only matters what Jerry Angelo, Tim Ruskell, Lovie Smith and select coaches think.

John "Moon" Mullin is's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.