Thursday, April 14, 2011
Posted: 9:50 PM
By John Mullin
Worth a look.
The Bears are expected to address their offensive line with one or even both of their first two picks, whether in those current slots or up or down by virtue of a trade. It could happen.
And it is also a distinct possibility that the Bears will pick two offensive linemen before round five for the first time since Jerry Angelos first (2002) Bears draft. One would be within those first two rounds. And last Friday, the Bears held a private workout for Louisville tackle Byron Stingily, who at 6-5, 315 pounds, ran a 4.86 in his 40 at the Cardinals Pro Day and impressed the Bears enough to take an up-close second look at a talent not expected to go in those early rounds.
After what the Bears found with JMarcus Webb in last years seventh round, Stingily is a name to listen for on draft day. More than a dozen teams have been circling and best guess is that he will not last if the Bears wait past their pick in the fourth round.
Center Olin Kreutz is all but a lock to return and is the teams No. 1 veteran priority. That takes the need at center down a very significant notch. It also means right guard also is in place with Roberto Garza, one of the potential options for a Kreutz replacement but one that would have meant just moving the need area one place to the right.
Two new voices of major significance are being heard at Halas Hall in the run-up to this draft.
One is Tim Ruskell, director of player personnel, who has revamped some key elements of Bears scouting processes. Insiders say that Ruskell has shifted some of the often-excessive attention given to prospects targeted in later rounds and turned that on higher-round possibilities.
The other is Mike Tice. The offensive line coach took an increased role in the offense overall during last seasons off week, one of the major reasons the play-calling changed so dramatically at that point of the season.
Tice, with his impeccable credentials as a position coach and perspectives from his head-coaching time, now is playing a very big part in draft plans. Bears coaches have always had input into the draft; with this draft and the lockout theyve had more time to do film study, workouts and all the rest.
But Tice is a player. What that suggests is that the lines will be addressed early and often, and probably pretty well.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com'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.