2013 draft could see five OTs taken in first round

961063.png

2013 draft could see five OTs taken in first round

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.

Bobby Portis relishing his chance as starter

Bobby Portis relishing his chance as starter

A milk carton was a more likely place to find Bobby Portis than on a basketball floor playing big minutes for the majority of his second season.

He could often be found in the locker room before games and listening to the older players talk to the media afterward, trying his best to fight off the frustration and admitted confusion that comes with the regression of not getting playing time.

When Portis did play, he looked nothing like the confident and borderline cocky rookie who often referred to himself in the third person in interviews. He didn't know when he would play, how long he would be out there or even worse, what was expected of him.

The trade of Taj Gibson at the deadline — preceded by the temporary benching of Nikola Mirotic — put Portis back in the spotlight and he's intent on making the most of it during the last 23 games of the regular season.

"It's fun. You know go out there every day just to know that it's another day I'm going to play," Portis said. "That's the biggest thing for me. I feel like that's already a confidence builder right there, just coming into every game knowing that I'm in the rotation. It's great fun to go out there and play."

It's no secret the front office the Bulls want Portis to succeed and not add him to the ledger of some of the first-round disappointments that can be recalled in recent memory.

The trade of Gibson was certainly underlined with the mantra that Portis should play and the way was going to be cleared for Portis, one way or another. Scoring 19 with eight rebounds against the Celtics on national TV right before the All-Star break probably gave Portis enough validation considering he was thrust into the starting lineup at power forward soon after.

"I don't care about nobody judging me," Portis said. "At the end of the day I'm going to play basketball. That's my job. I'm going to go out there and do the things I do well. I feel like sometimes people misconstrue just because you don't play and they can say some things like that. I don't really care about anybody judging me at this point. At the end of the day I'm still going to be Bobby Portis at the end of the day."

Well, clearly, the third person thing hasn't left the second-year forward, but he said he stayed in the gym waiting on his opportunity, even through a quick but confusing stint to Hoffman Estates to the D-League.

"Just being hungry. Humble and hungry," Portis said. "You know one thing I always strive off of is being humble and hungry. That kept me sane. My mom, I talked to her a lot. She kept me grounded. It's kind of tough not playing and going through the season knowing that some games you might play, you might not play. You know it's about waiting your turn, but at the same time you have to keep working."

Being the fifth big in Fred Hoiberg's rotation didn't leave him a lot of room for Portis to get much run or even find a rhythm, and like many others who've found themselves out of the rotation unexpectedly, it was without much of an explanation.

"Nah, I didn't really know what I could do to get minutes," Portis said. "The one thing that I know that I always do is just come in here every day, work as hard as I can, let the dominos fall how they fall. Every day I come in here, just bust my butt for some minutes, but sometimes it wouldn't work."

Now that he has found himself into Hoiberg's good graces, his improving range has allowed both units to play similiarly.

"I think Bobby has done a real nice job," Hoiberg said. "He was a huge part of our win against Boston in our game right before the break. He just goes out and plays with so much energy. What I really like about him right now is he has no hesitation on his shot. He's stepping into his 3 with good rhythm."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bears will not use franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery

alshon-stl-227.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bears will not use franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Nick Friedell (ESPNChicago.com) and Danny Parkins (670 The Score) join David Kaplan on the panel.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Bears will not use the franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery for the second straight year. Is that the right move? And what will Ryan Pace do with all of his team’s cap space?

The Bulls are winning but their new, young point guard doesn’t know his role. Will anything ever change with the Bulls?

That plus Scott Paddock drops by to recapping a thrilling Daytona 500 finish.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: