Chicago Bears NFL Draft: Second-round interior OL options

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

We identify some second-round offensive line options for the Chicago Bears in the upcoming NFL Draft.

We are more than 10 days from the start of the “legal tampering period” otherwise known as the unofficial start to NFL free agency, and the Chicago Bears‘ plan is starting to take shape. They put the majority of their limited resources into the quarterback, tight end, and edge rusher positions.

One other significant need that has gone largely unaddressed is interior offensive linemen. While the Bears did just sign Germain Ifedi, formerly of the Seattle Seahawks, he would need to move from his tackle position to fill the team’s need at right guard. Of course, he may, but he was not particularly effective as a tackle and may be nothing more than depth for next year.

Either way, the Bears should be looking to draft an interior lineman with one of their two second-round picks in this year’s draft to fill an immediate need next season. And these are three candidates who would be terrific picks.

John Simpson

Do you like your offensive linemen with a bit of a nasty streak to them? Well, then you’ll probably like John Simpson, from Clemson University. He is a stout and incredibly powerful lineman who played left guard for the Tigers, starting all but one game over his final two seasons.

He seems to enjoy eviscerating and bullying opponents, in a way that harkens back to old school football. He could definitely inject a little bit of edge to the offensive line that will be lacking after Kyle Long’s departure.

Jonah Jackson

A player who hasn’t been linked to the Bears in many mock drafts, but would be a tremendous addition is Ohio State’s Jonah Jackson. At 6-foot-4, 310 pounds he has some room to put on some weight, but not too much, as he does not want to lose the quickness that is widely seen as one of his biggest strengths.

He is quick and light on his feet, but still very powerful for his size. He has a tremendous motor and is someone who plays through the whistle. In his final year at Ohio State, he really improved his skills as a run blocker and would bring a well-balanced game to the Bears if selected.

Lloyd Cushenberry

Saving my favorite option for last, Lloyd Cushenberry should be available when the Bears made their second-round picks, and they would be wise to snag him as quickly as possible. We’ll get to his on-the-field play in a moment, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Cushenberry is a high character player who would be a terrific culture fit with the Bears.

In fact, the LSU Tigers traditionally give jersey number 18 to the player on the team who displays a selfless attitude and embodies what it means to be an LSU Tiger. Well, this past season, Cushenberry was the first lineman to enjoy that honor.

But he is also an awesome talent on the field. He’s equally adept in both the run and pass game and is someone who could conceivably step into the starting role from Week 1. While he projects better as a guard in the NFL, he played center in college. This gives him the positional flexibility that Ryan Pace seems to covet as well, as both Cody Whitehair and James Daniels can play both guard and center.

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Having versatile depth on the offensive line is never a bad thing and the Bears would be well served to add Cushenberry to the mix in April.