The Chicago Bears need a lot of help on their offensive line right now.
Matthew Bergeron, OL, Syracuse
What can he prove?: Guard tackle dilemma
There is a saying that if you go a whole game without hearing an O lineman’s name on the broadcast, they are doing a very good job.
I feel like that is the perfect analogy that describes Syracuse’s, Matthew Bergeron. He was as reliable as any blindside protector in college football.
The guy just doesn’t get beat very often in pass protection because he plays with great technique. I do wonder if he will be as successful at the next level at tackle because of the lack of some important traits.
The first one is flexibility. For the awesome movement skills that Bergeron will flash, the stiffness in his lower half rears its ugly head when he has to quickly redirect.
He also doesn’t drop his hips under his opponents because of this, which makes his anchor less effective. Lastly, Bergeron (reportedly) doesn’t have the longest arms either.
These aren’t death knells by any means but a kick inside to guard might be on the horizon. How he fares at the Senior Bowl should tell us where the NFL thinks he should play.
Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
What can he prove?: Continue his dominance at the highest level
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Chicago Bears’ new right tackle, Darnell Wright. In all seriousness, Darnell Wright will most likely be my highest-graded offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl.
The former Tennessee Vol pitched shutout after shutout against a murderous row of SEC pass rushers, including Will Anderson Jr.
Wright locked Anderson down more so than any tackle did all year. He is a smooth mover in pass pro and has an excellent understanding of how his opponents are trying to attack him.
In addition, he is tremendous at absorbing contact and uncorking his lower half to anchor. I expect him to continue to ascend at the Senior Bowl.
Selfishly, I hope he doesn’t ascend too far from the Bears’ chances to nab him in round 2.
John Michael Schmitz, Center, Minnesota
What can he prove? 1on1 pass protection ability
Whenever there is a stud Big Ten offensive lineman from the Chicago land area, he is always going to be linked to the Bears. It’s a tale as old as time.
That is no different with Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz, especially, with all of the troubles the Bears have had at center in recent years.
It’s no secret the fans are looking for an upgrade from Sam Mustipher and still have major questions about Lucas Patrick. That said, Schmitz would be a great guy to add to the mix.
There is much to like about his game including his ability to float to the second level in a zone-blocking scheme, awareness in pass protection, and overall battle-tested experience.
The big thing with him is what he can prove as a lone pass protector. The nature of playing center is tasked with more help responsibilities. They are assisting with double teams more so than any other position along the o line.
In the NFL however, teams will start singling centers out if they can’t hold up. That is what I want to see this week. Can he hold his own against some of the best college pass rushers in the country? We shall see.