CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2015 NFL Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need and what could be in store.
Bears pre-draft situation
The offensive line went from a strength in 2013, with the same five starting all 16 games, to a mess in 2014 because of injuries and substandard play in some areas. The brightest spot was Kyle Long taking another step toward “elite” status with a second Pro Bowl in as many NFL seasons, and developing to the point of prompting a discussion of where best he fits.
Whether Long remains at guard or moves to tackle, the Bears are generally set with Long, tackle Jermon Bushrod and left guard Matt Slauson, who missed 11 games with ankle and chest injuries.
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The offense lost center Roberto Garza, who had established a rapport and trust level with Jay Cutler after Olin Kreutz stayed away from training camp in 2011 and eventually went to New Orleans. But the transition is eased with the signing of Will Montgomery, joining his fifth team after playing for John Fox in Denver last season and in Carolina in 2006.
The situation at the fifth line spot is relatively open, only because Jordan Mills struggled with coming back from a broken foot. At one point the Marc Trestman coaching staff considered shifting him to guard before leaving him at right tackle. Mills may still secure the fifth starting position but that will be up to a new coaching staff to determine.
Bears draft priority: Low
Bears offensive line draft selections have been spotty at best, save the occasional Long, Kreutz or Jimbo Covert. It is a difficult evaluation gap between college and NFL levels of performance.
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Fortunately the Bears are not in the position they were when they had to add an offensive lineman and snagged Long. Or when they needed a tackle and used No. 1’s for Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi. Free agency provided for the center transition from Garza at least for the next couple years.
Keep an eye on..
Jamon Brown, Louisville: A right tackle coming from a good program taking care of Teddy Bridgewater.
T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh: Possible second-rounder visited Bears; converted D-lineman with big upside.
Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin: Massive (6-7, 324) right tackle proven run blocker for Melvin Gordon and Monte Ball.