10 offensive linemen to watch for Bears at NFL Scouting Combine

With the NFL Scouting Combine in full swing, the Chicago Bears will get a look at some offensive linemen that would improve their pass protection after allowing the fourth most sacks (58) last year.

While tackle is the premier position, the Bears also need to improve the interior of their offensive line. Seven-year veteran left guard Cody Whitehair could be a salary cap cut this year in addition to problems at the center and right guard positions.

On the outside, Chicago is still looking for a tackle to pair with left tackle Braxton Jones and possibly upgrade from the fifth-round pick.

Drills for offensive linemen begin on Sunday, March 5. Here are 10 players to watch for the Bears:

OT Paris Johnson, Ohio State

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Paris Johnson is an athletic left tackle with great feet and the skill to play left tackle in the NFL. He’s an impressive prospect with the ability to start immediately. He’s likely the first offensive lineman selected in this year’s draft.

OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern

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Peter Skoronski will face the challenge of proving to teams that he can play left tackle in the NFL. While he has the feet and athleticism necessary to play the position, his shorter arm length will have many teams wanting him to move inside to guard.

iOL O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida

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O’Cyrus Torrence is NFL-ready from a physical perspective. At 6-foot-5 and 337 pounds, he can be an impact player immediately for most teams. He’s best suited for a system like Chicago’s that utilizes zone and play action concepts.

C John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota

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A three-year starter for the Golden Gophers, John Michael Schmitz is a technician that makes the most of his size and strength. He’s an aggressive run blocker, with a mauler-like play style that will endear him to coaches.

iOL Cody Mauch, North Dakota State

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A three-year starter at tackle for North Dakota State, Cody Mauch is best suited at guard in the NFL. He lacks the athleticism to play on the edge and handle quicker athletic pass rushers. However, he’s another mauler in the run game and has the strength to anchor against pass rushers.

iOL Emil Ekiyor, Alabama

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Emil Ekiyor has the skill set to be able to play both guard positions and center. In the run game, he’s fundamentally sound and plays with great pad level. In pass protection, he’s athletic and has the footwork necessary to be successful. He’s best suited for zone schemes that will ask him to redirect his opponents instead of driving them out of gaps.

C Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas

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Ricky Stromberg is one of the best centers in this year’s draft. He has a high football IQ and excels at identifying delayed blitzes and picking up defensive line stunts. In addition, he shows a sixth sense for identifying which teammates need help and works over to double team, when needed.

OT Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse

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Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Bergeron is another prospect best suited by moving from tackle to guard. He’s great in pass protection when he’s able to beat defenders to his landmark but he’s not athletic and quick enough to do it consistently against elite pass rushers.

OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State

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At 6-foot-8 and 375 pounds, Dawand Jones is a giant right tackle with the length needed to stun pass rushers. He’s able to drive defenders off the line of scrimmage. He should be an immediate impact player but doesn’t have quick enough feet to play left tackle.

iOL Steve Avila, TCU

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Steve Avila has the versatility to play all three interior positions and has NFL size and strength. He would be an immediate starter at guard or center for an NFL team and excels in run and pass protection.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire