On his conference call this morning, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said, “The Bears have to upgrade at offensive tackle,” but he added that they also “need another Tommie Harris, and linebacker is also a possibility.”
He also admitted he had “a brutal time” deciding on the best pick for the Bears at No. 29 in his latest mock draft, which has them taking Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod.
McShay and most other draft analysts consider Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo, Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi, USC’s Tyron Smith and Colorado’s Nate Solder the top four offensive tackles in this year’s draft, although not necessarily in that precise order. Florida center-guard Mike Pouncey is also considered a lock for the first round.
McShay has all five of them coming off the board in the first 22 picks, but he said Solder could possibly fall toward the bottom of the round because the former tight end is still developing as an offensive tackle and still growing into his 6-foot-8 frame.
“He has all the talent in the world,” McShay said of the 319-pound, three-year starter. “He’s not there yet, and he needs to get stronger, but he could have the most upside of any of them.”
As for a Tommie Harris replacement, McShay believes Illinois’ Corey Liuget would be perfect, but he has him going to the Rams at No. 14 and no other defensive tackles after that with a first-round grade.
McShay believes UCLA OLB-DE Akeem Ayers is worthy of the 29th pick, but he questions whether he would be an ideal fit for the Bears, since he’s seen as more of a 3-4 outside linebacker or even a situational, pass-rushing defensive end, rather than a full-time 4-3 outside linebacker.