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Never too early to analyze the Bears’ draft

At least five mock NFL Drafts had Bears selecting offensive lineman Gabe Carimi Wisconsin.

At least five mock NFL Drafts had the Bears selecting offensive lineman Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin.

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Teams are not allowed to make roster moves during the extended negotiating window between NFL owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement, but it’s never too early for looking ahead to the draft.

When it comes to useless exercises, charting mock drafts has to rank near the top. That said, I’ve checked out 25 different mock drafts in the past couple days to try to get an idea of what different media members think the Bears will do.

Most experts agree that the Bears will either take an offensive or defensive lineman at No. 29 overall. Most people are picking the Bears to take an offensive lineman, for obvious reasons. The Bears surrendered more sacks than any other team in the NFL last season. They definitely need to shore up the offensive line this offseason.

That said, I would argue that the Bears have more pieces in place on the offensive line than they do at defensive tackle. With Tommie Harris gone, and Anthony Adams an unrestricted free agent, the Bears are pretty desperate at defensive tackle with Henry Melton, Matt Toeaina and Marcus Harrison, who played sparingly last season, the only real candidates on the roster.

Given the depth at defensive tackle in the 2011 draft, however, it might make more sense for the Bears to take an offensive lineman first, according to Mel Kiper Jr.

“You can get defensive players in the second round area at the defensive tackle spot that can be a factor for you,” Kiper Jr. said during a conference call. “At offensive tackle, not so much. ... It’s just slim pickings. You have a better chance to getting a defensive tackle than an offensive tackle at that point.”

Kiper said LSU’s Drake Nevis is an ideal three-technique tackle that could be available late in the second round. He also mentioned North Carolina’s Marvin Austin and Iowa’s Christian Ballard as possibilities for the Bears. As far as offensive tackles who might still be around when the Bears pick in the second round, Kiper said there’s a possibility Mississippi’s State’s Derek Sherrod could slip that low, although he doubts it. He also mentioned Alabama’s James Carpenter and Florida’s Marcus Gilbert have a chance to made an immediate impact as second rounders.

As for the mock drafts, five of the 25 have predicted that the Bears will take Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi. Four prognosticators think they will take Villanova tackle Ben Ijalana, while three think Florida guard/center Mike Pouncey will be pick.

Only two people thought the Bears would pick a player who wasn’t an offensive or defensive lineman in the first round, with Miami cornerback Brandon Harris showing up in one mock draft and Pittsburgh receiver Jonathan Baldwin in another.



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