Conventional thinking is the Bears will take a long, hard look at drafting an offensive lineman in the first round for the third time in six years.
There could be multiple options when their turn comes at No. 20, and it's a deep class with players certain to be available in later rounds, although general manager Phil Emery will be operating without third- and seventh-round picks.
Some of the elite talent is on display this week at the Senior Bowl. Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher and Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson, a former quarterback and tight end, have stood out. Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker backed out of Saturday's game with minor injuries after measuring 6-foot-4 7/8 and 355 pounds Monday. Kent State's Brian Winters projects as a tackle-to-guard project who could go early.
Texas A&M junior tackle Luke Joeckel is projected as a potential top-five pick, and North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper is a first-round prospect who passed on the Senior Bowl.
Fisher received only one other scholarship offer, from Eastern Michigan, so he is soaking up the spotlight after an impressive career in which he added 65 pounds to the 6-7, 240-pound frame he had when graduating from high school. He's still working to develop his body and said he's consuming between 5,000 and 6,000 calories per day.
"It's always been my dream to be drafted," Fisher said. "When I started getting wind this could happen, I took it and ran with it. I'm looking forward to the next three months. I am a very competitive person. I wasn't very highly recruited out of high school at all. I am down here to show everybody I am one of the best tackles in the nation."
Johnson, who played one season at quarterback at Kilgore Junior College in Texas, moved to tight end when he got to Oklahoma before switching to defensive end and then right tackle in 2011. He moved to left tackle this past season and has been highly regarded this week.
Offensive linemen standing out at Senior Bowl
Chicago Tribune | Jan 24