Ryan Clady- Ryan Clady is one of the best tackles in football. His 2012 was not as dominant as his past seasons, but from the first time he stepped on the field his rookie year, it was obvious he was going to be a good player. It is a shame he had to be drafted two slots before the Bears selected in 2008, when they had Chris Williams fall to them. With Peyton Manning needing a blindside protector badly thanks to numerous neck surgeries, there is no way Clady leaves the Rocky Mountains.
William Beatty- Beatty was nothing short of spectacular in pass protection last season for the Giants. His issue has always been one of two things: penalties and injuries. Back spasms flare up from time to time for him, and in 2012, he had 11 penalties called against him, 8 of which were holding calls. His age (27) makes him an attractive player for many teams.
Jake Long- From 2009-2011, Pro Football Focus recorded statistics for all offensive linemen during that time. Jake Long played 1,614 snaps and only gave up 63 pressures. That is a remarkable number, considering Gabe Carimi seemingly gave up 63 in one game last season in San Francisco. A lot has been made of Long’s injuries and his 2012 drop off. Most analysts believe he is looking for 30-40 million guaranteed over the course of a contract, but he is not going to get that. It would be tough for Long to pass up a contract in the Midwest, where he’s from, if Chicago offered up a rich contract.
Branden Albert- If the Chiefs do not select an offensive tackle with the first pick in April’s draft, I would be surprised. This would probably be the end of the road for Branden Albert in Kansas City. Like Long and Beatty, he has had some back injuries, but from 2009-2011, he only gave up 96 pressures in 1,552 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. He also gave up only one sack in 11 games last year. Albert is still relatively young as well, and he has made it known that he does not want to stay with the Chiefs if they expect him to line up inside. With that being said, Kansas City will most likely use their franchise tag on Dwayne Bowe and let Albert walk.
Sebastian Vollmer- One of two current NFL players born in Germany, Sebastian Vollmer is the best right tackle in the league. He only gave up 56 pressures from 2009-2011, and his 2012 was very good as well. A lot of people will claim he is a typical New England system product, but make no mistake, Vollmer would be a terrific addition to the Bears. He would add leadership and skill there, the latter lacking for years.
Jermon Bushrod- Nobody has been talked about more this offseason in regards to the Bears than Jermon Bushrod. This probably comes from the fact that new Bears’ offensive coordinator, Aaron Kromer, was his offensive line coach in New Orleans. Bushrod has made two Pro Bowls, both because of his name and the offense he plays on. Last season, he did not grade out positively in any game from week 12-17 according to PFF’s scale. As I pointed out a few days ago on twitter, J’Marcus Webb’s 2012 was statistically better than Bushrod’s. Webb gave up a pressure every 20 snaps while Bushrod gave up a pressure every 15 plays. Bushrod graded out 45th overall among all tackles, while Webb finished 35th overall. Bushrod might be a better player than Webb is, but it will be hard for Emery to sell a huge contact to Bushrod to fans if it happens.
I would hope that Emery is not as incompetent as Jerry Angelo was in terms of drafting offensive linemen. Last season, he drafted none and signed a quitter. If he drafts two and signs one of the aforementioned six, that will be a successful offseason. It is simply time to give the biggest weakness of this team a major upgrade. With a quality team in the trenches, this is a Super Bowl contender.
by Brian Ociepka (@bjociepka1)