Tackle is a position many scouts see as limited in numbers for the draft and the Bears' need is more right side than left.
Bears left tackle Braxton Jones produced a remarkable year considering he'd been a fifth-round pick from a lesser-known school like Southern Utah.
Jones ascended not only to start and play more downs than any Bears player in 2022 but was rated 20th overall among all NFL tackles, left side or right side, by Pro Football Focus.
No other rookie tackle had such a high grade, so it's easy to see how he made the All-Rookie teams for the Pro Football Writers of America and PFF.
Still, Jones showed enough flaws to create some concern, especially against the bull rush. When he gave up three sacks against the Lions it was a low point.
Instead of dwelling upon down points, he's trying to stay focused on offseason strength improvement while GM Ryan Poles goes through the scouting process at tackle and all line positions in free agency and the draft.
"That's not my job," Jones said. "I'll let him do his job, so I'm just focused on making sure I can be that piece in his organization to do that job and make it so we can go win a Super Bowl and, first of all, even make it to the playoffs, have a winning season in a few seasons. That's my job and that's what I want to do."
Jones should feel a bit secure.
It would seem the right side is the actual tackle position Poles would be more focused on because Larry Borom or 34-year-old free agent Riley Reiff played there.
Either way, it's not a good year to be seeking tackles.
"The projected 2023 offensive tackle class is widely seen as a weak position group, especially relative to the talent produced at the position in recent years," Fan Nation's NFL Draft Bible wrote.
Northwestern's Peter Skoronski is considered possibly the best lineman in the draft and was a tackle but is widely projected as a guard for the NFL.
Here's the rest of the best for the Bears to consider at tackle.
Paris Johnson, Ohio State
A 6-5 1/2, 315-pound, experienced leader. He took ownership not only of his own position but the entire line. It's ironic, but many times a tackle will be mentioned as a possible guard and in Johnson's case it's suggested he could play that position in a pinch, but not because he isn't good enough to be a tackle. It's because he is so nimble and quick when he pulls to block that he resembles a guard more than a tackle. In his pass blocking, he is a tackle and no one is going to move him there.
Broderick Jones, Georgia
A 6-4 1/2, 310-pounder with an extremely long reach. He came on strong in his final year after being a starter part of 2021. Another tackle with excellent footwork who is capable of overwhelming edges in the run and staying between them and the QB.
Dawand Jones, Ohio State
A massive human being who would need to be a right tackle and might not be a system fit for some teams unless he drops some weight. He's almost 6-foot-8 and is 360 pounds. He's so tall he'll need to work at his bend and leverage, along with his footwork. NFL Draft Bible gave him a second-round grade. No one should doubt he has the athleticism to play the position at the next level, though, as at his size he actually was once an excellent high school basketball player who averaged 17 points. Imagine trying to box him out on the boards.
Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland
Another extremely big player at 6-6, 330, who scouts say has normal flaws like pad level but overall has excellent athleticism. With this, they seem the ability to develop rapidly into a starter. NFL Draft Bible says Duncan has "elite" potential because of his athleticism.
Cody Mauch, North Dakota State
A former tight end who is 6-5, 306, can move well but has arm length short enough that there will be scouts who project him in the guard group. Has great athletic ability, agility and lateral movement.
Projected as a second-round pick by NFL Draft Bible.
Jordan Morgan, Arizona
Called by NFL Draft Bible possibly the "best run blocker in the 2022 class," his strengths are his arm length an hand usage. At 6-4, 320, he is said to have the foot quickness to move like a guard and get outside in a wide zone scheme but fend off edge rushers.
Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
It's projected this 6-4 1/2, 312-pounder has sub-5.0 speed in the 40. One of "safest prospects in the draft," says NFL Draft Bible, because he has such good all-around athletic ability and is sound fundamentally. A Canadian-born player who has a late first-round or second-round projection.
Anton Harrison, Oklahoma
Considered one the best athletes for his size at 6-4 1/2, 309, he has been almost exclusively a left tackle through his career. His reach is a bit more like a guard's but his production at tackle ensures he'll get the chance to play there. Considered a a possible second-round pick by NFLDB.
Zion Nelson, Miami
The pass-blocking technique for this 6-5, 309-pounder is viewed as possibly more consistently sound than any prospect in the draft but he's a finesse type who needs to develop as a run blocker according to scouts. As such, he received a third-round grade from NFLDB.
Tyler Steen, Alabama
Scouts like his ability to stick with edge rushers all the way around to the back of a quarterback. A Vanderbilt transfer who played his final year for the Tide, he is 6-5, 315 and is considered by NFLDB as a possible Day 2 pick.
Carter Warren, Pitt
One of the oldest prospects in the draft. The 6-5 1/2, 315-pounder has been on the field in college for almost 2,800 plays . His strength is viewed as pass blocking and he needs improvement as a run blocker. A Day 3 prospect, says NFLDB.
Connor Galvin, Baylor
The 6-5 1/2, 310-pounder was a fifth-year player so he is very experienced, scouts wonder about his hand usage and overall athleticism. Some concerns also are expressed by scouts about his strength.
Scouting reports from NFLDB, Walterfootball.com, DraftNetwork.
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