Today we begin unveiling our ShawLocal.com Bears Insider 2021 NFL draft big board that, when done, will show you our top 200 prospects in this year’s draft, and we’re going to deliver it to you position by position in the order of the Bears’ greatest needs.
That starts at offensive tackle.
1. Penei Sewell, Oregon (6-5, 331, Junior)
Sewell is a special prospect who won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best offensive lineman as a sophomore in 2019 and then opted out this past season. He is still only 20 years old, and his rare athleticism, foot quickness and agility for a man his size make him a generational prospect at left tackle. Unfortunately, the fact he won’t last past the first five to seven picks makes him cost prohibitive for the Bears.
2. Rashawn Slater, Northwestern (6-3 ½, 305, Senior)
Slater also opted out in 2020 but excelled at both left and right tackle after starting every game as a true freshman on the right side. He is an exceptional prospect with a sky-high ceiling, but the problem here is he is small for tackle, and the majority of teams I’ve talked to are projecting him at guard at the next level. The Bears need big, pure tackles. They don’t need any more guard-tackle hybrids. Like Sewell, however, he will be long gone by the 20th pick.
3. Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (6-5, 322, Junior)
This is the second-best pure left tackle prospect, and although it’s hard to see him lasting until 20 for the Bears, he could slip into the 15-to-19 range where the Bears aren’t priced out of a trade up. He is athletically gifted, and his natural talent is through the roof. The only questions from a few scouts are is he nasty enough and can he stay focused and obsessed for a full 60 minutes. When his motor is on, he can be as good as they get.
4. Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC (6-5, 308, Redshirt Junior)
Vera-Tucker started at left guard as a sophomore and left tackle as a junior, but unlike Slater, he has the size to play tackle, although his arms are a tad shorter than you’d like. But he has the frame to easily add 10 to 20 pounds in the weight room without losing quickness and the special athleticism and feet you want in a left tackle.
5. Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma St. (6-6, 317, Redshirt Senior)
Jenkins is the big stud, mauling right tackle of your dreams. A starter his last three years in school, he lined up 25 times at right tackle and seven times at left tackle. Arm length is an issue here, too, leading some to suggest he will be a guard as a pro, but I just don’t see arms being an inch to an inch-and-a-half shorter than ideal keeping him from being a dominant right tackle. This kid reminds me of a Lane Johnson or Mitchell Schwartz.
SECOND-ROUND TARGETS TO WATCH
6. Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame (6-6, 306, Redshirt Senior)
Grew up in South Bend watching Alex Bars and Sam Mustipher.
7. Sam Cosmi, Texas (6-3, 314, Redshirt Junior)
Undersized true left tackle prospect, probably too small for right side at next level.
8. Alex Leatherwood, Alabama (6-5, 312, Senior)
Had a monster pro day but needs work on fundamentals, aggression for left tackle
THIRD ROUND AND HIGH DAY 3 TARGETS TO WATCH
9. Stone Forsythe, Florida (6-8, 307, Redshirt Senior)
Solid pass protector who’ll need work in the run game but can play left or right.
10. Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa (6-8, 311, Redshirt Senior)
College right tackle with athletic ability to play left tackle, exciting clay for Juan Castillo to mold.
11. Dillon Radunz, North Dakota St. (6-4, 305, Redshirt Senior)
Tough and talented but small for tackle at the next level, may have to play inside.
12. Walker Little, Stanford (6-7, 313, Senior)
Left tackle body but has played one game past two seasons, bum knee needs checking.
13. Larry Borom, Missouri (6-5, 322, Redshirt Junior)
Not special on tape, but love his body type and nastiness at right tackle.