Chicago Sun-Times

Bears attend private workout for Otah

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The Bears were one of 13 teams at a private workout Wednesday for Pittsburgh offensive linemen Jeff Otah and Mike McGlynn.

Otah ran the 40-yard dash in 5.28 and 5.31 seconds and put up 25 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds. He had 29 reps at the combine. He also did positional drills. Otah had delayed working out at the school because of a lingering ankle issue. He checked in at 6-6, 323 pounds, 13 lighter than from the combine. His 40 times from Indianapolis were in the 5.6’s, so he helped himself in that sense as much as anyone puts weight into that measurement for an offensive tackle.

Otah did not run the short shuttle drill, which he also passed on at the combine.

``The 40 time did play a role,’’ he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. ``I ran a 5.6 at the combine, and I felt that I was more explosive than that and I wanted to show them face-to-face how explosive I am. When [the ankle] wasn’t 100 percent, it was affecting my change of direction. It’s 100 percent now. I felt great today.’’

Carolina coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney were in attendance. The Panthers have the 13th pick in the first round, one slot ahead of the Bears.

McGlynn kept the workout figures he compiled at the combine and a previous pro day and did positional work.

*** An off the beaten path wide receiver the Bears have shown some interest in is Missouri-Rolla’s Ashton Gronewold. He was third in Division II last season with 2,250 all-purpose yards. The 5-10, 190-pounder worked out at Missouri’s pro day. He was invited to the Cactus Bowl. Gronewold ran the 40-yard dash in the low 4.5’s. He’d likely be a free agent.

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Looks more and more like Otah will be the tackle of the first group still left on the board at 14. The only problem is that he is mainly a right tackle prospect, and we would be better off taking the best skill position player available, or trading down. If we can't get a Left tackle in round 1, or Brendan Albert, we should look at our other options. And things are looking like none of the OL prospects outside of Cherilus and Baker will be there when we get on the clock.

Of course, a lot of this could be smokescreen and misdirection, the pastime of all NFL personnel men this time of year. Anything that you hear has to be considered carfully before believing it. Apparently, the Dolphins have started negotiations with Jake Long, which probably means they have made preliminary inquiries to see what type of contract Long's agent is looking for. They will do the same with the other guys at the top of their list. Parcells will not spend his first offseason in negotiations with his #1 pick. He will want him signed prior to drafting him. The other angle to that is if the contract is already set, then there is an established market price for the #1, and if teams are interested in Long, they know what it will cost them to sign him. I think Miami would be thrilled to get out of the #1 spot, but I think their first chance to move down is the 32nd pick. We could conceivably get it with the 44th and 90th picks, which would still give us a pick in the third round at 70th overall. If we get a player we want at 14, then 32 could be Flacco or another OL, or even a running back if anyone slips out of the first round.

If we land Otah, we are going to need to draft a player like Duane Brown, a left tackle prospect, in the 3rd or 4th round. Tait will have to play the left side in 2008, and we will have to develop the young lineman to replace him, which is something we have failed to do since Mark Bortz, Tom Thayer, Jay Hilgenberg, and Keith Van Horne retired. Any success we have had on the line was luck, or free agency since then. Harry Hiestand is getting a paycheck for something, but it sure hasn't been developing his younger players. Granted, we haven't given him much to work with in the last 4 years, but at some point these players we draft for the offense need to show something.

Angelo's biggest mistake as a GM was failing to add young Oline talent behind his group of veteran free agents. The problem hasn't been an inability to develop talent, but a glaring lack of talented prospects.

One thing to keep in mind is how the prospects fit the system. Turner appears to prefer a "power zone" scheme in the running game, utilizing full backs, down blocks and double teams while using primarily a pulling LG to lead backs. Therefore, they require players with the skill set to execute these techniques.

I think that all of these prospects will improve the performance of the Oline. However, Williams probably has the least applicable skills to adequately address the running game. If he was the only one available, I would still advise Angelo to take him over any other prospect.

I believe that Tait is the least bad player on the line, but the Bears need to address concerns about his age by selecting and developing a player in 2008. Garza could use some competition. Perhaps Beekman will transform into a legit option at center to push Kreutz.

By visiting Otah, the Bears may have legitimate interest in selecting him if available, but they may also be trying to interest other teams in a trade. "We'll take this guy, but would be willing to trade him to you for additional picks."

Good analysis. I think if Otah is there the Bears grab him. Even if he is a RT only!

However, it is very likely that Otah, Albert, Clady, and Long are all gone. Williams is a bad fit. Trading down may be hard, it's a good draft so why would another team trade up? If we are stuck at 14 and the OLTs are gone why not go after Limas Sweed WR, or Mendenhall RB?

The Bears can find a RT in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th rds. Baker, Nicks, Collins, Brown might be around in the 2nd rd.

Great comments - I learn more from you guy's than the damn papers.
I feel the Bears have to select an OL 1st no matter what as they have neglected OL for too long and the best OL will go in the first round - we sure don't want to depend on developing a 2nd - 3rd OL that needs 2-3 years. Otah would be great - I hope there isn't a run on OL before 14.

I am going to agree that this pick at 14, is looking more and more like a bait pick, in that which team will get antsy enough to trade up to get the player they want, and at the same time be willing to give up enough to an opportunistic G.M. like Angelo, to get the deal done. The mock drafts are starting to show Brendan Albert already gone, and I have yet to see the proof that Clady is worthy of a pick at 14, the real trump card for the Bears will be IF Mendenhall is there at 14, then they will have the reast of the League by the short hairs, because they can then either select him, or clean another teams clock, so they can move up and get him, so really will teams try to trade up ahead of the Bears in anticipation of this happening, or will they wait it out?! I don`t think any of the other teams will want to have the Bears holding them hostage for this pick, so they would be wise to move ahead of the Bears to get hime, because if they wait.....BAM!!! we`ll have the ultimate scenario. I can`t see the Bears picking a right tackle with this pick anyway, because you would be better suited to get your future left tackle now, and move Tait now, than putting it off for another season, and having to take the lumps when you are geared up for another run at the big game.

This is a great draft year. LOTS of good players. Whoever gets the most picks wins; but nobody wants to deal. Should be very exciting.

I believe that Jerry Angelo has positioned the Bears to be looking for O-tackel with that first pick, QB or WR with the second round pick. Just look at were he's got money budgeted to spend by position. He can't, and won't take an RB with the first two picks. He's got low payroll at O tackel, QB and WR. Remember when the Bears had a really good O-line. Anthony (not a special back) Thomas became offensive rookie of the year. That O-line only gave up 17 sacks all year. A great o-line can carry a team very far. It is money well spent. A great o-line could even, maybe, make Cedric (The Bust) Benson look good.

Windy City you have a interesting point but in order for the Bears running game to work the right side of the OL must be STRONG for it to work thats why I like Otah and Nicks. They are big strong and with a mean streak. The runner must be a cutback type runner. The present RG (Garza) has not been strong at point of attack and that makes Kreutz work harder and less effective. St. Clair could be a good stopgap at LG because he is atheletic and could do the pulling Brown used to do and give the draftees time to adapt to the speed of the NFL I would bring in either Dorsey or Steussie both have been serviceable left tackles in their careers and move Tait to right tackle replace Garza with a young big drive blocker. I can remember many games that Garza moved no-one on short yardage and a right guard that cannot happen. So Forte is also not the answer not a cutback type runner Kevin Jones formally of Detroit could be had for a song and draft another Jones for that breakaway threat. I know everyone is falling in love with Mendenhall and Forte he just isn't the one, and Mendenhall will not be on the board. I think my reasoning will fit the need and back to the playoffs immediately with potential starters in the wings.

I don't think Otah will be there, he has done the 2 things teams wanted to see him do. He lost weight and got faster. If he showed explosivness he will be gone. Otah is a future RT in the NFL and probably a good one. Williams on the other hand may be there, I am starting to like him more and more but at LG not LT. At least not his first year. If he could develop his strength and pop he could play LT in the future. He needs to get in shape, if he does he will be a legit LT in 2009. But seeing as he is the only true LT in this draft I doubt he falls to Bears. I could see 4 OT's going in the top 13 no problem. That would leave Albert for the bears. He could start at LG but he will not solve the Oline problems. Most people now agree the Bears will be rebuilding the offense for the next 5 years. I think Albert would be the safest pick for the Bears. Angelo has a real bad history when it comes to drafting OT's and his LT picks have been really bad in the first round, but he has a decent history with guards and centers. He has only drafted one pro bowl Olineman in his career, but he could have had 2. One was a center and one was a guard.

Djssr, Nicks will be gone in the second round in the top 10 picks. Everyone in this draft except maybe Dallas need Oline help, also all the teams above the Bears need oline help in a bad way, so if they don't go Oline in round 1, you can bet they will in round two.

I say Albert in round one if Otah is not there and if they don't trade down, and I will except the fact that Mendenhall will be awsome on another team and we will watch Benson suck. However if Stewart falls to the Bears in the second round I say grab him that would be a huge steal, and the Bears could then look at Brown in the third round. If Stewart is gone they should look at addressing RT in the second round. One thing could someone tell me how having Otah or Albert will stop teams from putting 8 in the box. Whoever we get at Oline is going to come under heavy fire next year. Teams will still pressure the Bears offense.

Next year they will have a better shot at a true LT prospect as next years draft features 2 maybe even three stud LT's. Andre Smith out of Bama, Mike Oher Old Miss, and Alex Boone Ohio State.

Next year is also supposed to be a good Oline class but has some actual elite players on the line.

Djssr one thing Steussie??? Todd Steussie?? Isn't he in his 14th season and a back up guard for the Rams now?? He was good in the 90's. Isn't Steussie going to retire or has he already?? I don't think there would be much help from Dorsey or Steussie at this point in there careers.

Also why a cutback runner when you have Nicks and Otah a pair of maulers on the right side and Olin in the middle. Wouldn't the bears be better served using a power run game which matches there system or are you in favor of the bears going from Coryell to WCO Walsh which they do a little of already. But in that case you would want a faster Oline that runs a zone blocking scheme on a fulltime basis, in which case Williams would be a better fit along with Albert. Although you can't have both those guys.

Interesting bit of news. Jake Long is in contract Talks with the Dolphins. If They take Long this will change the top of the first round big time. If they take him this may start a run on OT's in the first round. I think that would be the Dolphins best pick for this draft. That also means a OT goes sooner than expected thinning the class with the first pick. Eagles want Williams and are looking to trade up with the Bills and probably will, and Carolina and the Chiefs have both shown big interest in Otah and Clady. Raiders also Like Clady, and the Rams are in the Market for an OT as well, New England is also in the Market for Oline, and so is Baltimore with Ogden saying he is retiring, the Jets could also use help there. It will be interesting to see who falls to the Bears.

djssr I think you are right about the cut back runner, especially if the keep Benson. I love Albert, Otah and Nicks. I think Otah and Nicks would be a great combo and if the Bears get them in 1 & 2 I will be jumping and screaming till the neighbors call the police. One thing that jumps out about the Bears O-Line is there aren't enough "chippy" players. The guys who go with the idea that they are not only going to beat you down on the field, but they are going to find you in the parking lot after the game and beat you up some more.

All that being said, I think Albert and Otah will be gone at 14. I don't think the Bears want to give up on Benson with out one more year. I think QB is not in the plan at 14. They have too many needs and if Grossman or Orton work out what do you do with the QB you drafted 14. By default the Bears end up looking at WR, or DT. Dorsey and Ellis are gone by 14, so you go WR.

The Bears look for WR's with different characteristics, scat back, burner, big over the middle. What are the Bears lacking. Speed? No they have Hester and can draft a sub 4.4 guy in the 3rd rd. They go size, 4.5 speed or less, and big build. 3 guys fit Sweed, Hardy or Kelly. Kelly has dropped a lot, slow 40's, questions about knees, and bad mouthing coaches. Hardy is raw a little taller 6'5" vs 6'4" but there are some off field questions and 14 is a little high. Sweed is 6'4" 215 lbs ran 4.45 at his pro day and hails from Texas. Sweed is also known for having great hands.

If Otah or Albert are there I say grab them. If not and no trade it will be Sweed, but the problem is what if Henne, Flacco, Charles and Nicks are available in the 2nd rd.? We could be looking in the 3rd rd for O-line and a RB.

The Bears need O-Line, but so do a lot of teams. A guard can be found in the 3rd maybe a RT, but LT is 1st rd, or high 2nd rd.

Windy City: I agree about Otah and Albert probably being gone, but I don't see a first round WR in there plans. As for a guard in the 3rd round, I don't think this class is very good after Albert. Rachel is projected to go in round 2,

There is a Oline guy I like in third round and that is Pollak or even Justice, Olin is not getting any younger and either guy would be a great backup.

If the Bears dont go OT or have the guy they want at 14 the second round may see Brown go to the Broncos where he will fit in and Nicks to the Chiefs or Rams, which leaves Collins and Baker, Baker is a zone blocker and Collins seems to be a let down. I had the Bears taking Benedict in the draft in round 3 until he passed. I wonder if the Bears would move up in round two and grab Nicks. After round 2 the OT position becomes very thin. Bears better hope someone drops to them in rounds 1 or two if they want a good draft at Oline. They could always reach for Gosder or Nicks at 14.

Creighton I was just thinking they would go WR by default. If they can't trade down and nobody rated that high on O-Line at 14 is left.

Assuming no acceptable 1st tier O-line prospects are available, who do you see them picking? I'm going to jump out on a limb and say grab Nicks before Gosderius.

I like the centers also. Two other guys to keep in mind are Zuttah and Grecco.

Yeah but that leaves QB, and RB as well as WR. Personally I am not a Otah or Williams fan and would rather see other players taken myself. Sweed, Stewart, Mendenhall(will not be there) and others. I would actually like to see the Bears trade down and get another second round pick. But I doubt they could get anyone to offer them that. Maybe the Cowboys. Otah and Williams are both projects, both are natural LT's but niether is ready to start there this year. Williams cannot play RT and will probably sit and play LG, but he is not really good at that either. Otah is the bigger project but has the higher upside, he could also play OG or RT, however he is a natural LT and will probably never excell on the right side. He will sit his first year and probably play OG. Me I would like to see the Bears trade down and grab Gosder in the first round. He is the most naturla RT in the class and while I know we need a LT both LT prospects are projects that will not start there. Gosder on the other hand could start at RT on day one and excell. He is from a proven program and has played against better compitition than Otah or Williams. While he will never be a LT he will be a better RT than either of those two. Most fans think the Bears will be in the Super Bowl if they get a LT or that the offense can be fixed in one draft. Most experts say it will take 3 years or more for the Bears to get the offense back in order and that includes Biggs. To many people think we are in the same position as the Browns, but seem to forget that the Browns had 6 pro bowl players on there offense last year. That there oline has 4 pro bowl calibur studs playing on it not just Joe Thomas. That they brought in Jemal Lewis who gave them 1300 yards rushing, that they had a young QB who was awsome, and two Pro bowl WR, not to mention Winslow. The Bears have Olin who is in his 11th season(not the best part of any Olinemans career).

They could go WR or QB, OT, OG, RB, DT, or even Saftie in the first round. Anyway you look at it they will fill a need and this will not be done in one year. No chance.

I think something people need to realize about Otah and Williams is that every team above the Bears needs Oline help, that means whoever falls to the Bears and it Could be Williams, or Otah. Will be a player 13 other teams who needed Oline help passed on them, there are at least 25 teams in this draft who need oline help. If it was so easy to find teams wouldn't always be looking for it and so many teams would not need. Look at the Bears we have been looking for a LT for 15 years and counting. We haven't had a star running back since Anderson, we haven't had a true game breaking WR in my lifetime, we been looking for a TE since Ditka and may have found one last year(maybe), and we have not had a franchise QB since Sid Luckman. I mean the offense has been through a rather large drought. The only time we ever won a Super Bowl we had a great Oline a RB without peer and the best Defense that ever laced em up. We managed to get one Super Bowl out of that team, one. This team doesn't have a tenth the quality of players that team had. Most of our best players will not even be in there primes anymore, by the time there done with the offense. So take a guess as to what the defense will look like then.

Creighton, I've got a surprise for you! The Bears will have a choice among Albert, Otah, or Williams. If they are smart (who knows) they take Albert, long, strong runs well.
How did I get to this?
1. Miami Gholston DE/OLB Parcells loves these guys
2. Rams J. Long ORT/OLT
3. Falcons Dorsey DT (they look for Brohm, Henne, or Flacco at 2)
4. Raiders C. Long DE
5. Kansas City Clady OLT (OLT are hard to find QB later less $)
6. Jets McFadden RB
7. Patriots Harvey DE/OLB
8. Ravens McKelvin CB (CB big need, grab QB in 2nd)
9. Bengals Ellis DT
10. Saints Rivers OLB
11. Bills Rodgers-Cromartie CB (look for WR in 2nd)
12. Broncos Thomas WR (they never draft OL in 1st, grab in 2nd)
13. Panthers Ryan QB (Everyone is stunned he dropped, arm?)
14. BEARS! Albert, Otah, Williams !!!!

I say grab Albert, if you can't put him at OLT now put him next to Tait and have Beekman as the backup to Kreutz. Ctr. is more natural for Beekman.
I do like the trade down if there has been a run on O-Line and if no trade is available go best WR or RB.

Windy City guy, great mock draft I agree with you on your mock draft, also your mock draft makes the most sense for what each team needs. The only thing I disagree on is I think Beekman is a more natural guard than center. At Boston College Beekman only got three starts at center his senior year and was a guard for the rest of his senior season and sophmore and junior seasons, this and Beekman only being 6-2 make a lot of people think he is a more natural center than guard I disagree. For one I don't see the Bears giving up on Olin Kreutz for at least 3 or 4 more seasons. Beekman should get a starting nod at guard this season and I don't see Metcalf holding on to the job for long. I think Beekman can be a strong presence inside the Bears have been missing since a healthy Ruben Brown GO BEARS!!

Well I got some bad news for you Windy.

Miami is in contract talks with Jake Long.

The Eagles are in talks with the Bills, they want to move up and grab Williams.

KC likes Otah better than Clady because he fits there system better and they know how to develop Oline talent.

Albert will go in the top 10

The Ravens need a LT more than anything as Ogden has retired and they have nobody behind him.

But Albert may fall to the Bears. But thats a problem, he is a good Pass blocker but struggles with the run. He may project as a future LT but the Bears have not been able to develop oline talent sense Olin 11 years ago. The Bears offense ranked 15th in the pass and 30th against the run. They als need a OT to start right away. Gosder makes more sense. He is the best run blocker in the draft, can come in and play RT from day one, his only real knock is that he is not a real LT prospect but a pure RT. Otah, Williams and Albert are all projects at LT and will not start there this year, they may all start at LG though. We need a RT more than we need a LG. Tait is a natural RT playing the left side but last tyear was not really his fault, he did a decent job and if he is healthy he will be fine. He will be playing LT this year unless the Bears get Long somehow or Clady. You want to draft a OG to play LT a year from now. That doesn't make a lot of sense. The greatest need is the run game. A RT will help with that a lot more than a LG who is a major project at LT and will nto play there next year. I say Gosder is the better way to go. He isn't a flashy sissy LT who has no strength or a LG who cannot run block, no he is just a beast from one of the best Oline schools in the country who has played against better compitition than Albert, Otah or Williams and proven himself to a top notch RT instead of a project for the next 2 years on a team who does not know how to develop offensive talent. Yep draft any of those 3 guys I will enjoy watching them sit while Mendenhall tears up the league and Gosder mauls opposing ends. Maybe they can be on special teams. Yeah where special.

Creighton in the Bears scheme of things the runner with cutback ability lessens the load on the blockers and have shown to have success doing just that. Jones had cutback ability and his best runs were cutbacks. The Bears main blocking schemes are alot of stretch plays and those are better served by a cutback runner the power in the running game is not the blockers it the runners breaking tackles and using blocks we have not blown anyone of the ball regularly in years that answer your question Creighton? Think about it for a minute. Those compensary picks late here are some small school diamonds in the rough: Micah Rucker [WR] EIU 6'6" 217 lbs runs a 4.47 40, Brandon Keith [T] No. Iowa 6'5" 345 lbs and Thaddeus Coleman,[LT] Miss. Val. St. 6'8" 308 lbs. All these can be developmental picks and could get lucky on one.

Creighton, a couple things. I am projecting a mock without trades because it's hard to figure if they will happen or not.

I'm well aware that Miami is in talks with J. Long. Were you aware that Gholsten's agent is scheduled to meet with them next week? It's not uncommon for the team with the top pick to talk with a couple agents. I'm sure they are exploring trades as well.

KC grabbing Otah instead of Clady is a possibility. The Ravens have 3 OT's on the roster that are young in Yanda, Gaither, or Terry so it's more likely they believe they have devloped them enough to give them a shot. They will probably look for O-Line in the 3rd or 4th rds.

So other than KC taking Otah rather than Clady who takes Albert in the top 10?

I would take Albert over Cherilus any day. If Albert is gone and there is no way to trade down reaching for Cherilus is not the end of the world. Albert playing next to Tait for a year is not the end of the world. If the Bears go for the safer pick of Cherilus they may have a RT, but there is no way of knowing if they can get a OLT the next year. Albert has risen so much because scouts are convinced he can play OLT.

All this is mute if Clady drops to the Bears. They grab him without even blinking. Williams is the onlt OLT I don't want to see them take. He has short arms and is not strong. Baker who also has short arms lifted well at the combine 31 reps vs. 21 reps.

Windy yeah I heard about Vernon's agent but Miami reported it as untrue and said they where not in talks with him. They did confirm Long though.

I am not a big Albert fan at LT, he says he can play it. A LG at 14 is just to high. There is no proof he can play LT other than he is athletic. I am not a Williams fan either, he played at Vandy, him and Major Applewhite big deal. Otah is still a project and I don't think the bears could develop him. Clady reminds me of Samuals, big and dumb but can play.

The latest rumor has Albert going to the Pats, also Carolina and KC really likes him too.

DJ, yeah I know they haven't blown anyone off the line in years, I wonder why that could be.

DJ the things you point out about a cutback runner and the Bears offense are true. But that is also part of the problem, there offense isn't suppose to use a cutback runner but sense the Bears can't open any holes a cutback guy works better than a north south guy. Which really tells you how bad the offense is. The Bears lack the offensive talent to run there system. All I really know about the system is this, I have seen it work and I have seen the teams that have made it work. Dallas, San Diego, St. Louis, Raiders(old school raiders). Those teams had a lot of talent on them, and I mean a lot of talent. All had great Olines all had great RB's, all had great QB's and WR. We have 11th year vet at center Olin. I can't even think about it anymore.

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