Need No. 10--Guard
Players on roster
RG Roberto Garza (signed through 2011)
LG Frank Omiyale (2012)
G/C Josh Beekman (2010)
G Dan Buenning (2009)
G Tyler Reed (2010)
One of the goals the Bears set out to fill this offseason was to add some more size to the interior of the line. That was accomplished by a series of moves, the first of which was signing Omiyale to a $11.5 million, four-year contract on the first day of free agency. Omiyale spent all of one day at guard in minicamp before being moved outside when the coaching staff appeared to be frustrated with the makeup of the roster. Maybe that's what happens from time to time when you run a minicamp in mid-March. At any rate, Omiyale can move back inside now that Orlando Pace has been signed to play left tackle and Kevin Shaffer has traded places with John St. Clair.
That will likely lead to Beekman becoming the understudy to Olin Kreutz at center. Garza, who has made 48 consecutive starts at right guard, is expected to remain in his position although offensive coordinator Ron Turner said in minicamp that Buenning, who is entering the final year of his contract, would be in position to push him. Getting a younger player to develop isn't a bad idea but Omiyale is young and comes with low mileage and there is a much greater need at offensive tackle where Pace is viewed as a one- or two-year solution. Reed has spent most of the last three seasons on the practice squad.
Who the Bears have been looking at
The Bears brought in Eastern Michigan's T.J. Lang for a pre-draft visit and he was a left tackle in school that projects as a right tackle or guard. He's been gaining traction on draft boards all spring and could easily be selected in the third round meaning he might not be a candidate for the Bears. The team has shown interest in Missouri Western's Roger Allen, a powerful Division II prospect who will likely be selected in the final three rounds. Most of the candidates the team has looked at are possible late-round picks or undrafted free agents--San Diego State's Lance Louis, Oregon's Mark Lewis, Hampton's Dennis Conley, Penn State's Rich Ohrnberger and Montana State's Louis Saucedo.
Coming this afternoon: Outside linebacker.