The general consensus about offensive tackles in the 2011 draft class is that there may not be a high-end talent in the group but there's enough depth to ensure that the Bears should get a potential long-term anchor at No. 29.
Just don't tell that to Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi. The 6-foot-7, 314-pounder is convinced he's ready to make an impact.
"I know I can play right away," Carimi said at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday. "That's my best asset. I'm a draft-ready tackle.''
What makes him so confident?
"Because of the players I've gone against four potential first-round players this year," he said. "I have a better resume of going against better talent than anyone else, so that makes me more (pro) ready.
"I'm physically stronger and have more career starts and better knowledge of the game than any other tackle out there.
"That's why I'm the No. 1 tackle out there.''
The four potential first-round pass rushers Carimi went up against this season are Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn, Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, Ohio State's Cameron Heyward and Wisconsin's J.J Watt.
Other tackles that could be possibilities for the Bears include Boston College's Anthony Castonzo, USC's Tyron Smith, Colorado's Nate Solder and TCU's Marcus Cannon and Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod.
"It's a good offensive line year," Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said. "Certainly, the tackle class looks really strong. They weighed in today. A lot of guys looked really in great shape. You could tell they were taking it seriously. They were getting themselves in a good spot. It's a really talented offensive line [class], especially at the offensive tackle spot. There will be a lot of guys selected in the first couple days, and deservedly so. The tape is as good as they look physically. Obviously, that's encouraging for every club because we want to keep quarterbacks healthy."
Castonzo, who hails from Lake Zurich and grew up a Bears fan, is rated No. 1 overall by one draft publication.
"I said I was going to be a Bears fan until the day I get drafted," he said. "Then I'm a fan of whoever drafts me. They (Chicago) talked to me (at Senior Bowl). A bunch of teams talked to me. I've had contact with a lot of teams."