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Need No. 3--Offensive tackle

Players on roster

LT Orlando Pace (signed through 2011)
RT Chris Williams (2012)
OT Kevin Shaffer (2011)
OT Cody Balogh (2010)


The order we have been using for the Bears' needs comes from the file we produced for the Sporting News. That order was changed after the Jay Cutler trade and signing of Orlando Pace, and while we updated the list for the magazine, we were going off the old one. We wrote Wednesday that free safeties were next, and that's changed. So, you can easily determine that free safety and wide receiver are the two positions remaining. We apologizing for any confusion. On with the breakdown and explanation of need. General manager Jerry Angelo said on Tuesday that drafting a lineman, not just a tackle, would put the Bears in the unfamiliar position of having to carry nine linemen on the 53-man roster. The team already has eight veterans in place--Pace, Williams, Shaffer, Frank Omiyale, Olin Kreutz, Roberto Garza, Josh Beekman and Dan Buenning. A team can carry a ninth lineman but that spot would have to come from somewhere else--a third quarterback or a fifth running back (tailbacks and fullbacks combined) would have to be sacrificed, as an example.

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.

On the day the Bears solidified their starting offensive line--at least for 2009--by signing seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace, they looked under the hood on a draft prospect.

Eastern Michigan offensive lineman T.J. Lang made his official visit to Halas Hall on Thursday.

He's fast climbing draft boards and it will be interesting to see how general manager Jerry Angelo addresses the need to find a young offensive tackle. He doesn't own a first-round pick this year after the Jay Cutler trade but it's not like he can wait to grab one in the first round next year. The Bears had to deal away their first-round selection in 2010.

While the Bears have brought in some big-name players they were considering in the first round on pre-draft visits in the past, most of the players they bring to Halas Hall are either late-round prospects or players that are being considered as undrafted priority free agents.

The team usually doesn't have medical information on those players because they did not get invited to the combine. So, a pre-draft visit allows them to put the player through a full battery of medical tests to ensure any investment is worthwhile.

One player scheduled for a visit next week is Eastern Michigan offensive tackle T.J. Lang, and he's not going to last into the late rounds. Lang is a hot climber in the draft right now and his visit to the Bears is one of just seven he currently has scheduled.


We've tracked down the names of a couple players the Bears will bring to Halas Hall on official pre-draft visits so far--Eastern Michigan offensive tackle T.J. Lang and Penn State guard Rich Ohrnberger.'s Adam Caplan first reported the Ohrnberger visit. The Bears are scheduled to put Ohio University safety Michael Mitchell through a private workout later this month.

Now a bigger name.

Tennessee found a pretty promising defensive end in the second round last year when the Titans drafted Jason Jones.

Now, there's another player coming out of the MAC school that the Bears are keeping a close eye on.

The team is expected to bring in offensive tackle T.J. Lang for a visit some time after his pro day later this month, according to a report.

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