4 Players the Chicago Bears Could Take in the First Round of the 2013 NFL Draft
Forget the old adage of "taking the best player on the board"—the Bears need offensive line help, and they need it fast.
Every time Jay Cutler eats grass, he can thank the Bears' front office for putting an inadequate front line of protection on the field—which has been the case ever since he came to the Windy City.
Adding a pass-catching tight end and a heir apparent at linebacker would be nice, but there's no doubt that improving the unit in front of Cutler and Matt Forte will be Chicago's top priority.
Here are four potential first-round selections for the Bears in April.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Bears have had problems with their offensive tackles all season long, and nothing was more troublesome than allowing 5.5 sacks to 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith on Monday Night Football.
It was the most sacks by any Bears opponent in franchise history and led to the eventual benching of 2011 first-round pick Gabe Carimi.
He can't do anything to help this season, but if the Bears take Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher, help will soon be on the way.
Fisher stands at an imposing 6'5", 305 pounds, and he possesses the strength and foot speed to keep defensive ends out of the backfield. Playing in the MAC, there is concern whether Fisher has proven he can contain elite pass-rushers, but his sizable frame would be a delight for any quarterback to have on his blindside.
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Another possible option for the Bears, who will be sitting toward the back end of the first round, is North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper.
The Bears would prefer to look for a tackle, but if Cooper falls to them, he would be hard to pass up.
A four-year starter at UNC, Cooper stands at 6'3", 310 pounds, with agile feet and the ability to explode off the ball. Cooper recently won the ACC's Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the conference's top offensive lineman.
With the unsure future of Lance Louis (expiring contract) and the Bears' mediocre running game this season (17th in the NFL in yards per carry), Cooper would be a great pickup.
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, if Jake is anything like his dad, he will have one heck of a professional career.
While many have proclaimed his teammate, Luke Joeckel, as the best offensive lineman in college football, Matthews is having himself a fantastic season as well.
The junior tackle stands at 6'5", 305 pounds, and he is a big reason why the Aggies rank in the top 15 in the NCAA in rushing yards this season. Even more so, however, does he deserve credit for the success of quarterback sensation Johnny Manziel.
Playing in the SEC, Matthews has gone up against some of the best defensive lines in the nation, and he has proven to be worthy of the hype.
Matthews will likely go off the board in the middle of the first round, but with the Bears' dire need for an offensive tackle, trading up to get this guy would be a smart move.
Khaled Holmes, C/OG, USC
There are many teams in need of blockers who can contain the Clay Matthewses and DeMarcus Wares of the league, so elite offensive tackles might be hard to come by late in the first round.
If that is the case, the Bears might want to take a look at USC center Khaled Holmes, who many have rated as the best center in college football.
At 6'3", 305 pounds, Holmes is a smart, athletic guy with the ability to play at the highest level. In addition, coming from a pro-style offense at USC will make for an easy transition to the NFL.
Holmes has experience at the guard position and would be a great addition at any of the three inside positions on the line.
Playing in his 12th season in the league, time is running short on Roberto Garza at center. If offensive tackles fly off the board early, and the Bears are unwilling to trade up, Holmes might be their guy.