NFL Draft 2011: Chicago Bears Should Focus on the Offensive Line in Round One

Zack Pearson@Zack_PearsonCorrespondent IApril 8, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Center Olin Kreutz #57 of the Chicago Bears prepares to snap the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears are coming off a nice season that ended in heartbreak. They lost the NFC Championship at home to their rival Green Bay Packers.

Still, the Bears finished better than what many people predicted, which was them finishing dead last in the NFC North. Winning the NFC North was an achievement the Bears wanted, but making it to the Super Bowl was the bigger goal.

The Bears had their ups and downs last season. They started off with an impressive 3-0 record that included a huge win at home against the Packers on Monday Night Football. Things got a bit slick though for the Bears after that. They lost three of their next four games and many fans were doubting not only the Bears chances, but their quarterback Jay Cutler as well.

All season long Cutler received criticism about his play. Hearing things like "He's not tough," "He's not a good quarterback," and other dumb ramblings from idiotic fans who were put into their place after Cutler led the Bears to the NFC Championship Game.

A big question heading into last season was the Bears wide receiving core. Were they good enough targets for the gun slinging Jay Cutler to find? Could they run the correct routes? Were they threats to opposing offenses?

Although the Bears receivers aren't superstars, they got the job done. The combination of Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, and even Greg Olsen were good enough to lead a solid offensive attack for the Bears.

That brings me to my point of the offensive line.

Last season, the Bears offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL. Giving up a league high 58 sacks just wasn't cutting it for the team. Several moves were made on the line, and the Bears seemed to have a good solution for the playoffs.

Until they met the Packers who tore Jay Cutler up.

The Bears need to focus on building up their offensive line for the future, and that starts with round one of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Youth is a big part on the offensive line. If you can find a solid guard or tackle that plays well as a rookie, you're in good shape. That's exactly what the Bears need.

Forget about trying to find a big threat wide receiver. You need to protect your franchise quarterback, who is good enough to make receivers better.

This years draft class could bring a nice talent onto the offensive line for the Chicago Bears. The line is ultimately their biggest weakness.

The Bears have the 29th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, meaning a top three or five lineman might not be available to them. The top linemen include Anthony Costanzo, Nathan Solder and Stefan Wisniewski.

Other offensive lineman available to the Bears might include Florida center/guard Mike Pouncey, who the Bears have scouted already. Pounceys teammate in Florida, Marcus Gilbert, also should be available.

Miami guard Orlando Franklin could be the best fit for the Bears. A big, physical player that run blocks well and is solid in pass protection. If he's there with the 29th pick, the Bears could end up having a steal.

While many believe the Bears should focus on wide receivers, I believe the answer to all their problems is on the offensive line. With a young Chris Williams, who started to play like the first-round pick he was, adding another young stud could be great for the Chicago Bears.