Thursday, February 24, 2011
Combine'11: OL possibilities for Bears
By Kevin Seifert
INDIANAPOLIS -- Offensive linemen were among the position players who had media access Thursday at the NFL scouting combine, and it just so happens that the Chicago Bears could use every one of them. Well, most of them. Or some. More than one, for sure.
I can tell you one thing: Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi is the most confident offensive lineman in this draft. Here's a taste of what Carimi had to say:
"I know I can't mess up. I know I really don't have any problems. I know I'm going to go out there and perform. I know I'm the best tackle out there. So I'm just going to play like it and act like it."
My ESPNChicago.com colleagues Jeff Dickerson and Michael C. Wright have been covering the draft's top offensive linemen all day. You can watch them in the video below, or check out these excerpts:
On Villanova tackle/guard Ben Ijalana: An offensive tackle in college, Ijalana is listed as a guard in several draft publications. He started all 53 games during his Villanova career, despite suffering a sports hernia injury late in the 2010 regular season that required surgery and caused Ijalana to skip the Senior Bowl. "I had surgery on Dec. 28 so I haven't spoken to any teams yet. I've had MRIs, health exams, you guys [the media] are the first people I'm speaking with today. Because we have a playoff system (Villanova is an FCS school), there were three weeks after the regular season where I couldn't get the surgery. It was a good time, it was over Christmas break, so I just spent a lot of time healing in a basement in New Jersey. So the Senior Bowl, it's a great honor, but it was an option because we had to get after it [the surgery]."
On Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo: In a perfect world, Lake Zurich High School product and Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo would fall to the Bears at No. 29. "I said I'm going to be a Bears fan to the day I get drafted, and then become a fan of whoever drafts me," Castonzo laughed on Thursday at the NFL Combine.
On Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod: A few inches shorter (6-foot-5) than fellow tackle prospects Gabe Carimi, Anthony Castonzo and Nate Solder, Martin feels the size differential can actually be a positive in the NFL. "I feel like it does help me out," Sherrod said. "Even though I'm tall, I have a long wingspan and feel like because I'm a little bit shorter, I can get underneath defenders better."