The Chicago Bears will enter this 2013 off-season with their own set of needs, but there's one specific need that trumps them all: The Offensive Line.
This issue actually became evident last season for the Chicago Bears, but little was done to repair it. Now, another year in the books, another season where Jay Cutler had to suffer from an inadequate line.
Jay Cutler is rounding the hill at 30 and is up for an extension. If the Chicago Bears do not fix this problem NOW, they are going to wind up ruining a solid investment and missing their chance at a postseason berth for another year.
The problem is at Tackle.
J'Marcus Webb is a blown experiment and Gabe Carimi isn't what many though he was—better at Guard, but still a lost cause.
The benefit of the 2013 NFL Draft, though, is the solid collection of Offensive Tackles. Headlining the bunch is of course Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel. I have him going 11th to San Diego in my latest draft piece: Mel Kiper 2013 Mock Draft, Rays Tannock’s Take.
This scenario could default the next best available talent in Eric Fisher of Central Michigan to fall into the Bears' lap.
The 6' 7", 305 pound Fisher is believed to be the total package. He's more than just a sizable presence on the line, he's the type of player who can dominate the line of scrimmage as a run blocker, while genuinely serving as an elite pass-protector.
Fisher is also said to play with a very intense motor; something the Bears lack on the O-Line.
One of the potential aspects I like here is the opportunity Fisher provides the Chicago Bears to go BACK to off-tackle running with Matt Forte. While Forte is a great all-around back, swinging him to the outside makes him even more deadly than sending him up the middle. With Fisher in town, the Bears could entertain re-adding this aspect to their offense in 2013.
Some folks will sort of chagrin at Fisher's height, complaining that it may work against Cutler, but I'm not seeing it.
The next available draft prospect by current ranking would be Oklahoma's Lane Johnson if Fisher isn't available. Like Fisher, Johnson is a sizable tackle at 6' 6", 305, but is viewed more as a slight work in progress than a natural ready-to-go prospect like Fisher.
For Bears fans, I hope they get a shot at Fisher. I like his upside and skill-sets, and I believe he may be the answer they've been looking for.
Stay tuned for the final coverage of the NFC North as I finish with the Detroit Lions tomorrow. For the rest of the division, simply see below.