With the recent additions of offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett the Chicago Bears front office can begin to narrow their focus on the NFL Draft. Both players shored up big positions of need by giving Jay Cutler a solid target to throw to down the middle of the field in Bennett. Bushrod meanwhile is a two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle looking for a fresh start in Chicago. Bushrod’s arrival forces incumbent LT J’Marcus Webb over to RT where, if Webb plays at the level he did in 2012 will give the Bears stability on the edges.
If the Bears are stable on the edges, then the focus shifts to shoring up the interior of the offensive line.
During the 2012 season the Bears started four players at left guard for a variety of reasons. The season started with Chris Spencer who in turn was benched, then shifted to Chilo Rachal he too wound up benched then back to Spencer. After Spencer was injured he returned back to right guard in place of the injured Lance Louis. From there Edwin Williams started, only to be benched in favor of rookie undrafted free agent James Brown.
The musical chairs at the left guard position left little to no help that any of the players could be a competent starter for the 2013 season. Simply put the Bears need a major upgrade at the position with a player who can come in and play right away, but could also be a long term starter.
The player the Bears could turn to could come in the form of a 2013 NFL draft selection, and there just so happens to be three players who could be drafted in the first round that would be plug and play starters. Today we’ll take a look at the first and what some draftniks are calling perhaps the best player in the 2013 NFL draft, Alabama’s Chance Warmack. Warmack has been called the best prospect in the NFL draft by Mike Mayock. That’s extremely high praise for an NFL offensive guard prospect, in fact it’s rarified air. I can’t remember the last time I heard an offensive guard prospect being called the best player in the draft. Although the drumbeat of players considered once in a decade prospects has been increasing over the last few seasons.
Chance Warmack LG Alabama
Arms: 33 ¾ inches
Hands: 9 5/8 inches
40-yard dash: 5.49 secs (tied for third slowest in the combine)
Bench Press: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: 9’2”
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Warmack is a very thick and powerful left guard prospect who is the epitome of every earth moving piece of construction metaphor/cliché ever uttered by a scout or draftnik. In the last five years there probably hasn’t been a stronger and more effective power blocker in the NFL draft. Warmack can jolt a defender in pass protection, he’s very heavy handed. As a run blocker usually wins the battle of leverage and can drive a defender out of the hole. He doesn’t lose a lot of one on one battles.
In terms of how he fits in with new coach Aaron Kromer’s rushing scheme he is close to being ideal. Kromer’s scheme is a mix of inside zone blocking with some outside power. He typically doesn’t include a lot of outside zone, as he prefers to run it between the tackles. This is the type offense he ran with the Saints, and I fully expect he’ll do the same here as the running game/offensive coordinator. What Kromer ran with the Saints, the Crimson Tide run in Alabama, just without asking their guards to do as much pulling or outside zone.
Warmack can dominate in stretches, his power is evident from the snap of the football until the end of the whistle. He has a nasty attitude and seeks out contact, which is precisely what you want to see from your offensive linemen. He is the essence of a phone booth guard who could dominate in the NFL between the trenches. If you pop in the Georgia tape you can see the battles he had with John Jenkins the 343-pound nose tackle from the Bulldogs. Those battles were an example of an epic college football one on one matchup.
While Chance Warmack is every bit the mauler and powerful short yardage grinder, his athletic ability is a complete 180-degree difference. What is seen on tape from Warmack is he lacks any real burst, explosion or ability to get out as a pulling guard to hit a moving target. Warmack is extremely one dimensional as a player. He doesn’t show any real ability to pull and when he’s asked to scrape off and get to the second level he doesn’t do it all that well.
Often times at the second level he’s out of position or he’s missing the target completely. He gets his nose out in front of his toes and will lunge and lose his balance causing him to fall forward. If a defender crosses his face and attacks the opposite gap he struggles to react and cut quicker players off.
He could really struggle against NFL level speed and explosion at the under-tackle position. It’s not that Warmack isn’t a bad athlete, he’s just fast, athletic or as balanced as other guards in the NFL. His 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine I feel really highlights the type of player he truly is.
While Warmack is a very powerful player, I honestly don’t see what makes him the most complete player in the NFL draft. There simply isn’t the ideal package that makes him worthy of a top-10 pick. Elite prospects have the total package and don’t lack the athleticism and possess the inability to operate in space that hampers Warmack.