Bears Warned Against Drafting ‘Stud’ Offensive Tackle in 1st Round

JC Latham, Alabama

Getty Offensive tackle JC Latham of Alabama.

The Chicago Bears have a multitude of options with the 9th pick in the NFL draft, but there are a couple of prospects from whom they may want to steer away.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report suggested on Friday, April 20, that Alabama offensive lineman JC Latham is among the group of players that don’t fit with Chicago’s build as well as other first-rounders might.

The Bears could use another tackle to pair with Darnell Wright, giving them two first-round pass-protectors to keep Williams clean. However, pairing JC Latham with Wright could spell problems for the Bears.

Wright is a physical tackle, but he struggled as a pass-blocker as a rookie. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had only four blown run blocks, but he had 31 blown pass blocks, eight sacks allowed and six holding penalties.

Latham is a similarly built prospect with a kindred skill set. He’s a bulldozer of a run-blocker, but he has some deficiencies in his pass protection. … Latham also spent his collegiate career at right tackle, so either he or Wright would have to flip to the left side. That would make this pairing an even more questionable fit.

JC Latham May Be too Similar to Darnell Wright to Make Sense for Bears

JC Latham, Alabama

GettyOffensive tackle JC Latham of Alabama.

Latham probably wouldn’t be Chicago’s outright pick at No. 9, as most reliable mock drafts have him coming off the board somewhere in the low double-digits. However, he makes more sense in the range of picks where the Bears might land should they decide to move back and amass some extra Day-2 draft capital via a trade.

NFL Network’s Peter Schrager predicted in a mock draft on April 16 that Chicago will trade back with the Indianapolis Colts, sending them the 9th selection in exchange for the 15th pick and a second-rounder.

“After piling up more draft capital by trading back, the Bears still land a stud offensive tackle,” Schrager said. “Latham could be the second OT taken on draft night — some teams like him that much. If the board falls this way, Chicago adds a big, pedigreed bookend who can join last year’s first-round tackle, Darnell Wright, in protecting the new franchise quarterback Caleb Williams.”

Bears Should Have Several Quality Options With 9th Pick, Including Edge Jared Verse

Dolphins draft predictions target Jared Verse and Laiatu Latu in round one.

GettyFlorida State edge rusher Jared Verse.

The 2024 class is chock full of quality prospects at offensive tackle, which should allow the Bears several other options aside from Latham if they decide to move down and draft offensive line with their second overall selection.

Chicago could also decide to address the edge rusher position opposite defensive end Montez Sweat in a trade down. Jared Verse of Florida State should still be available in the mid-teens, at least based on Schrager’s version of events.

Wide receiver is also a viable path the Bears could tread. A significant portion of the trade value the No. 9 pick holds prior to the start of the draft proceedings on Thursday, April 25, is the relatively high chance that one of the top three wideouts will still be on the board at that point.

Chicago could draft that player, be it Rome Odunze of Washington or Malik Nabers of LSU. Or the Bears could move back and pursue receiver Brian Thomas Jr., Nabers’ SEC teammate, who Schrager predicts will come off the board at No. 20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Considering all the options Chicago has alongside the three premium positions it can/should address, the Bears don’t have to pigeonhole themselves, which will make the draft all the more interesting for fans in the Windy City.

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