Draft Dose: Who needs an offensive tackle?

Posted April 04, 2011 @ 11:55 a.m.
Posted By Alex Mayster

Outside of quarterback, offensive tackle is widely considered one of the most important positions for a football team. Great teams protect their quarterback as well as open up holes for their backs to run behind. An elite offensive tackle can do both, which will often allow teams to take a step forward in their quest for a Super Bowl. In the 23rd installment of the Draft Dose series, PFW looks at five teams who might select an offensive tackle (listed in alphabetical order):

Bears

The Bears have had problems on the offensive line since drafting OT Chris Williams with the 14th pick in the 2008 NFL draft. Williams, who was hampered by back injuries early in his career, started the '10 campaign as the team's left tackle, but lasted just two games at the position. With Williams moving to guard, OT Frank Omiyale switched from the right side to the left, and J'Marcus Webb filled Omiyale's former spot. While that unheralded OT duo did help Chicago reach the NFC championship game, the Bears also surrendered a league-high 56 sacks last season. There is a chance that a quality tackle could fall to the Bears, who hold the 29th selection in the draft.

Bills

Playing in a division that features a couple of the league's premier OTs (Jake Long, D'Brickashaw Ferguson), the Bills are lacking an elite player at that position. In his first season as a full-time starter, Demetrius Bell started every game on the left side and Mansfield Wrotto — who played for head coach Chan Gailey at Georgia Tech — ended the season as the starting right tackle. The Bills are unlikely to add a tackle with the third pick in the draft, but could consider trading down or adding one or two tackles in the ensuing rounds.

Colts

The Colts haven't drafted an offensive lineman in the first round since Tarik Glenn in 1997 and have been without a top-tier offensive tackle since Glenn's retirement following the 2006 Super Bowl season. Charlie Johnson has been playing out of position on the left side and ORT Ryan Diem, who has been stellar throughout his career, seemed to take a step back last season. This could be the year that vice chairman Bill Polian, who is still the team's main decision maker, finally takes a tackle with a first-round pick. He is well known for taking the best player available, which could be a tackle at the No. 22 spot.

Cowboys

While the Cowboys appear to be set at left tackle with Doug Free, they could look to upgrade on the right side. Marc Colombo has been injury-prone and, at the age of 32, is beginning to break down. Dallas could go a lot of different ways with the ninth overall pick and history says owner Jerry Jones might use the pick on a flashier player. The team could look to trade down, where they likely would have their choice of many of the top OT prospects.

Seahawks

While the Seahawks like what they have seen from last year's sixth overall pick OLT Russell Okung, Seattle could still look to add to the offensive line. Okung played well when healthy last season, but made just 10 starts because of a pair of ankle injuries. Sean Locklear, who played right tackle for the majority of the season, was inconsistent at times and is set to become a free agent. The Seahawks could look to add another young tackle to play opposite Okung for years to come, and with the 25th pick in the draft, there's a good chance they could grab one of the draft's top five tackles.