While Roberto Garza continues to get the job done in workman-like fashion at right guard, left guard ended up being a major concern for the Monsters of the Midway most of 2009.
Credit Garza for being a solid starter from the moment he arrived from Atlanta in 2005, eventually taking over for the failed Terrence Metcalf and starting every game the last four seasons, but right guard is the least taxing of the five spots along the Bears' front wall. Left guard is more crucial to the overall success of the offense, as that position does more pulling on running plays and also helps protect the quarterback's blind side on passing plays. Since Frank Omiyale is yet to earn much of the $14 million he got in free agency, plus former starter Josh Beekman seemingly a bad fit because he's a bit undersized, taking a long look at Vladimir Ducasse of Massachusetts – should he still be on the board at No. 75 overall in Round 3 – makes sense.
For an insider's perspective on the 6-5, 330-pound Ducasse and what he brings to the table as a pro prospect, BearReport.com consulted with Chris Steuber, the NFL Draft analyst for Scout.com. ...
Strengths: Ducasse is a massive interior presence that possesses the attributes you want out of a lineman. He's quick off the snap, has great strength and is able to maul the opposition on the line. He's surprisingly athletic and has long arms that help him in pass protection. He initiates the contact and gets a great push in running situations. He's agile in space and can get to the second level. He has a mean streak and a positive work ethic. He's durable and has a lot of experience.
Weaknesses: He's still raw and has to work on his overall technique and footwork. He dominated lesser-quality competition, and the transition to the next level could result into a position change to the inside.
Steuber Says: Ducasse was a late bloomer and didn't start playing football until he was in high school. He's come a long way and has worked on his craft since he arrived at UMass. A three-year starter who's blessed with unbelievable size and potential, Ducasse started the year as an unknown but will ultimately be selected in the second or third round.
JC's Take: Even though Ducasse is a five-star prospect and currently the No. 2 guard available in the 2010 NFL Draft according to Scout.com, he could be an option for the Bears since that position isn't a priority for most teams entering selection weekend.
The only problem with adding Ducasse in Round 3 is the fact that he comes from a smaller school and hasn't faced a lot of top-tier competition, so it's fair to assume he might be a little raw and not be ready to step in and start on Day 1. That will be a tough sell for Bears fans since this team needs immediate contributors on both sides of the ball, even if a quality offensive line prospect would be a welcome addition. True, Omiyale did play better down the stretch following a midseason benching, but it remains to be seen if the light has truly come on and he's ready to grow into the dominating guard general manager Jerry Angelo envisioned last February.
However, if Ducasse has a great week of practice down at the Senior Bowl and shows he can hold his own against the top players in the country, he may be hard for Angelo to overlook at No. 75 overall.
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