Chicago Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice was among the coaches and scouts in attendance Tuesday at the University of Florida Pro Day in Gainesville, Fla. It's important to note Tice's movements during the pre-draft process because the Bears are expected to address the offensive line in the early portions of the draft, perhaps even in the first round at No. 29.
Tice's primary focus Tuesday was likely Florida offensive guard/center Mike Pouncey, the twin brother of Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowler and former first-round pick Maurkice Pouncey. Mike Pouncey could fill a variety of needs for the Bears, in the short term at guard, and in the long term at center assuming Olin Kreutz re-signs with the club once free agency begins.
Pouncey is regarded as the No. 1 center prospect in the 2011 NFL draft.
Other Florida offensive line prospects for Tice to check out include tackle Marcus Gilbert and guard/tackle Carl Johnson. Gilbert, who began his collegiate career at guard, is projected by many to be a mid-round pick, and while many draft observers feel his position in the NFL will be right tackle. Johnson also is a versatile lineman -- he played guard and tackle at UF -- and is considered a late round or priority undrafted free agent type.
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has a track record of selecting players from the University of Florida. Since assuming control of the Bears draft in the spring of 2002, Angelo has taken six Gators, but only one in the past seven years. The list includes Alex Brown (fourth round, 2002), Rex Grossman (first round, 2003), Todd Johnson (fourth round, 2003), Ian Scott (fourth round, 2003), Tron LaFavor (fifth round, 2003), Major Wright (third round, 2010).