Chicago Bears mock draft: Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota State
While I expect Poles to go after veteran help along the offensive line (he’ll re-sign James Daniels and find a veteran starter in free agency), he’ll likely try to add some depth through the draft.
Previous general manager Ryan Pace took his chances with small school players. He hit on some, but he relied too much on finding the diamond in the rough. He sometimes spent high draft capital trying to find them when he could have waited and still gotten them later.
Matt Waletzko is a good low-risk, high-reward player. He comes from North Dakota State. It’s a small school but has produced some good talent.
Waletzko is 6-foot-7 and weighs 310 pounds. He is pretty agile for his weight. He has fluid body control and loose hips. That allows him to move smoothly and quickly, especially off the snap.
In the running game, Waletzko is able to get in front of the ball carrier and obliterate defensive backs and linebackers on the second level. He keeps a square base to stay in front of rushers. He also has some of the nastiness that Poles wants. He is a finisher and will try to bury you.
Waletzko sometimes plays too high. That affects his power and ability to set his base. Additionally, stronger pass rushers can get under his pads and move him aside.
You don’t always have to draft starters to be successful. If you can find a reliable backup who does his job and is effective when he plays, that is good as well. Waletzko won’t be flashy or dominant, but he’ll be a dependable player who can help the starters stay fresh. He’d be a good pick late in the draft for the Chicago Bears.