The Bears beefed up their roster, figuratively and literally, in the seventh round of last Saturday's draft when they selected a pair of 300-pound offensive linemen with back-to-back picks.
Colorado's Arlington Hambright (6-4, 300) and Tennessee State's Lachavious Simmons (6-5, 315) both are intriguing prospects with impressive traits.
Last season as a graduate student at Colorado, Hambright started all 12 games at left tackle and was named honorable mention All-Pac 12 by the league's coaches. He transferred to Colorado after earning his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State last May.
Hambright started his college career at Garden City Community College in Kansas before enrolling at Oklahoma State, where he redshirted in 2017. In 2018, he started the first five games before suffering an injury that sidelined him until he returned for the Liberty Bowl.
"His athleticism jumps out on the tape right away," said general manager Ryan Pace. "We think he's got the body style that could translate to playing guard. He played primarily left tackle a lot during his college career. I think he slipped through the cracks a little bit just for that transfer from Oklahoma State to Colorado. He wasn't at an all-star game, he wasn't at the Combine, but a guy our coaches had a lot of conviction on."
During a conference call with the media last Saturday, Hambright discussed how fortunate he felt to be drafted by the Bears.
"Man, it's amazing, just having my name being selected and being in Chicago," he said. "I'm a Midwest guy myself, I'm from Ypsilanti, Michigan, so I know what type of culture they have there in Chicago. I know they are very blue collar and I'm just ready to get down there and get to work."
Simmons, meanwhile, played every offensive line position except center during four seasons at Tennessee State, appearing in 41 games. His versatility and love of the game appealed to the Bears.
"Right away his size and length jumps out," Pace said. "He's got 35-plus-inch arms. These are the type of guys that our offensive line coach, Juan Castillo, loves to work with, just for that body type. There's just a lot of upside with him. We feel with Simmons, he could play tackle, he could play guard.
"The passion and energy he plays with jumps out. I know he was at the College Gridiron All-Star Game and I remember talking with [director of player personnel] Josh Lucas and Josh telling me Brett Ackley, one of our scouts, is down there and just talking about his energy and his play style and passion that he plays with. And that jumped out."
During his conference call with the media last Saturday, Simmons described himself as a "bloody-your-nose type of guy on the field."
"I'm a physical player with long arms and I like to dominate blocks," he said. "I just like playing physical and playing to the end of the whistle and just finishing my blocks."
The Bears are counting on Castillo, a veteran coach with 24 years of NFL experience, to get the most out of both Hambright and Simmons.
"Adding these two guys late is usually is more of a developmental portion of the draft," Pace said. "But I also think that's one of Juan's specialties, is developing these guys. I think he's proven that throughout his career. So we're excited to take Hambright and Simmons where we got them, where the scouts like those players, and Juan's excited working with those guys and developing them."
With the Bears recently drafting back-to-back seventh-round picks, senior writer Larry Mayer ranks the top 10 seventh-round draft picks in Bears history.