Bears Draft Prospect: Jaelyn Duncan
Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports

Bears Draft Prospect: Jaelyn Duncan


by - Senior Writer -

With the Bears trading down from Pick No. 1 to No. 9 and getting DJ Moore in the process, the team addressed one of their biggest holes on the offensive side of the ball. Chicago could still use another WR to help Justin Fields out, but this team is in a better position this season than they were last season at the WR room.

However, there are other needs for the Bears on the offensive side of the ball, and as expected, it happens to be the offensive line yet again. This is the one area the Bears have struggled with over the past three seasons, and no matter how much they try to improve the O Line, it doesn't work. That will not stop Ryan Poles from trying, however, as he will once again look to address the Offensive Line this spring and perhaps look to add more pieces during the second wave of free agency.

We saw the Bears add to the offensive line in free agency, but adding one guy will not make a huge difference. That is why many believe the Bears will take Paris Johnson should they stay at No. 9 or possibly Peter Skoronski if he somehow falls to them. Poles may go further than that as he may go offensive line in both the first and second rounds before addressing other needs.

Suppose that is the plan. Who would be potential targets for the Bears in the second or third round that could come in and compete? One option could be Jaelyn Duncan, who is meeting with the Bears this week. A former OL for the Maryland Terrapins, Duncan is a vastly underrated prospect, but one who is starting to garner more conversations on the back end.

Duncan has a ton of experience as a player and is a four-year starter, giving him close to 50 games of collegiate experience. That is more than nearly every other OL in this year's class, and that could go a long way in him adjusting to the NFL speed more quickly. Additionally, Duncan is an excellent fit in a wide-zone run-blocking scheme which is the same scheme that Luke Gersy runs with his offense. Any time you can draft a player familiar with the offensive system you run, it makes things easier for player development.

When you look at Duncan as a player, you immediately notice his 6-6 and 306-pound frame, which is the size you look for with an OL. Sure, it would be nice to see him add about 10 pounds if he can, but even at 306, he can hold his own in the NFL. Even with his size, Duncan does move pretty well, as his 40-time was in the top half of this year's draft class.

Duncan started playing football when he was 14, but he quickly developed into a four-star recruit at St. Frances Academy in Maryland. He signed with the Terrapins for 2018, redshirting his first year before starting the final 11 contests of the 2019 season at left tackle. Duncan was an honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference pick in 2020 (starting all five games at left tackle), 2021 (11 starts at LT in 13 games played), and 2022 (started 12 games at left tackle).

Apart from being a four-year starter, Duncan has plenty to like, and that all starts with his athletic ability. He is a Highly athletic left tackle with all the intangibles to move to Guard in the NFL. He has the foot speed to get out in space and the size to anchor the interior spot on the line while also being able to get out in space.

Although there have been times when quicker defenders have beaten him, his overall athletic ability allows him to make up for that as he continued to limit the damage against his QB. Regarding the negatives, you could argue that his motor needs to improve as he lets players off the hook.

What that means is when he has a player blocked, he tends to give up easily instead of finishing the play to the whistle. Speed rushers have also given him problems as he doesn't have as quick of a first step as you would like putting him in a bind at times.

A big concern for him going forward is his overall lack of length, which hurts in pass-protection plays. That is why scouts think he will move from tackle to guard, which will limit his length issues. Either way, this is a day-two prospect climbing the big board and could be a starter in the right system.

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