In case people haven’t caught on by now, the Chicago Bears are doing a ton of groundwork on the offensive tackle class in the upcoming 2021 draft. A ton. Already they’ve been confirmed to have met or scouted a half dozen prospects. One can easily assume several more have gone unreported. Time to add another name to that list as NFL Draft Diamonds revealed the Bears had representatives down at the Florida A&M pro day. The big name everybody is there to see is Calvin Ashley.
When watching him on tape? It’s not hard to see why teams are intrigued. Ashley is a mammoth tackle prospect at 6’7, 330 lbs. He looked to be an ascending prospect at Auburn but ended up transferring out after two seasons. The plan was for him to attend Florida Atlantic but then he ended up transferring again to Florida A&M in order to be closer to family. Sadly he never had a chance to play for them as COVID-19 struck last season.
Ashley ended up opting out of suiting up last season.
Needless to say, he is a raw prospect who hasn’t played football in a long time. Yet the intrigue seems pretty obvious. Ashley was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. His size stands out along with an impressive degree of power. Combine that with underrated athleticism and active hands, he has the building blocks of an NFL starter.
One can’t say he didn’t have an impact either. After going 6-5 in 2018, the team improved to 9-2 in his first and only season there in 2019. They topped 30 or more points six times. Ashley was a big contributor to that, especially in the ground game. This young man has considerable upside.
— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) March 21, 2021
Nice chop from Calvin Ashley. pic.twitter.com/LBZepeyGqC
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) April 8, 2018
Every snap of Auburn’s 6-foot-6, 325-pound offensive lineman Calvin Ashley versus Southern Miss. The former five-star is #70 and lined up at right tackle, though on some plays tight end Tucker Brown #86 will be lined up to Ashley’s outside shoulder. #70 did a very solid job 👍 pic.twitter.com/jWkT7TnFfv
— Skye Underwood (@SkyeUnderwood) October 4, 2018
Former FAMU OT Calvin Ashley (@ca70_) is one of the best under the radar prospects for the 2021 draft. He is a former 5 star recruit, who flashed high-level potential on his film last season. He’s a mauler in the run game, with the ability to stay at RT in the NFL. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/7aBlpSrOfp
— Jack Borowsky (@Jack_Borowsky) November 23, 2020
Calvin Ashley has a chance to further a strong Bears reputation
Florida A&M is what they call a Historically Black College. Such schools aren’t always hotbeds of NFL talent but they’ve been known to produce some absolute stars from time to time. Few teams know this better than the Bears. They’ve had a ton of good fortune dipping into the HBCU circuit in the past. Among the most prominent names? Walter Payton, Richard Dent, Leslie Frazier, and most recently Tarik Cohen.
Calvin Ashley could end up having a chance to further that legacy. He certainly has high-caliber talent. It’s a matter of whether he can get the most out of it after a somewhat uneven college career. Given how active the Bears are evaluating potential tackles this year, it wouldn’t be a shock if they decided to double down at the position. Especially with Charles Leno and Germain Ifedi both being free agents next offseason.
Ashley would be a Day 3 option.
The Bears are scheduled to have five picks between the 5th and 7th rounds. That would be the most likely area he would go given his mix of talent and inexperience. Offensive line coach Juan Castillo has a long history of developing unheralded late round picks or undrafted free agents into starters. It would be shocking if Ashley is somebody he’d love to get his hands on.