Sunday, May 19, 2024

Braxton Jones Might Not Be OL The Bears Are Looking To Replace


It pretty much goes one of two ways when discussing the Chicago Bears’ draft plans for the 1st round. It’s either quarterback at #1 and wide receiver at #9 or quarterback at #1 and pass rusher at #9 (or following a trade down). Yet there have been warning signs lately that the Bears might actually be eyeing something else with that second pick in the 1st round: the offensive line. It makes sense. A young quarterback is coming in. While adding more firepower is nice, protection seems more critical to his long-term success. Whenever discussions of this possibility come up, the same name is mentioned. That is left tackle Braxton Jones.

If the Bears intend to draft an offensive lineman, it would have to be a premier left tackle. However, people might be looking at this situation the wrong way. One thing GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus have said is their primary goal is to get the five best offensive linemen possible on the field together. If you look back at the starting lineup from 2023, Jones was not one of the weak links up front. One was center Lucas Patrick, who has already been replaced. The other was right guard Nate Davis.

Davis didn’t get nearly the attention Braxton Jones did.

He should’ve. The Bears signed him to a strong free agent deal last year. What they got was a player who missed most of training camp with personal issues and then missed six games with various injuries. Worse still, he wasn’t anything special when he played. Across 384 pass-blocking snaps, he allowed 29 pressures on the quarterback. The guy was a liability way too often. While the Bears may be unable to do anything about his contract this year, that doesn’t mean they should feel obligated to let him play.

It might explain why there is a sudden surge of insiders mentioning offensive linemen as options they’re hearing for that second 1st rounder. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune had Troy Fautanu as the choice, a left tackle who many see as the best guard in the class. Peter Schrager of NFL Network has heard the same. He had the Bears taking big Alabama tackle JC Latham after a trade down from #9.

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“Latham could be the second OT taken on draft night — some teams like him that much. If the board falls this way, Chicago adds a big, pedigreed bookend who can join last year’s first-round tackle, Darnell Wright, in protecting the new franchise quarterback, Caleb Williams.”

The idea with this scenario is the Bears either move Wright to left tackle or kick him inside to guard.

Lance Zierlein of spoke to people around the league. They believe Latham might be the best overall tackle in the entire class.

“[This class is] deep at tackle and he’s going to end up being the best of the group. They are all going to get better, but he and (Joe) Alt are the only ones I see operating at a pro level and Latham is better than Alt.” – NFC personnel executive

Meanwhile, he stated last year that Wright’s future might be better served at guard, where his average length and footspeed wouldn’t be a big issue. Former GM Randy Mueller mentioned the same thing. He feels Wright would be an elite guard. He would undoubtedly be an upgrade over Davis and potentially give the Bears a devastating run-blocking tandem on the right side with Latham.

Which would look better?

  • Darnell Wright
  • Teven Jenkins
  • Ryan Bates
  • Nate Davis
  • JC Latham


  • Braxton Jones
  • Teven Jenkins
  • Ryan Bates
  • Darnell Wright
  • JC Latham

After watching Davis play last year, this would be an easy choice.


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Apr 18, 2024 3:02 pm


Apr 18, 2024 1:09 pm

all I was saying is that for Fields, Poles shipped off most of the team and didn’t or couldn’t replace enough of it. Then for Williams, he builds what is arguably the best team we’ve seen in Chicago in a long time..
Also someone posted that the o-line being able to actually pass block leads to an easier ability to process the field for Williams, but everyone was saying Fields was processing the field too slowly when he was running for his life.
Basically I’m just saying Poles is treating the two like opposite ends of the same stick.

Apr 18, 2024 9:12 am

@nonobaddog — If it seems that Caleb Williams is being treated differently than Justin Fields, it’s only because Caleb is yet to throw a pass for the Chicago Bears football team. Soon, fans will discover the truth (both the good and the bad) about their new QB. Caleb Williams Justin Fields NCAA. NFL TTT: 3.31 secs. 3.32 secs. P2S% 19.8% 23.2% BTT% 6.1% 5.1% TWP% 2.7% 3.8% Career statistics to date TTT (time to throw); P2S% (pressure to sack pct.); BTT% (big-time throw pct.); TWP% (turnover-worthy pass pct.) Source: PFF They may not be all that different. But, Ryan Poles… Read more »

Apr 17, 2024 7:46 pm

I noticed that a few earlier posters mentioned the need to strengthen the OL because you don’t want your qb running for his life. Called it a must to do this so the qb could have time to read the defense and where his receivers are. I find it strange that none of this was ever mentioned when Fields was qb, y’all just wanted to say he couldn’t process the field fast enough. Weird how it was ok for Fields, but we must protect Williams like he is made of fine crystal.

Apr 17, 2024 4:22 pm

Teven will get his money — but it may not be with the Bears.

As I stated player comparisons are rather pointless — but a player is paid for his future, even more than for his past.

Poles proved that with Nate Davis.

And as always, money talks.

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