GM Ryan Poles knew what he needed to do upon arrival last year. He had to fix the Chicago Bears’ offensive line. That was a top priority. Justin Fields was under way too much pressure, and there were too many instances of the front getting bullied by other opponents. That was unacceptable. It would take some time, but Poles seemed confident he could get things pointed in the right direction. After some initial setbacks, it appears his efforts are starting to pay off handsomely.
The rebuild started with the arrival of Braxton Jones in the 5th round last year. The left tackle from Southern Utah, starting every game as a rookie, was a complete surprise. He appears to have improved considerably this year. Chicago also shifted Teven Jenkins inside to guard, where he has flourished. Next came veteran Nate Davis from Tennessee. Though plagued by health and personal issues, he has looked good on the field. Lastly came 10th overall pick Darnell Wright at right tackle. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune got notable feedback about the group this past week.
The feeling is the Bears might be one piece away from something serious.
“That wouldn’t be a priority in my mind as I look at it,” said a pro scout I chatted with the other day. “They better keep No. 70 around. That is a legitimate starter there. He’s a very good pass protector. He’s had some outstanding games. At minimum, he is a sufficient run blocker.”
“He sticks his face in there,” the scout said. “He’s aggressive, tough, competitive, he’s developed. To me, the Bears have four starters. They gotta find a center. They have a swing tackle (Larry Borom). I like (Ja’Tyre) Carter too.”
Center has plagued the Chicago Bears for years.
Since Olin Kreutz left in 2011, the team hasn’t found a serious long-term fixture for the position. Will Montgomery was a poor replacement. Hroniss Grasu tore his ACL. Cody Whitehair was mostly serviceable but constantly suffered from snap issues. James Daniels flopped in his half a season at the job. Lucas Patrick struggled with injuries and isn’t a reliable pass blocker. These problems have haunted the Bears at several inopportune times over the past decade. It is past time they got serious about finding somebody they can rely on.
🔥 Check Out The BFR Podcast: Listen Now🎙
Having Poles in charge gives them a clear advantage. He has demonstrated a keen eye for offensive line talent. Jones and Wright look like fixtures at tackle. If he can find the Chicago Bears a legitimate center, this group will have a chance to put the NFL on notice. This team won’t get pushed around anymore. The upcoming NFL draft features some intriguing names like Sedrick Van Pran of Georgia and Zach Frazier of West Virginia. Both have the size, mobility, and experience to handle the job. Maybe somebody else grabs their attention.
Either way, it feels like a priority position next spring.