Even as far back as last May, the previous Chicago Bears regime felt they’d pulled off a bit of a coup when they nabbed tackles Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom in the 2021 draft. GM Ryan Pace had a 1st round grade on Jenkins and was shocked Borom, who he had a 3rd round grade on, was still available in the 5th. By the time training camp came around, it became evident the team might have two future starters on their hands. Whether new GM Ryan Poles agrees with that assessment remains to be seen.
Interestingly, this discussion is about how little the Bears have done to bring in competition. The only notable moves they’ve made at tackle were signing veteran backup Julie’n Davenport and drafting Braxton Jones in the 5th round. Neither should be considered heavy favorites to unseat Jenkins and Borom right now. Maybe another move is coming, but Poles’ comments on the Mully & Haugh show for 670 The Score suggest it will be a waiting game.
“They’re working hard. They’re improving. They’re taking coaching, so that is obviously a positive. If you are an O-line guy like I am, you know that we’re not going to be able to tell much about these offensive linemen until we put pads on.
So I love the work they’re putting in. They’re doing everything right. They’re adapting to the new scheme. They’re changing their bodies. Everything that they’re supposed to. But listen, we all know up front when the pads come on, that’s when we really see what’s going on.”
This means training camp will provide answers.
Poles can’t make an informed decision until he gets a closer look at where the two tackles are at in live blocking drills. Based on his comments about changing the body, he wants to see where their mobility is when the time comes. Luke Getsy’s new outside-zone offense demands quickness and an ability to operate in space from blockers. He needs to know if Borom and Jenkins can handle that responsibility. Don’t forget Borom weighed 330 lbs last season. That is likely too heavy.
Smart money says Jenkins will ultimately be the starting right tackle. His talent is obvious and it’s his natural position that he dominated for Oklahoma State. Borom is the bigger question mark. His weight will be a talking point at Halas Hall, and it’s uncertain if he will be able to hold onto the job. Despite some solid early performances last season, he struggled at times down the stretch.
Ryan Poles still has alternatives, but time is a factor.
As of this moment, there are a few interesting veteran names still on the market. Former Pro Bowlers Duane Brown and Eric Fisher still haven’t signed with a team, likely biding their time waiting for the right situation or a favorable contract offer. Daryl Williams is also still in play, released by the Buffalo Bills this offseason despite his solid run for them at right tackle. Chicago could bring him in and shift Jenkins back to the left side if necessary.
There is also the expected team cuts period at the end of August. With high placement in the waiver wire order, Ryan Poles will have a chance to claim a veteran tackle if one were to get released. So there are options, but he doesn’t want to rush the decision. Borom and Jenkins are young and have talent. He needs to see how they mesh with the new offense before he decides to throw more money at the position.
That makes the next two months interesting.
While wide receiver continues to get loads of attention with tweaking moves, the offensive line has been unusually static. Part of that is the situation with Jenkins and Borom, but the other part is wanting to see what the incoming rookie class can offer. The start of training camp in July should be educational.