Getting to Know New Bears Offensive Lineman Elijah Wilkinson: Career Stats, Highlights, Fit, History, More

Chicago’s lack of offensive line depth was problematic last season. But in classic Ryan Pace form, he is addressing it this offseason in an attempt to avoid making the same mistake twice.

Better late than never, right?

Alright, it’s time to get to know a new guy.

Previous: Andy Dalton, Desmond Trufant

Player, Age (in 2021), Position

Elijah Wilkinson, 26, guard/tackle

Contract: 1 year, $1.1275 million ($987.5K cap hit)

Contract details via OverTheCap.com

Measurables

6-6, 329 pounds

Note: We’ve seen varying heights on Wilkinson. The Bears list him at 6-4, while the NFL’s official page has him down for 6-6. We’ll go with the league’s standard until we’re told otherwise.

Performance

2020 stats: 9 games (7 starts), 504 snaps, 1 penalty, 2 sacks allowed

Career stats: 45 games (26 starts), 1,859 offensive snaps, 10 penalties, 16 sacks allowed

PFF grades: 52.4 (2020), 59.6 (2019), 65.5 (2018), 58.8 (2017)

Highlights

 

Alright, So The New Guy is Something of a Work in Progress

The Fit

In case it wasn’t made clear with the videos I’m sharing above, allow me to make it clear that Wilkinson shouldn’t be seen as a plug-and-play starter. So let’s lay that groundwork while we have a moment. Now that we’re clear, let’s talk about what Wilkinson is (or at least, should be) for the 2021 Bears.

Wilkinson is functional depth at multiple offensive line positions. With experience at right tackle at right guard, the Bears should feel more comfortable with Wilkinson in a swing role than they were last summer with the camp bodies being who they were. Chicago really went into the 2020 campaign with two undrafted free agents with no NFL experience, a seventh-round rookie, a failed Packers high-round pick, and a converted nose tackle as its offensive line depth in 2020. It still blows my mind thinking about it to this day.

So, at minimum, the Bears are bringing in a player with a fair amount of starting experience who could be plugged into the lineup if a worst-case scenario presents itself. That’s not inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. No, Wilkinson won’t make us forget about Chicago’s pursuit of Trent Williams. But the singing is worth a tipping your cap to a front office that is trying to avoid making the same mistake twice when it comes to approaching depth.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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