For as much as we’ve discussed what Justin Fields’ addition means for the Chicago Bears’ trajectory, we need to come with that same energy when chatting up his offensive line. Let’s face it. A quarterback can shine for only as long as his linemen allow. And if Bears blockers aren’t cutting the mustard, it will put Fields in a world of trouble.
That’s why it was important Chicago followed its Fields pick in Round 1 with the trade up and selection of Teven Jenkins in Round 2. Not only did the Bears need a talent upgrade for the position group, the unit needed someone who could bring a little nastiness up front. Don’t get it twisted, friends. Chicago’s line played well at the end of the year and deserves some love for doing so under less-than-ideal circumstances. It’s just that it lacked someone who brought an extra edge at the point of attack.
But there’s a real possibility that Jenkins won’t be the only rookie starter on the line. And it could come at the expense of veteran Germain Ifedi, especially if these words from Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo hold any weight (bold emphasis mine):
“I know Germain’s going to get mad at me, but (Borom) is a better athlete than Germain. G’s going to get pissed at me, but (Borom’s) a powerful guy. He’s not as long as Germain, but he played at 352. Now he got skinny, wanted to make those swimsuit issues, he got down to (322). But that’s not what he needs to play at. He’s going to get back up to around (332), so that’s still 20 pounds lighter than he was before.
But he’s a big man who’s athletic, who played good competition. We’re excited. We’re going to put him over there behind Germain and let him compete with Germain.”
You’ll want to take some time and read this from The Athletic’s Adam Jahns, whose dive into the Bears’ lineman situation is a treat for those who like reading up on the big nasties up front. In the meantime, I’m still thinking about a camp competition at right tackle pitting Ifedi against Borom.
It’s a classic camp battle between a veteran looking to re-establish himself and an upstart rookie aiming to lock in a long-term gig. It’s experience and know-how against superior athleticism. There’s so much here and it’s got me dreaming about training camp in the heart of May. Go figure. As someone who loves camp competitions and lineman battles, this kind of thing is right in my wheelhouse. And judging by Bears projected depth charts, there will be ample competition throughout the right side of the line.
For instance, the Bears’ depth chart at Ourlads has free agent signing Elijah Wilkinson as the projected starter at right tackle. Second on the depth chart is Borom. ESPN’s depth chart features Ifedi as RT1, Wilkinson as his backup, and Borom as behind Alex Bars at right guard. CBS Sports also lists Ifedi as the starting right tackle, but has Borom as his backup. For what it’s worth, CBS also lists James Daniels as starting right guard. All in all, there’s a lot of moving parts here. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.