Are the Chicago Bears' Offensive Tackles Good Now?

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Are the Chicago Bears’ Offensive Tackles Good Now?

Chicago Bears

Who’d have thought there was a non-zero chance of the Chicago Bears finding starting-caliber offensive tackles on Day 3 of consecutive NFL Drafts?

Left tackle Braxton Jones and right tackle Larry Borom have had moments in which each has been a pleasant surprise for this football team. And while both players still have strides to make in various aspects, the trial-by-fire part of throwing two Day 3 picks to the wolves to protect Justin Fields is churning out some positive results.

Let’s discuss.

Braxton Jones Shows Out with a PFF-best Day

Jones, the Bears’ rookie left tackle, is coming off a Vikings game that could be considered his best of the year:

OK, so Jones still has to clean up that 68.7 pass-blocking grade. But a 90.5 run-blocking grade is pretty darn impressive. That should be seen as a building block for Jones to use moving forward. Again, he needs to be better in pass pro to keep Justin Fields upright long enough to sling it downfield. But Pro Football Focus’ 28th offensive tackle as a rookie out of Southern Utah is nothing to sneeze at from an evaluative point of view through five games.

Washington’s defensive line presents a new set of challenges. And even though not dealing with Chase Young (still on IR) makes the task a little more manageable, it still won’t be easy. Nevertheless, perhaps the quick turnaround will keep Jones’ recent strong performance fresh in his mind. Bonus points if he can channel it and put forth another good showing on Thursday Night Football.

Larry Borom’s Stock is on the Rise

What if one of Ryan Pace’s parting gifts is a suitable starting right tackle emerging from a Day 3 pick as a second-year player?

Perhaps that is happening with Larry Borom, who appears to be coming into his own as the Bears’ starting right tackle. Check this out:

Borom rating kinda really well here is a beautiful development. The second-year Missouri product is Pro Football Focus’ 36th offensive tackles. There are 72 who qualify for grading on PFF’s leaderboard, which puts Borom’s ranking firmly in the middle of the pack of tackles. Not bad for the 151st overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Don’t get me wrong. Borom still has some growing to do at the position. He is far from a finished product. However, his ceiling could be limited. But that his arrow is pointing up in the early going is one of the most encouraging developments these Bears could ask for in 2022.

In The End

We still have a way to go before we make final determinations regarding the Bears’ needs in 2023 and beyond. But Jones and Borom can use the upcoming weeks to make a case for being long-term starters at their respective positions. If they can do that, it could be good news for the short term (i.e., Fields’ development) and long term (not needing to sign or draft OTs could open things up in free agency and the draft). But if they can’t, the least that could come of this is the Bears building quality depth out of late-round draft capital. And wouldn’t it be nice to be the team developing depth that could start elsewhere instead of trying to poach everyone else’s under-the-radar developmental linemen?

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.