Here’s What the Bears’ Offensive Line Looked Like Without Projected Starter Nate Davis at OTAs
In case you missed it: Bears starting right guard Nate Davis was among the no-shows during Tuesday’s OTAs at Halas Hall.
Admittedly, it irks me a little that Davis wasn’t with the rest of his linemates and teammates getting a feel for the offense. But missing voluntary minicamp practices isn’t the end of the world. So long as Davis is putting in his work and is ready for mandatory minicamps in June and training camp in July, his absence at a voluntary Tuesday practice in May will be just a footnote.
With that being said, someone had to step into Davis’ spot while he was gone. And that player was second-year offensive lineman Ja’Tyre Carter, who joined what I would presume to be the rest of the Bears’ first-team O-line. This is what it looked like, per 670 The Score reporter Mark Grote:
Ahhh, nothing like a little trial-by-fire to test the second-year offensive lineman.
We discussed Carter as a possibility at center down the line. However, I’m open to the idea of Carter playing his way into the swing interior offensive lineman role. After all, this is the time of year when teams should be experimenting with that kind of stuff. If Carter takes to that gig, it could help him climb the depth chart while also helping calm any concerns about depth. Versatility is invaluable. If Carter has it, then he (and the Bears) are better off.
It is easy to envision a Week 1 starting lineup with Braxton Jones at left tackle and rookie Darnell Wright at the right tackle spot. Bookend building-block tackles brought in via the NFL Draft feels like a good starting point in building a solid offensive line. The interior trio featuring Cody Whitehair at center, Teven Jenkins at left guard, and Nate Davis at right guard feels like a given right now. This isn’t to say things can’t change moving forward. But we’ll cross those bridges should we get to them later. For now, Carter running with the big dogs is what piques my interest.
Clearly, the Bears think highly of Carter. At a minimum, they think enough of him to willingly throw a second-year player into the middle of the starting offensive line. Even if it is a non-contact OTAs scrimmage, this isn’t an inconsequential move by the Bears. Last year, the Bears had success by aggressively pushing Braxton Jones and testing him at left tackle. Like Jones, Carter was a Day 3 pick in 2022. But unlike Jones, Carter was essentially using his rookie season as a redshirt campaign. Perhaps a year as an understudy will help him as he enters his second year in the pros. In any case, Carter is a player whose progress we’ll want to watch throughout the spring and summer.