The offensive line has many concerns as the season approaches, including who will start in the intervention positions. But the right guard was easily the biggest weakness on the goal line.
With Schofield joining the roster, he is considered the favorite to start from the right guard in 2022. He will compete with Sam Mustipher, who was first in the right guard for most of the Offseason program.
After adding Schofield, here’s a look at the depth of the Bears offensive line:
Cody Whitehair is coming off his worst season with the Bears, but he remains a strong offensive lineman since Chicago drafted him in 2016. Whitehair has primarily played in the left guard, although he also spent time in the center. With the addition of Lucas Patrick, it looks like a safe bet for Whitehair to stay on the left guard.
Lucas Patrick brings to Chicago playing experience in the offensive coordinator system Luke Getsy. He is a versatile indoor man and has played three different positions – left goalkeeper, center and right goalkeeper. Patrick revealed that he was brought in to act as the center, giving Justin Fields someone with experience catching the ball for him.
Teven Jenkins missed most of his rookie season after back surgery during training camp. When he returned, he saw limited movement in the left intervention, including two starts. Jenkins settled into the correct processing spot. Jenkins was working with the 2nd team offensive during the final week of the OTAs and during the minicamp. We’ll see where the next training camp line up.
Larry Borum got his first chance at a right tackle in Week 8, replacing injured German Evede, and it was an instant upgrade. He has withstood some of the best passing attackers and has shown a knack for handling both right and left. Borom has seen movement in both the left and right tackle tackle this off season, so the question remains as to where he will line up.
The Bears veteran Michael Schofield has signed a one-year deal ahead of training camp, as he plans to fill a huge contract inside. Schofield started in 81 regular season games during his seven-year career, seeing time in multiple locations along the offensive line. But he’s played the right guard for most of them, which makes sense for a team like the Bears who have a huge gap in the right guard. At this point, it’s a safe assumption that Schofield will be the proper starting guard for the first week.
Braxton Jones was the first offensive lineman chosen by Chicago in the draft, and he could contribute immediately as a rookie. Jones has experience playing left and right tackle on a team level, but has been seeing reps on the left tackle the first team offensive during the final week of OTAs and the mandatory small camp. Jones stands out as a contender for the left-hand starting job.
The Bears introduced Sam Mustipher as a free agent earlier this season. Mustipher started 17 games at the Chicago Center last season, but was a burden to the offensive line. While many expected Mustafier not to consider any starting plans, he was getting actors on standby when the crime was first committed. But with Schofield on the roster, it’s hard to imagine Mustipher in this starting role.
Julian Davenport meets Matt Eberfloss in Chicago after spending the past year with the Colts. He appeared in nine matches, including four. Davenport, a former fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, spent the 2018 season as a starter left dealing with the Texans. It was later handled to dolphins as part of the Laremy Tunsil trade. Davenport projects as a potential swing tackle for the Bears.
Zachary Thomas is a versatile offensive lineman with experience playing three different positions during his time at San Diego State. While Thomas played mainly a right tackle (17 games) and a left tackle (12), he started as a goalkeeper. Thomas saw reps with the freshmen when Whitehair was an excused absence at the minicamp, an indication that Thomas could be the next man in Chicago’s left-hander.
Doug Kramer is a local producer who grew up in Hinsdale, a western suburb of Chicago, and plays football in Illinois. Kramer is the only position the Bears family has taken on the draft, as he was a development possibility behind initiator Lucas Patrick. But he also has experience playing a guard role. Kramer saw junior reps at the center during team rehearsals while training a small camp, a hint that he might be a backup for Patrick.
Ja’Tyre Carter is one of the more interesting prospects to come out of the Bears draft. He was a regular fixture for four years during his time at Southern, making 37 starts on the left tackle. But he plans to kick in for the NFL-level guard. We’ll see if Carter can develop a start down the streak. But for now, he’s got pretty good depth in both guarding and dealing with Chicago.
The Bears signed Shon Coleman earlier this season, the last former Colt to join Eberflus’ roster. Coleman, a former third-round pick in 2016, started every game on Brown’s right-hand tackle in 2017. He was replaced with 49 players in 2018, though he hasn’t played in a regular season game. Coleman missed the 2019 season due to injury and pulled out in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. Coleman does deep processing.
Lachavious Simmons’ show, a previous seventh-round pick, was introduced by the Bears as an exclusive free agent not too long ago. He played in two games in 2021, including one start, in the right tackle. Simmons is not part of the starting line-up and will be a depth of intervention.
The Bears signed Willie Wright to a standby/future contract earlier this season. Wright spent time with the Falcons on their coaching staff. He thinks he has a chance to earn a place on the coaching team.
Dieter Eislin, who signed a backup/future contract earlier this season, has played in just three NFL games. He spent most of the past two seasons on the Bears coaching staff. The 25-year-old is expected to face the same fate this season.
Jean Delance is signed as an unpolished freelancer from Florida, coming to the Bears looking to earn a spot on the list. Delance has primarily played in Right Intervention during his team career. Unfortunately for Delance, it’s an uphill battle for a place on the 53-man roster. But he must count in the mix for the sake of the coaching team.