A look at the state of the Bears’ offensive line as the 2014 NFL Draft fast approaches.
The Good: While the Bears were not a “great” offensive line last year in comparison to some of the others in the league, it sure felt like they played great due to their tremendous improvement from the previous season. The Bears allowed just 30 sacks last year, tied for 4th-fewest in the NFL. Not bad for a team in the first year of its new offense, with two rookie starters on the right side of the line in guard Kyle Long and tackle Jordan Mills. On the left side, the Bears brought in veterans Matt Slauson at guard and Jermon Bushrod at tackle. Veteran Roberto Garza anchored the middle at center. While there is certainly room for improvement, it’s hard to argue with success, especially with Long being sent to the Pro Bowl and the entire line keeping quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Josh McCown mostly upright.
The Bad: Mills needs to take another big step in his second season to help solidify that side of the line. He plays with a tough attitude and has a lot of confidence, and that spoke volumes for a rookie. Garza is getting up there in age and the Bears will have to replace him soon with a younger player they can cultivate for years to come. If they address the interior of the line, they might be able to move Long to left tackle at some point, the position of great importance protecting the quarterback’s blind side. But in the meantime, they have solid stability and consistency at offensive line and don’t have to worry about making immediate improvements.