CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 16: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears celebrates his 58-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter with Chris Williams #74 against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Last week's series premiered with 2nd year Safety, Major Wright. Today Chris Williams, who was a former 1st round pick of GM Jerry Angelo back in 2008, comes in at #4 with the most to prove. When the Bears selected Williams with the 14th pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, they believed that they had solved their need at LT for the next 8 to 10 years. Despite the Bears ignoring Williams' medical concerns that lead to many NFL teams taking him off their draft boards, Angelo still took Williams at 14th, two spots after the Broncos took what might have been the Bears initial target Ryan Clady. A herniated disc robbed Williams of his rookie season. He wasn't available until later on in the season and the Bears couldn't play him because they were in the middle of a playoff race. Williams didn't play LT until the end of the 09 season where the highlight of his career came in a Monday night game against the Vikings when played a big part in shutting down Jared Allen.Even with doubts and heavy criticism from offensive line coach Mike Tice, Williams went into the 2010 season as the starting LT. Williams struggled in the first two games of the season and on top of that got injured in week 2 against the Cowboys. When Williams came back he found himself as the new LG and his original position, LT, was won by Frank Omiyale. Williams was serviceable at best at the position. As expected he struggled against the bull rush, but found his strength in pass blocking and pulling blocking on outside runs.
In 2011, Williams has found himself in a make or break year. It's not a stretch to think this year will define his career moving forward. Fans and media are already labeling him a bust, and when talking about possible free agent acquisitions, fans are clamoring for his replacement instead of the 32 year old RG Roberto Garza. Williams will need to come into camp stronger and with a new attitude; he has to prove to Tice that he fits as his type of lineman. Williams has the potential to be one of the best LG's in the NFL. He's by far the most athletic lineman on the team where he is very technically sound in the pass blocking department, and his athleticism shines in certain blocking plays. Now he just needs to prove to fans in his coaches that he can take that next step.