Seen here: Lance Louis, practicing his throwing motion. Or his wave as people pass him heading into the backfield.
Our Bears draft pick that we've selected to take some additional strides comes from the 7th round of the 2009 NFL draft, offensive lineman Lance Louis. In 2010 he started seeing the field at guard, and became the starting right guard in 2011. However, through the injuries of Gabe Carimi and the complete ineptitude of Frank Omiyale, as well as pushing Chris Spencer into the lineup, he was pressed into starting duty at right tackle in week 6 and after a few okay appearances, struggled mightily as the year went on.
In fact, he struggled his way into being the worst-rated lineman on the team according to Pro Football Focus.
So what basis is there to say that he can improve?
Well, first off, it's not likely he'll be asked to play tackle again unless the Bears experience a similar catastrophe of injuries, meaning he'll be able to stay at his more natural mauler position of right guard. His play at right guard throughout the year (two games) wasn't particularly impressive at a -2.1 overall, but it's clearly where he's more at home at. The question is whether the spot will be there for him between the other players that can play at that spot. Spencer played there when he came in, but if he moves to center Louis is all set to have the spot handed to him.
If Louis has an opportunity, I think he'll be able to take it - like Webb, he's still a young player, but has even fewer reps at his primary position than Webb did. Playing consistently at guard should improve his play.
What's your outlook on Lance Louis heading into the 2012 season?