The 10 Most Important Bears of 2013 - #4 Jermon Bushrod

USA TODAY Sports

For the 5th straight year, I'm bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the 2013 season. Up next we're sticking with the offense and picking the new left tackle, Jermon Bushrod, at number four.

Jermon Bushrod has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. He's obviously tasked with keeping the elite pass rushers off of his quarterback, but the pressure is bigger than that. He was given a $35 million dollar contract to stabilize an offensive line that has been the laughing stock of the NFL. Good luck...

If Bushrod falters, the Chicago Bears' NFL scouts will be called into question. General manager Phil Emery will have to explain what went wrong. We'll want to know why Chicago offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, who recommended Bushrod come over from New Orleans, can't get his star pupil playing at an all pro level. Head coach Marc Trestman will take some of the blame, as will assistant o-line coach Pat Meyer. And somewhere, some member of the mainstream media will try to blame Jay Cutler. Oh it'll happen...

But if Bushrod lives up to expectations, Cutler will be hit less, he'll be sacked less, and he'll be pressured less. Maybe Jay Cutler will even stop feeling the ghost pressure that he's been afflicted with the last few years. If Bushrod can be a Pro Bowl level performer, the protection scheme won't have to be as concerned with the left side. Not as much sliding protection left, or chipping, or keeping players in to help.

His signing also meant that perennial whipping boy J'Marcus Webb was no longer playing left tackle. That in and of itself was enough for many to praise the acquisition. Even though some of the advanced metric sites painted a picture that had Bushrod only slightly better than Webb, the signing was still adding an experienced left tackle to an offensive line that sorely needed help.

I understand that the Bears talked about building their protection schemes from the inside out, hence their drafting of a guard in the draft, but it's much easier to cover weaknesses up inside. If a tackle, the players that are usually out on an island, are struggling, it's far more noticeable. Also you can probably count the elite inside pass rushers on one hand, while almost every team has an edge rusher that you need to identify, and nullify.

If the Bears weren't desperate to plug the problems at tackle, then they would have given that $35 million to one of the top free agent guards or centers. They obviously felt that left tackle was an important position to upgrade, so I mirrored that importance by giving the only o-line spot on my list to Jermon Bushrod.

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