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Picks to Improve: Right Tackle

Who's playing the position? We're not sure, but the combination of competition and two players with something to prove mean the quality of play at the right tackle position will be much improved.


Okay, you might be able to call this a bit of a cop-out, because we don't know who's even going to play the position - and the Bears' biggest addition in the offseason was a left tackle. So what does that mean for the right tackle position?

This year, the Bears will have up to four players competing for the starting right tackle position in camp (and keep in mind, that's "up to four:), some with some pretty nice resumes.

J'Marcus Webb was a three-year starter - one year at right tackle (bad) and the next two at left tackle (bad and improving). Gabe Carimi missed all but six quarters of his rookie season with a knee injury and didn't look all that good at right tackle last season before he moved to guard. Jonathan Scott recorded seven starts over the course of last season.

Lester's always-excellent post-season Roster Turnover series hit on the tackles here, and it was clear that Carimi wasn't consistently showing the form that made him a first-round pick in 2011. Lester attributed it to his knee injury, and I tend to agree:

Watching him play last season I didn't see the same guy I saw briefly in '11 or at Wisconsin when he won the Outland Trophy as the best collegiate offensive lineman. I really don't think he was fully recovered from his knee dislocation or the follow up procedure. The knee itself may have been structurally 100%, but I don't think he was even able to round into football shape. He looked slower, he looked weaker, and he looked lost on numerous occasions. I think with another off season, he'll be able to get his body right and be able to play a solid right tackle in '13.

Knee injuries can be tricky things to deal with, especially if they aren't healing as they should, and can make it tough to get back into playing shape. While I was certainly disappointed with Carimi's play, I don't think it's a complete precursor of 2013 or the future beyond.

Truthfully, I'm not sure what the best course of action is for the Bears at right tackle. Webb has been improving as a tackle, but I worry about him playing badly switching sides. But he's not the same player he was in his rookie season - he's a three-year starter, and he'll be going into competition against a former-first-round pick with a lot to prove.

There are a ton of questions around the right tackle position, but so many of them can only make the right tackle position more solid.