Thanks to our being a part of the SB Nation network, we have access to a lot of neat things, one of which is our ability to talk with the college sites that covered the newest members of the Chicago Bears.
In this series of Five Questions With..., we'll try learn a little more about the 2016 rookie class, both the draft picks and also some of the undrafted free agents.
Today we're talking with J. David Brand (@jdavidbrand), Manager of Bull Run, the SB Nation site that covers the University of Buffalo. You can follow them on Twitter @UBBullRun. We asked Brand some questions about Bears' undrafted free agent, offensive tackle John Kling, aka Kling Kong.
Windy City Gridiron - Often times the development of college offensive tackles are hampered by spread offenses always keeping them in 2 point stances, did Buffalo operate more of a traditional offense?
Bull Run - During Kling's career, Buffalo had a coaching change and switched from Jeff Quinn's spread offense to a more traditional offense when Lance Leipold took over UB. UB lined up 65% of the gameplans in the spread but ran the ball overall 48% of the plays. The offensive line did struggle but most of that had nothing to do with Kling. Kling was moved to the blind side to protect QB Joe Licata and his main role was asked to keep Joe on his feet. Licata, to be kind, was probably the least mobile QB in college football last year. Despite the lack of mobility, Joe extended plays often and the offensive line did a great job holding the pocket as long as possible.
WCG - How often was Kling asked to pull and get out on front of sweeps and screens? Was he effective at that?
BR - In Kling's senior year the majority of the screen plays were to the right side of line away from Kling. You won't see much tape of Kling getting in open space last season to block beyond the line of scrimmage. In Kling's sophomore and junior year, Kling did pull and was a load in front of running backs. Kling was blocking for current Chargers running back Bo Oliver who some will say was the best running back to ever come out of UB. The argument includes current Packer (sorry Bears fans) James Starks also a great running back during his time at UB. Starks and Kling are both local Buffalo products.
WCG - Any injury issues Bears' fans should be concerned with?
BR - Going to be a quick answer. No injuries at all. Kling never missed a game. Tough dependable player.
WCG - At 6'7" did Kling struggle with his pad level getting too high and loosing leverage on defenders?
BR - Pad level can be an issue. Also do not discount the level of talent in the MAC. The same field Kling played on is where current Oakland star Khalil Mack with no D1 scholarship offers fine-tuned himself and his game. Mack, in my not biased opinion, is the scariest pass rusher in the league right now. Kling will need work against bull rushes at the next level. The reason John is with the Bears is his measureables and his consistency in his technique and in adapting to whoever is lined up across from him.
WCG - Even though he went undrafted, by Kling moving to the left side as a senior he made NFL teams take notice. Do you think Kling has what it takes to stick on an NFL roster?
BR - Yes I do. Coaches saw the versatility in Kling early in his career being the key cog in the running game and then totally shifting his game with incredible success to the left side. Kling definitely has what it takes to stick to an NFL roster. He's got the size that o-line coaches drool over (6'8", 320). He needs some work in pass protection but as a pure road grader he's damn good. Best fit will be a move to right tackle, but could play left tackle in a pinch so he'd be an ideal swing tackle backup. I could see him eventually starting if the situation were right, but probably as a road grading right tackle rather than a left tackle.
He reminds me of Cornelius Lucas of the Detroit Lions currently and he reminds me of former UB O-Line Jamey Richard (6'5", 295) who as a rookie, drafted in the 7th round (pick 236), filled in for Jeff Saturday when he went down with injury including starting in and winning a Super Bowl ring with the Colts. Kling will also help with the cap and having depth at O-Line is a must.
Thanks again to J. David Brand for helping us out with some info.
Since there wasn't an available pic to show the size of Kling, here's a tweet from his former coach.
Congratulations to John Kling for being named All-MAC Second Team #HornsUp pic.twitter.com/zp8xko9ok3— Lance Leipold (@CoachLeipold) December 2, 2015