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Bears roster breakdown, 90-in-90: Taylor Boggs

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New York Jets 2011 Headshots Photo by NFL via Getty Images

Taylor Boggs has come a long way since being an undrafted free agent in 2011 by the New York Jets. He played his college ball at Humboldt State, a Division II school in California, but his college career was nearly as unlikely as his professional career.

Boggs originally tried to walk on at Humboldt State after high school, but he didn’t make the team. He spent a year working on his game, tried out for the team again, and this time he successfully walked on. He not only became a Humboldt State Lumberjack, but he eventually became a three time team captain, named to Great Northwest Athletic All Conference team, and was named a DII All American.

The Jets gave him a shot in 2011, but a torn ACL landed him on injured reserve, and eventually out of football for all of 2012. It was in 2011, when Boggs piqued the interest of LeCharles Bentley, who was thinking about opening up a training facility for offensive linemen. Boggs became the first client of Bentley’s Offensive Line Performance center, which has become the leader in the field.

Boggs rehabbed his way back from the ACL and was signed by the Chicago Bears in 2013. He appeared in one game that first year as a 285 pound o-lineman, then made the team again in 2014. He played in four of Chicago’s first five games in 2015, before being injured and subsequently released that year.

The next season he was back at it with the Detroit Lions, appearing in two games, and last year, 2016, he played for the Arizona Cardinals. It was with the Cardinals that he finally achieved the first start of his NFL career at the age of 29.

The Bears added him for a second time earlier this year, and he figures to compete at both center and guard.

Back when the Bears first signed Boggs in 2013, our very own Kev H wrote this article about the signing. Kev, like most people, didn’t think Boggs would be much more than a camp body, but Boggs’ brother emailed Kev to tell him that Taylor is one of the hardest working people he’s even known, and that Bears’ fans should expect him to make the team.

His hard work paid off.

"My goal with Taylor was, if we can just get you vested [in the NFL Pension] and get what you can out of this business, we'll have made it," LaCharles Bentley said via CBSSports.com on December 24th, 2016. "And lo and behold, now here we are and he's an NFL starter now in his fifth accredited season and he's vested and he never gave up.

"This guy is such a unique person, and this journey, I would say 99 percent of people would have tapped out a long time ago. Every time it looked like this was never going to happen, he got out of that mindset and always believed it was going to happen ... It's a real testament to him. Some things were misaligned for him along the way, but it's a terrific story of overall perseverance."

Boggs is coming off a season ending shoulder injury, but I wouldn’t bet against him making the Bears.

Biography

Age: 30-years-old

Experience: 6th-year pro

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 302 pounds

Contract and salary cap:

According to Spotrac, Boggs’ signed a one year deal worth $775,000, with no guarantee, and only $615,000 will count against the salary cap if he makes the team.

Reason for improvement in 2017

At this point Boggs has fought his entire post high school football career. It seems that every time he’s counted out, he finds a way to hang around. He started his pro career as a 285 pound center, but he’s added weight, and added the ability to play guard. I have a feeling he’ll do whatever it takes to make a team.

Reason for regression in 2017

Eventually, injuries and age catch up to everyone. Maybe this is the year his body can’t hold up any more.

Final roster odds

Last year the Bears’ opened up with eight offensive lineman coming out of preseason, and the prior year, they opened up with nine. They generally only dress seven on game day. Boggs provides some position flexibility, with his ability to play center and guard, so he could fill the same role that Ted Larsen filled last year.

I have a feeling that Boggs’ spot may come down to a battle with Hroniss Grasu. If Grasu can prove able to fill in at guard as well as center, I think he has the edge because of youth. Then again, the Bears may carry both of them.