If you subscribe to the notion that first impressions matter, then the initial practice at camp from the rookie offensive linemen of the Chicago Bears was a good day. If I read between the lines, I’d say it laid the foundation for their offseason plans.
Chicago drafted four offensive linemen and they signed another as an undrafted free agent, and it was those five that lined up with the first-team today at rookie minicamp, but it was where they lined up that caught my eye.
I wrote about where Chicago’s first year o-linemen fit on the current depth chart yesterday, and the fact that they lined fifth rounder Braxton Jones up at left tackle and sixth rounder Zachary Thomas up at right guard tells me something.
Jones has tackle size, length, and feet, and them giving him a first look at left tackle tells me they want to give him every chance to stay at tackle as a pro. He’ll get some run on the right side eventually, but his athletic profile is that of an NFL tackle.
Thomas’ college tape (and size) always seemed like he’d be a logical player to kick inside to guard, and by him getting the first look at right guard — Chicago’s biggest hole on the entire roster — could help with his comfort level as he transitions away from tackle. While he played mostly tackle at San Diego State, he did so on both sides, and he even played a little at both guard spots early in his collegiate career too.
Here’s how the Bears started Friday offensively in the trenches: Jones at LT, Ja’Tyre Carter at LG, Doug Kramer at C, Zach Thomas at RG, and Jean Delance at RT.
They’ll all likely be moved around for the duration of minicamp, then even more so once the vets get on the field for OTAs and mandatory camp, and then once training camp starts we’ll get a clearer idea on the Bears’ plans. But as for first impressions head coach Matt Eberflus said he liked what his rookie o-linemen did today, saying they stood out with how they moved and operated together within the offense.
Those aforementioned five weren't the only offensive linemen at Friday's camp as tryout rookie guards Liam Dobson (Texas State), David Kroll (Delaware), and Tristen Taylor (Eastern Washington), where there along with rookie center Corey Dublin (Tulane). Veteran interior o-lineman Dieter Eiselen was out at the Walter Payton Center practicing too.