The Chicago Bears went into the 2023 offseason with a desperate need to upgrade the offensive line, with their biggest hole at right tackle. So far, that position has yet to be addressed in free agency, but the NFL Draft is right around the corner, and that's a perfect place to attack that spot. Most oddsmakers, like those found on NJ betting app, have Chicago taking o-line with their first-round selection. The Bears are currently slated to pick at nine overall, and there are a few starter-ready tackles that could be available there, but what if the best player available at nine is an edge, a defensive tackle, a wide out, or a corner?
Is there a prospect later in the draft you feel good about? What if the board doesn't fall in a manner that has a tackle on the board at that time?
Some fans are concerned that general manager Ryan Poles has yet to bring in a veteran to man the right tackle position, while others are quick to point out that he snagged a fifth-rounder that played every single offensive snap during the 2022 season at left tackle.
I'm as big a fan of Braxton Jones as anyone, and I fully believe his best football is yet to come, but is it fair to point to Poles' lone day three hit and ignore the other o-line transactions he's made during his fourteen months on the job?
Here's a list of every offensive line move (except flexes to the gameday roster) that has happened during Poles' tenure courtesy of the team's website.
- 02/11/22 - Signed OL Willie Wright to Reserve/Future contract.
- 03/15/22 - Re-signed OL Lachavious Simmons to one-year contract.
- 03/17/22 - Signed OL Lucas Patrick to two-year contract.
- 03/22/22 - Signed OL Dakota Dozier to one-year contract.
- 04/25/22 - Signed OL Julién Davenport to one-year contract.
- 05/06/22 - Waived OL Tyrone Wheatley Jr.
- 05/06/22 - Signed UDFA OL Jean Delance.
- 05/06/22 - Signed draft picks OL Ja'Tyre Carter, OL Braxton Jones, and OL Doug Kramer to four-year contracts.
- 05/16/22 - Signed draft pick OL Zachary Thomas to four-year contract.
- 05/17/22 - Signed OL Shon Coleman to one-year contract.
- 06/21/22 - Placed OL Dakota Dozier on Reserve/Injured.
- 07/25/22 - Signed OL Michael Schofield to one-year contract.
- 07/26/22 - Signed OL Riley Reiff to a one-year contract.
- 08/16/22 - Signed OL Corey Dublin.
- 08/16/22 - Placed OL Doug Kramer on Reserve/Injured.
- 08/23/22 - Waived OL Julién Davenport.
- 08/28/22 - Waived OL Jean Delance.
- 08/29/22 - Waived OL Corey Dublin.
- 08/30/22 - Waived OL Dieter Eiselen and OL Lachavious Simmons.
- 08/30/22 - Terminated the OL Shon Coleman and OL Michael Schofield III contracts.
- 08/31/22 - Waived OL Zachary Thomas.
- 08/31/22 - Claimed OL Alex Leatherwood.
- 08/31/22 - Signed OL Dieter Eiselen and OL Lachavious Simmons to practice squad.
- 09/01/22 - Signed OL Kellen Diesch to practice squad.
- 09/02/22 - Signed OL Zachary Thomas to practice squad.
- 09/12/22 - Signed OL Michael Niese to practice squad.
- 09/12/22 - Released OL Lachavious Simmons from practice squad.
- 09/14/22 - Placed OL Alex Leatherwood on Reserve/Non-Football Illness list.
- 09/14/22 - Signed OL Michael Schofield III.
- 10/05/22 - Placed OL Cody Whitehair on Reserve/Injured.
- 10/26/22 - Signed OL Dieter Eiselen to active roster.
- 10/27/22 - Placed OL Lucas Patrick on Reserve/Injured.
- 10/28/22 - Activated OL Alex Leatherwood from Reserve/Non-Football Illness list.
- 11/04/22 - Activated OL Cody Whitehair from Reserve/Injured.
- 01/09/23 - Signed OL Kellen Diesch to Reserve/Future contracts.
- 03/14/23 - Tendered one-year contract to OL Dieter Eiselen.
- 03/15/23 - Agreed to terms with OL Nate Davis on three-year contract.
There were some extenuating circumstances that existed a year ago that prevented Poles from making a substantial free agency splash on the offensive line, and his draft board lined up that he felt he couldn't steer away from Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon in the second round.
Were there some veteran moves he passed on and rookies he skipped over that could have made an impact?
I do understand his strip-it-to-the-studs mentality set him up with the top draft pick and a ton of cap space, but to assume he's got this o-line situation under control because he and his assistant general manager are former offensive linemen is wishful thinking.
I still believe there's a veteran right tackle that will be added before the draft, and the draft should bring at least one tackle, and if it's at nine overall, it should be a day one starter, but there's still a lot of "ifs" surrounding the roster makeup in the trenches.
Are you confident that Poles will get the offensive line figured out this season?