Bears Depth Chart: Offensive Tackle

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

Position Battle (53-man Roster): If the names of the primary back-ups didn’t ring a bell, then the third string tackles probably won’t either. The Bears group of tackles might be the most non-descript group in the league.

After starting at left tackle for two years at Southern Miss and being named 2nd-team all Conference USA, Jason Weaver went undrafted and entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Bengals before being released and spending the rest of 2013 with the Miami Dolphins on their practice squad. His next stop was with the Saints where he attracted the attention of new Bears GM Ryan Pace who signed Weaver off the Saints practice squad. Weaver is a little short for a tackle (6’4, 313) and spent time at both right guard and tackle during his stint with the Saints.

The Bears gave him plenty of snaps in the preseason in 2015 and he flashed the ability to hold his own in pass pro while moving defenders off the ball in the running game. Weaver put in his time on the Bears practice squad last year and reportedly impressed coaches with his work ethic, ability to understand his blocking responsibilities, and versatility to play both guard and right tackle. He’s a long-shot to stick on the final 53-man roster, but is an injury or two away from getting a chance with the Bears in 2016.

Weaver’s primary competition for a spot on the Bears final roster is an undrafted free agent from this year’s draft, John Kling out of Buffalo. Kling is a massive tackle prospect (6’7, 314) who was 2nd team All-MAC last year. He uses his size, long arms, and wrestling background to be a potential mauler in the run game at right tackle. His footwork needs a lot of work in pass protection, but guys with Kling’s size who can move are hard to find and I’d be surprised if the Bears don’t give Kling at least a year on the practice squad to hone his craft.

Another undrafted player from this year’s draft, Adrian Bellard is a right tackle prospect with a chance to stick around on the roster. Bellard is a little small for a tackle (6’5, 310), but dominated the Sun-Belt conference with 114 knockdown blocks without giving up a sack over two seasons. He also more than held his own in his one start against high-end talent vs Florida St. Bellard moves very well for a 300+ pounder and could be an excellent fit for the Bears new zone-blocking scheme which could allow him to be a back-up at both guard and tackle for the Bears and could give him an edge vs both Kling and Weaver who aren’t quite as mobile.

None of the Bears mentioned in this section are close to a sure thing, but they all provide their own unique skill-set and whoever fits best with what the Bears are trying to do on offense this year could earn them at least a practice squad spot. With unproven depth behind the starters, Leno Jr and Massie, one of these relatively unknown players could find themselves in a key backup role for the Bears as soon as early as this season.

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