Position Battle (53-man Roster):
The top four of the guard depth chart is pretty well established, but there is must likely room for one more guard on the final 53-man roster. The Bears have added a few young guard prospects to the 90-man roster with varying degrees of skills and NFL readiness. I’ll break down the players fighting for the last guard spot and make a prediction on who I think will make the final 53-man roster (if any).
Donovan Williams, Louisiana-Lafayette (6’2 | 318 | 5.12) – Started every game over the last two seasons for the Ragin Cajuns after spending some time at the junior college level. Williams moves pretty well for his size and has the versatility to play any of the three interior line positions, which may have value for the Bears after the release of Matt Slauson (still hurts).
His movement skills may have attracted the Bears as well, since they are most likely moving to a zone-blocking scheme under OC Dowel Loggains. None of Williams’ physical traits stand out, but he’s thought to be an intelligent player with the ability to pick up schemes quickly and after some time on the practice squad he could be in the mix for a backup interior linemen spot at both guard and center in the near future.
Martin Wallace, Temple (6’6 | 296 | 5.24) – A tackle in college who doesn’t have the foot speed to play on the outside at the NFL level. He was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent after the 2013 draft. He appeared in one game with the Browns as a rookie and hasn’t seen an NFL snap since. He’s spent time on the practice squad of the Browns, Panthers, and Bucs before ending up with the Bears this year.
Wallace has good power in the run game and can move people off the ball, sealing running lanes. He lacks the foot speed to deal with explosive pass rushers, but should be able to hold his own against defensive tackles. He’s had enough time in the league to adjust to the speed of the game and this may be his last chance to stick on an NFL roster. Wallace has the versatility to play either guard spot and potentially right tackle, which could give him an edge among the plays fighting for the last interior linemen roster spot.
Adrian Bellard, Texas St (6’5 | 310 | 5.38)
– Another undrafted player from this year’s draft, Adrian Bellard was a left tackle in college with a chance to stick around on the roster as depth at both guard and tackle. 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 against his competition at tackle (Kling, Weaver) and guard (Williams, Wallace) due to his above-average quickness and fit in the Bears new zone-blocking scheme.
If I had to pick one of these players to stick on the final 53-man roster as a reserve o-linemen, I’m going with Bellard who has the right mix of power, size, versatility, and movement to fill in at multiple spots along the line and enough upside to eventually be a legitimate contributor for the Bears.
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