Training Camp Battle: Offensive Line Depth

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 22: Hroniss Grasu
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 22: Hroniss Grasu /

As our training camp battle series continues, we take a look at the depth of the offensive line and he will be battling for those spots.

It has been a long time since the Chicago Bears came into a season set with their starters up front along the offensive line. While several fans will complain that the Bears’ tackle positions aren’t strong enough, there’s no arguing that right now the starting five is set, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Charles Leno, Kyle Long, Cody Whitehair, Josh Sitton and Bobby Massie will be starting up front as long as everyone is healthy. The question is, who is going to earn the roster spots behind them?

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Expect the Bears to keep nine offensive linemen on the 53-man roster and they will also try to stash a couple more lineman on the 10 practice squad slots. With the five starters, that leaves 4 active spots remaining. The Bears currently have 15 offensive linemen in camp, so some faces will certainly be shown the door.

Let’s start with fifth round pick Jordan Morgan. Morgan was an excellent tackle at Kutztown, but based on his size, the Bears expect him to play guard at the NFL level. You certainly don’t take a fifth round pick out of a small school and cut him immediately. It’s hard to imagine Morgan not sticking as long as he shows some promise.

Next brings us to Hroniss Grasu. It’s always unfortunate when a player loses their job to injury, but that’s exactly what happened to Grasu. Grasu tore his ACL a year ago and missed the season. Whitehair stepped in at center and was phenomenal. There’s no way Grasu can win this position back this season. Some experts have speculated that Grasu will be released because he can only play center, but Grasu was improving as a rookie and slated to start at center last season before his injury. It’s hard to imagine the Bears bail on Grasu when they still control him for two more seasons. If Grasu does indeed stick, that leaves two roster spots remaining.

The Bears will probably keep a versatile lineman that can back up multiple positions and keep a swing tackle with their other spot. At swing tackle, Tom Compton, Bradley Sowell, William Poehls and Dieugot Joseph will battle for the swing tackle spot. Sowell and Compton are the veterans that should have a leg up on the competition entering camp while Poehls and Joseph are UDFAs from 2014 and 2017 respectively.

Odds are, you’ll see two of these tackles stick. Either Compton or Sowell will earn the 53-man spot and either Poehls or Joseph will earn a practice squad spot (assuming they aren’t picked up by another team when they are released).

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For the final roster spot, the Bears will be looking at Eric Kush, Taylor Boggs, Cyril Richardson and Mitchell Kirsch. This battle should break down similarly to the swing tackle battle. Expect two of these players to stick. Kush and Boggs will battle for the 53-man spot and Richardson and Kirsch will battle for a practice squad spot. It seems hard to imagine Kush not earning that active roster spot. Kush can play multiple positions along the offensive line, played well last season when he filled in and the Bears guaranteed him $500,000 on a 2-year deal.

After the starting 5, a strong prediction would be Sowell, Morgan, Grasu and Kush to earn the last 53-man offensive line spots and Joseph and Kirsch earn practice squad spots. Both Poehls and Richardson could easily earn the practice squad spots but both players seem to have their career trending in the wrong direction right now. Kirsch and Joseph are fresh UDFAs that have the skills to earn practice squad spots.