Chicago Bears Elijah Wilkinson Advanced Stats Review
The Chicago Bears retained their own on the offensive line but needed to bring more depth in even before the draft. They did just that in adding Elijah Wilkinson from the Broncos. Wilkinson was a UDFA but has been a starter on and off for the past three seasons.
In 2018, Wilkinson started at right guard for seven games but kicked out to right tackle for the 2019 and 2020 seasons where he had 19 combined starts out there. The Chicago Bears do not have a set starter at right tackle, but and just have Germain Ifedi penciled into start at right tackle a year after he was expected to start at right guard.
With that in mind, Wilkinson will have a chance to start for the Chicago Bears in 2021. What does he bring to the table, and would he be an upgrade, or drop off from what the Bears have had?
According to PFF, Elijah Wilkinson had 315 pass protection snaps last year. He allowed 18 pressures, and two sacks were charged to him. That gave him a pass pro efficiency rating of 96.6. This checks out through 2019, as he had a 95.5 rating at right tackle that year. In 2018, he was at 95.2.
To put that into perspective, Germain Ifedi had a 98 pass pro-rating, although that combines his stats at right guard and right tackle. Still, he allowed 25 pressures on 694 snaps. Over the past two seasons, Bobby Massie was at 96.8 and 97. With that in mind, Massie has been a bit better, but the issue isn’t a performance for Massie nearly as much as health.
For what it is worth, the Bears ran a lot more outside zone than the Broncos last year. Matt Nagy did move to more gap concepts towards the end of the year, but Massie ran zone plays on 66% of his snaps compared to 44% for Wilkinson.
Wilkinson was ho-hum in pass protection but even worse as a run blocker. He rated as a slight downgrade as a run defender from Ifedi and Massie.
It is worth noting that in 2018 Wilkinson had his best performance as a run blocker. This, of course, came when he played right guard, but he showed well as a zone blocker from the guard spot as well.
Elijah Wilkinson outlook with Chicago Bears
Just last year the Chicago Bears signed a right tackle who struggled with his old team but had shown some promise at right guard. Last year, the Bears tried Ifedi at right guard after he flamed out in Seattle at tackle. However, he wound up right back at tackle.
While Wilkinson may be better at right guard, but he is likely to be competing with Ifedi at right tackle. The Bears have James Daniels, Sam Mustipher, Cody Whitehair, and Alex Bars inside. They have serious needs at tackle.
Still, while Ifedi vs. Wilkinson is a fair battle, Ifedi may have the edge. He has been a bit more productive, has more pedigree and upside, and has a year in the system.
With Wilkinson, they are looking at someone who could jump into a right tackle in a pinch but also has that swing ability to play guard if needed. While he is not an upgrade from Ifedi, this is an upgrade from Jason Spriggs.