This is, by far, the hardest position group to evaluate within an organization because it is not only an evaluation of individual performance but also of the collective whole.
- Kyle Long is playing somewhere along the offensive line in 2016, most likely where he played the 2015 season. While the world has panicked at Long’s struggles at times this season, the organization – and more importantly the player – have not. Long will be on the Bears for the foreseeable future.
- Matt Slauson would rank just behind Jay Cutler as my Bears MVP for 2015. Slauson excelled at two positions, rescuing the Bears from multiple moments of desperation at center. His versatility is developing into his finest asset as the former Jet can now line up at three positions along the line.
- Hroniss Grasu will most likely be the starting center in 2016 after the Bears put him through an extensive offseason of work. He needs to get bigger. He needs to get stronger. And it will be one of the major priorities for the offensive coaching staff this spring and summer.
- Charles Leno Jr. received praise at the Pace/Fox postseason press conference so there is no reason to believe the organization wouldn’t be comfortable with him returning at left tackle in 2016. But Leno’s left tackle, while above average in 2015, is a position the Bears can upgrade. If the Bears identify an elite tackle at the eleventh pick in the draft, nobody would question their making that selection.
SHOULD COME BACK/DEPTH
- Will Montgomery was adding fight and grit to the offensive line before succumbing to a season-ending injury after only four games. Montgomery returning on a one-year deal would make a lot of sense for an offense determined to run the ball down the throats of opponents.
- Patrick Omameh can play both guard positions, with varying degrees of success, and will still only be twenty-six years old come the start of the 2016 season. Is he a necessity next season? Of course not. Does he provide valuable depth? Absolutely.
- Tayo Fabuluje is an interesting guy and a player, from all reports, the Bears like. Where does he fit? Who the hell knows? But clues should start trickling in come the start of the offseason program.
- Vlad Ducasse can’t play. Never could. And every snap he played for the Bears at guard in 2015 hindered long-term development at the position.
- Jermon Bushrod may have a bit of gas in the tank but not for the price the Bears would have to pay in 2016. If Bushrod’s career continues it’ll be on a one-year deal for a team looking for a final piece along the offensive line.
They need a guard and can upgrade at tackle.