Three players will line up to compete to be the Chicago Bears starting left tackle in 2022 and the team is hoping one of them can emerge as a starter
Larry Borom, Teven Jenkins, Braxton Jones, it doesn’t matter who the Chicago Bears march out there in week one of the NFL season, it’s not going to be a starting caliber left tackle. The Bears hopes at left tackle are on a wing and a prayer that one of these three players each with less than two years of starting NFL experience and even less experience playing left tackle will come up and take over the position.
Ryan Poles made an attempt in free agency to sign Terron Armstead, but Armstead ultimately signed on with the Miami Dolphins who had a far better salary cap situation heading into the 2022 off-season. This left the Bears without a real left tackle and hope that someone can step in and be the guy. That is a quiet admission that there’s a major problem ahead for the Bears that could prove to be the entire undoing of the Bears offense in 2022.
First let’s look at who the Bears have that might be considered for the left tackle position in 2022.
Larry Borom has the most NFL experience at the position with a couple of games started at left tackle in 2021. Borom was forced into the role after three players went down with injuries. Borom a fifth-round draft pick struggles in pass protection and has a huge learning curve to become an even competent player at LT.
Your left tackle needs to be your best pass blocker and Borom is a better run blocker. He also comes up short on the desired arm length for the LT spot. Borom however spent most of his career at right tackle and seems better suited in that role overall.
Next the Chicago Bears could trot out 2021 second round draft pick Tevin Jenkins who missed all of training camp with a back. Former Bears GM Ryan Pace inexplicably cut Charles Leno Jr in favor of starting Jenkins at LT which completely baffled anyone with an eye for football.
Jenkins spent the entirety of his career at RT and then was immediately asked to be Justin Fields’ blind side protector. That was a major fail because of the injury an injury that could be the beginning of long-term problems as it was for former Bear Chris Williams who also was a LT. Jenkins looked like he might be the best option among him and Borom. Either way the Bears likely have two right tackles that are on the same kind of developmental timeline.
Then comes rookie fifth-round Braxton Jones who ran with the first team at left tackle throughout most of mini-camp. Jones goes 6-foot-5 310-pounds with over 35-inch arms. That arm length is nearly a full two inches more than either Borom or Jenkins. He’s played the position consistently as a starter over the last three seasons. He’s a little more athletic and versatile.
He could arguably project like a Terron Armstead, they’re the same height coming out of college, same athletic traits, and both came from a small school and were drafted in the mid rounds of their respective draft classes. The downside, Jones is a very raw prospect who hasn’t faced any high-level competition in college. Despite looking good in the game against Arizona State, he didn’t dominate a prospect that would be considered NFL caliber.
Heading into the 2022 season it’s going to take a borderline miracle for the Chicago Bears to get starting quality play out of any of these three players. You hope that the competition between the three will cause one of them to up their game to the point that they can be at least an average left tackle. The likelihood though is the Bears are going to squeeze water out of a rock.
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